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Marketing chiefs overwhelmed by customer data on social media

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

October 11, 2011 | 2 min read

Marketing chiefs are overwhelmed by the volume of customer data on social media channels and feel ill-equipped to harness it, according to an IBM study.

According to the survey of more than 1,700 CMOs carried out between April and June, 82% still rely on traditional market research to shape marketing strategy, while only 40% of chief marketing officers track any online communications.

However some top consumer brands, such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks, are using high-profile social media campaigns to great effect to find out what their customers want and to communicate with them.

IBM, along with other technology firms and big advertising agencies, is seeking to capitalize on the need of marketers to analyze data being created and shared on sites like Twitter and YouTube or by email. The company has estimated that 90% of real-time information being created today is unstructured, and has spent $14 billion in the past five years on acquisitions of analytics companies to fulfil the new demand.

Marcel Holsheimer, IBM marketing executive, told journalists at a briefing in London: "We have entered the age of the smarter consumer.

"Marketing is going to become much more an automated and software play than it was in the past. This is why IBM is now making the investment in this space."

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