CMOs are facing a tsunami of peer-to-peer data, says IBM...
The finding is one of the results from an IBM survey of more than 1,700 CMOs globally, including 92 CMOs working in the UK and Ireland.
According to the IBM 2011 Global CMO Study, the vast majority of CMOs in the UK and Ireland - 79 per cent - expect significant change ahead in their role but flagged up several areas where they do not feel adequately prepared.
The biggest area where UK and Ireland CMOs feel underprepared is in dealing with the so-called data explosion - cited by 87 per cent of respondents as an area of concern. This was followed by growth of channel and device choices, cited by 80 per cent. Social media was also an area of high concern - flagged by 70 per cent as something they don't feel well equipped to manage.
The research indicates that UK and Ireland CMOs feel considerably less prepared in these areas than their global counterparts - 71 per cent, 65 per cent and 68 per cent of whom also tagged the areas cited above as underprepared.
"UK and Ireland CMOs are more concerned about their ability to process and make sense of the data they can access," noted Elaine Fletcher, partner in the business analytics and optimisation group at IBM global business services.
According to the research, the rise of multiple online communication methods such as email, blogging and social networking, coupled with the proliferation of smartphones and other connected devices, is making it increasingly difficult for CMOs to ensure a consistent cross-channel marketing message.
Online interactions and digital tools and services are generating a wealth of unstructured data - something CMOs do not feel well equipped to deal with currently, said Fletcher.
"We started 2011 with a status where the amount of digital information had grown to 988 exabytes. That is a phenomenal amount of information," she said. "CMOs are trying to integrate day in, day out the different sources of information about their customer base that are flying around their organisation.
"Every day now 15 petabytes of new information is being generated. This year the number of emails sent every day is over 200 billion. That's completely different to the kind of structured information that CMOs have been working with for the past few years. There is a data explosion."
When it comes to analytics, the data explosion is disrupting CMOs' modus operandi, Fletcher added: "Largely, the CMOs have been working with nicely processed, computer-generated structured data until now. They've been able to do nice predictive analytics models based on that structured data. That's a very different world to having this tsunami of unstructured data, often peer to peer."
Customers talking to other customers about a company or product or service - rather than addressing the company directly - presents a difficulty for marketers stuck gathering data via traditional methods such as market research and call centres, she added.
"So I might be talking to you about something, and I might express something in terms of my opinion or sentiment about the organisation or a particular transaction that I've done with that organisation to you guys, peer to peer, that I certainly wouldn't send in or mention in the call centre when I'm in contact with that organisation. So it's a completely different level in terms of the volume and the complexity of processing that unstructured information."
The survey found UK and Ireland CMOs are still relying on...