Data Inches Closer to the Core of Marketing Communications

PR pros should probably get used to a term that is fast becoming part of the communications lexicon: “unstructured data.” It’s the kind of data (from websites, mobile devices and social networks) that can help companies to crystallize exactly where their customers and prospects are hovering online.

As digital communications grows, both B2C and B2B companies will need more and more guidance on how to marshal all of data into effective PR and marketing strategies.

Indeed, only 39% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that senior management had access to the rising volume of data gathered from the marketplace necessary to predict the needs of their customers, according to a new survey from auditing firm KPMG. The survey, which was taken during Oracle OpenWorld in October, is based on responses from more than 370 executives who attended the IT conference.

According to the study, roughly 60% of respondents said their organization has a defined data and analytics strategy. However, 45% of respondents said their company tends to focus more on data security than on using data to improve core business operations.

Companies are well versed in how to leverage in-house information, but using data generated from online venues is another story.

According to the study, 36% of respondents said it will be at least one to three years before their company can implement a data and analytics strategy that allows predictive insights into the market.

That presents a sturdy challenge for PR executives: convincing the C-suite and clients on the need to develop programs that can use data to help figure out which are the best media channels to communicate with customers.

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