Study: Marketers and Consumers Out of Sync, Big Data is a Big Mystery


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In March 2013, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) conducted two concurrent surveys of consumers and executives, to explore the effectiveness of different marketing channels. Respondents were balanced between US and UK markets.

The study, sponsored by Lyris, came to two big conclusions:

  • There are serious gaps in marketers’ perception of how consumers want to engage with brands, what influences their purchase decisions and how they view privacy
  • Marketers face big challenges in harnessing Big Data, when harnessing complex data sets has become a critical factor for success.

Ok, let’s break that down a bit.

Email is not dead. Neither are catalogues

For new product research, consumers narrowly prefer email (37%) over printed catalogues (35%) and personal referrals (33%). Social and web channels ranked much lower, somewhat at odds with marketer’s budgets which favor websites.

Superficial personalization is worse than none

Do you get a warm and fuzzy when an email says “Dear [insert your name here]? Me neither. Marketers seem to think personalizing messages helps, but consumers? Not so much. Nearly two-thirds say it’s “one of their top annoyances.”

Customized offers more valuable

Marketers need to dig deeper to deliver product recommendations customized to the consumer’s individual needs and past purchases.

Marketers are struggling to capitalize on Big Data

Top issues were financial (budgets and ROI) and operational (analytics “capacity”). Predictive analytics and generating consumer insights from multiple sources were among the top “most necessary skills” for the successful marketer.

Executive summary is available for free download here (registration required). Infographic has more details below.


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