Marketing leads the way in big data adoption

When it comes to big data analysis and integration, it is marketers who are leading the way in the boardroom, according to a new study.

The global study by BARC looked at whether companies have fully incorporated big data and what benefits it is having on the overall business.

Of the 559 survey respondents who are using or planning to use big data, 25% have already integrated big data in their marketing department and 25% are planning to incorporate it within marketing over the next 12 months.

In comparison, 23% of sales departments have integrated big data, with 27% of sales teams aiming to adopt it.

Finance and IT closely followed, with 23% and 21% currently using big data. Of those departments, 21% and 20% are aiming to implement data analysis within the next year.

At the bottom of the list are the logistics and human resources departments. Only 11% and 9% are currently using big data.

Big data benefits

The companies stated various benefits to incorporating big data into their everyday business.

Topping the list are better strategic decisions (69%), improved control of operational processes (54%), better understanding of customers (52%) and cost reductions (47%).

Businesses also reported, on average, an 8% increase in revenues and a 10% reduction of costs.

Continental differences

According to BARC, North American companies are significantly further ahead in their big data initiatives than their European competitors.

Twenty-eight per cent of the North American companies have already integrated big data initiatives into their business processes.

When including pilot projects, more than half (53%) of North American companies already have hands-on experience with big data.

In contrast, only 16% of European companies stated that big data is integrated in their business processes, and only 39% have practical experience.

Lack of know-how

But there are various difficulties that marketers run into when trying to incorporate big data.

Almost half of respondents (49%) named data privacy and 48% cited data security among their biggest problems in using big data technologies.

The second main issue is the lack of technical know-how for analysing big data.

A lack of analytical know-how was cited by 53% of respondents, while 48% reported a lack of technical expertise in their organisations.

As a result, 30% of companies with big data projects aim to create new jobs in these areas.

  • The Festival of Marketing will host a stage dedicated to data & analytics. To find out more about the event and how to attend visit

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here