Big Data, market research and social the keys for marketing in 2012

DECEMBER 16, 2011 – Even if a corporation is not in the business of marketing, conducting market research can provide valuable knowledge on issues that could have short- and long-term effects on financial success. However, CEOs will need to understand the role that Big Data and the CIO will play in gathering this information in 2012, Martha Heller writes for CFO magazine.

She outlines some of the IT issues that will be most important to businesses in the new year, including Big Data, which will become a “key competitive advantage … for those organizations that do it right.” Heller points to a presentation from ITBusinessEdge, which predicts that analytics tools will become a common factor for employees who work with data to inform strategic decision making.

While managing the data is not really a technical issue for CIOs, she says, the bigger problem is trying to determine what kind of details to use and who owns customer information when it is being shared among a group of departments or businesses.

Heller also echos analysts on the subject of human resources. There is a shortage of data architects, she warns, and only the most dedicated recruiters with strong retention plans will be able to win them over. “If IT people are second-class citizens in your organization when it comes to training and retention, CFOs might want to rethink that,” she says.

Brands still have a long way to go in terms of exploiting the opportunities presented by Facebook and Big Data, as 33Across’ Eric Wheeler writes on SocialBeat. He predicts that next year, marketers will be able to reach much deeper conclusions about consumer behavior and demand with the help of the data sets. These technological developments will also contribute to the transformation of marketing budgets in 2012, 2013 and beyond.

Wheeler forecasts that virtually every brand will be social by next year, which will lead to more collaboration across the various social networks. Instead of advertisements looking like promotional pieces, they’ll appear more like “relevant endorsements, recommended content and information,” he says.

Previously, the majority of companies simply tacked on a social aspect to their marketing campaigns, treating it more like an afterthought than as an integral part of their overall advertising strategy. Integration across the channels will also impact high-level business decisions, he predicts. In turn, Facebook and Twitter will likely continue buying other companies in order to fill out their suites of services.