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Study: Most Marketing Teams Struggle With Data Process, Skyrocketing Data Volume

When it comes to the wealth of data that marketers have at their fingertips, harnessing accurate and clean data is key to building an effective marketing campaign, but new research shows marketing teams may be facing some challenges. According to a 2019 Forrester Consulting study, marketers are struggling with vast amounts of unclean data or “data pollution” that could result in loss of volume and negative impacts on campaigns.

The study, commissioned by Infogroup, surveyed 300 leaders in marketing, sales and advertising, ranging from managers to C-level executives, about their marketing programs, data quality, data volume, analytics budgets and the challenges in the data process. Respondents reported that they found all four stages of the data process to be important or very important.

Although most teams identify that these stages of the data process are important, nine out of 10 have reported facing challenges in multiple stages of the data process, including:

  • Collecting accurate data types;
  • Organizing the data;
  • Gaining meaningful insight into the data collected; and
  • Implementing effective action from those meaningful insights.

Rising Budgets Skyrocketing Data Volume

The research also found that data and analytics budgets are increasing. Investments into these programs have risen over the last two years — from 9% to now 16%, according to respondents. Furthermore, respondents predicted marketing budgets to rise to 22% in the next two years.

While the wealth in data provides marketers more opportunities to enhance their marketing efforts, the study notes that increased volume may decrease data quality, as the untouched data could become outdated or inaccurate.

The most-used types of data noted by respondents include customer data (64%) and customer identification (48%).

Marketers Facing Poor Data Quality, Ineffective Data Management

A key challenge reported in the study was poor data quality due to an overabundance of data. Seventy percent of respondents reported that running a program with poor or inaccurate data wastes money, and 51% said that inaccurate data leads to loss of customers.

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Even with potential risks of data pollution, Forrester still denotes that the risk is worth taking, as there are significant gains from utilizing accurate and up-to-date marketing data in campaigns. Survey respondents reported their ROI more than doubled.

"Companies understand the importance of data and are investing accordingly," said Michael Iaccarino, Infogroup Chairman and CEO, in a statement. "But firms are struggling to sift good data from bad and meaningful insights from white noise. Whether it's gathering data, analyzing it or acting on its insights, companies need to address these challenges if they want to thrive in the Age of Data."