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Results of the BRITE-NYAMA Marketing Measurement in Transition Study

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to release the results from an important new study that GreenBook, Research Now,  Columbia University, and New York AMA recently conducted on issues impacting marketers  in the areas of data collection and usage, marketing measurement and ROI, and the integration of digital and traditional marketing.

This was a great initiative to be involved in and I think the report is just as revelatory to market researchers as the GRIT study (which is coming out THIS WEEK, I swear!). Of particular importance is the need to help marketing organizations implement, utilize, and track the ROI of new data channels such as social media and mobile.

The report is full of great information and insights. I hope you’ll download it and be thinking of it’s findings as the MR industry works to deliver more impact and value to marketing organizations.

Study Finds Marketers Struggle with the Big Data and Digital Tools of Today

Columbia Business School’s BRITE conference launches
the 2012 BRITE-NYAMA
Marketing in Transition Study

NEW YORK – March 7, 2012 – At Columbia Business School’s annual BRITE conference March 5 (, Columbia Business School’s Center on Global Brand Leadership and the New York American Marketing Association (NYAMA) unveiled the first BRITE-NYAMA Marketing Measurement in Transition Study. The study surveyed senior marketing executives from large corporations in order to gain a better understanding of changing practices in the following areas: data collection and usage, marketing measurement and ROI, and the integration of digital and traditional marketing. The full report can be viewed at The results focused on 3 main findings:

  • The failure of big data for marketing
  • Marketers are quick to adopt the newest digital tools, but struggle to measure them
  • ROI – marketers know they need it, but cannot agree on its meaning and implementation


The study was piloted by Columbia Business School Marketing Professor Don Sexton, board member of the NYAMA, alongside David Rogers, Executive Director, BRITE, Center on Global Brand Leadership. 253 corporate marketing decision makers, director-level and above, were surveyed online between January 27 and February 8, 2012. These professionals are employed at large companies (90 percent have a global annual revenue of over $50 million; 45 percent are over $1 billion). Respondents were from b2c and b2c companies in diverse industries. The study was made possible with support from Research Now and GreenBook.

Finding: The Failure of Big Data for Marketing So Far

The researchers found that marketers’ desire to be data-driven is not yet matched by a consistent effort to collect the data necessary to make these real-time decisions. 29 percent report that their marketing departments have “too little or no customer/consumer data.” When data is collected by marketers, it is often not appropriate to real-time decision making. 39 percent of marketers say that their data is collected “too infrequently or not real-time enough.” Furthermore, marketers today are still much less likely to collect new forms of digital data like customer mobile device data (19 percent collect it), and social media data (35 percent), than they are to collect traditional customer survey data on demographics (74 percent) and usage (60 percent).

Finding: Marketers Adopt New Digital Tools, But Struggle to Measure Them

Marketers are also struggling to measure the impact of the newest digital tools, despite the widespread adoption of these applications. 51 percent of marketers said they use mobile ads (in-app, or SMS); 85 percent use social network accounts (brand accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Foursquare). Yet these tools are among the least likely to be measured for ROI despite their profusion of data. Only 14 percent of the social networking users are tying them to financial metrics, and only 17 percent of those using mobile ads are tying them to financial metrics. By contrast, 41 percent of email marketers measure their results with financial metrics. In addition, as number of marketing tools expands, the challenge of measuring and comparing them grows. 60 percent of companies report that comparing the effectiveness of marketing across their different digital media is “a major challenge.”

Finding: ROI – Marketers Know They All Need It, But Can’t Even Agree What It Is

The study also revealed that there is confusion about the meaning and significance of ROI among marketers. Specifically, 31 percent of respondents said that they believe simply measuring the audience you have reached is “marketing ROI.” 57 percent are not basing their marketing budgets on any ROI analysis, and 28 percent are basing marketing budgets on gut instincts. 21 percent are using financial metrics for “little” or “none” of their marketing budget and seven percent are spending most or all of their marketing budget with “no metrics” at all. However, marketers are under pressure. 70 percent say that their marketing efforts are under greater scrutiny than in the past.

Conclusions: Five Imperative Actions for CMOs

After its analysis of the dynamic and challenging environment for marketing today, the report recommends that Chief Marketing Officers should focus on five key leadership imperatives: Set objectives first; Design metrics to ensure marketing is linked to these objectives; Gather the right data for those metrics; Communicate to the entire organization what your objectives are and how they are being measured; and Evaluate and reward employees in part on how well objectives are achieved.

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The Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School |

New York American Marketing Association

Research Now


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