There's no getting around the fact that the marketing folks at today's insurers are getting more and more involved in information technology. They're getting involved by using big data to help analyze customer segments, market movements and making predictions; they're the main users of social media channels, and they're also putting mobile to work in a big way.

A new survey of 2,200 marketing heads confirms that they will be calling on IT for more and more support and innovations in the months and years to come. The survey, conducted and released by Teradata, reveals widespread belief among the world’s marketers that integrating and analyzing all available enterprise data, and applying the real-time insights such analysis delivers, will ultimately drive a better customer experience, stronger brand differentiation and faster growth.

More marketing initiatives will be based on big data analytics. However, at this point, less than 10 percent say they use the enterprise data they have in a systematic way. Half agree that data is “the most underutilized asset” in their organizations. A lot of it has to do with the way data is still siloed across their organizations — three-fourths of respondents, 75 percent, say lack of systems integration is holding back their efforts to calculate their return on marketing investment (ROMI).

Still, the inability to use data at this time has little to do with actual technology adoption and a lot to do with organizational issues. For example, many business leaders are concerned with both the shortage of data analytics skills and the continued use of “unrefined” marketing processes. The solution, marketers agree, is to work more closely with IT.

Forty-two percent of companies say “lack of processes to bring insights into decision making” is their main barrier to using data in decision making. As a result, within two years over 80 percent of marketers will have implemented or begun projects that automate data quality, performance management and marketing workflow processes.

Many plans are afoot: 71 percent of respondents say they plan to implement a big data analytics solution in the next two years. Another 57 percent also plan to use real time decisioning systems to act on the data in the next two years.

So, a lot more communication needs to take place between marketing and IT to accomplish these new digital approaches. Unfortunately, as the survey finds, only 25 percent of marketers surveyed believe their marketing and IT departments are strategic partners in achieving marketing objectives. Worse, only 6 percent of those marketers grade their organization’s alignment as “successful.” A good place to start is to work together to help marketing managers consolidate and oversee the data necessary to link results to investment.


Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

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