A new report from Circle Research and dnx confirms the view that Big Data is the next revolutionary force in marketing. 43% of marketers are already mining petabytes of customer data to uncover hidden insights into behaviour; a further 40% plan to embrace Big Data’s benefits in the next three years.

Here’s the good news for the market research community.

The report reveals that marketers feel three skills are critical if they want to become CEOs of the future:

  1. Knowledge of customer insight and its applications (71% name as critical skill)
  2. Excellent communication skills (69%)
  3. In-depth understanding of competitive landscape (67%)

Market researchers are perfectly placed to support their marketing cousins in the first and third area.

However, the report also reveals two threats (or I’d rather view them as opportunities) for researchers.

First, marketers that have embraced Big Data report that it’s fundamentally changing how they view and engage with customers:

  • 68% are using Big Data to segment customers and discover new micro-markets
  • 50% are using it to develop personalised communications for individual customers
  • 32% use it to create personalised offers for individual customers

So whilst at the moment marketers naturally turn to the research industry to understand customer behaviour, with the rising importance of Big Data researchers could find themselves superseded by data specialists or even the IT department. This suggests that the skill set needed by a researcher in 2020 is likely to be very different to the skill set they need today.

Second, marketers report that the biggest challenge to unleashing Big Data is a lack of appropriate skills in the marketing department. Perhaps because of this, only 22% say that marketing ‘owns’ Big Data; the rest either share responsibility (35%) or it sits with data (17%) and IT departments (13%).

Again this has important implications for researchers. Marketers, often working with researchers, have historically been the bridge to the customer. But if IT and Data departments are taking control of Big Data and the customer insight it brings, this changes the dynamic. It may well be that in 2020 researchers work as closely with IT professionals as they do Marketers.

Download the full report here: http://www.circle-research.com/report/big-data-b2b-marketing/