(Chicago, IL) September 5, 2012 – SourceLink, a top 5 largest privately held CRM/Direct Marketing Agency and a top 3 GPO supplier, conducted a webinar August 30, 2012, focused on the understanding and uses of Big Data in marketing. The insights shared and feedback of the attendees showcased a need for a better understanding in organizations of all sizes about how to handle Big Data and how consumer information drives customer communications.

The webinar, entitled “Big Data: The Challenge and the Opportunity,” drew several hundred professionals, with most attendees from the financial services, insurance, education, non-profit, and retail markets. During the webinar, SourceLink asked polling questions about Big Data and customer-centric marketing.

Nearly half of those polled (47%) reported not having a formal marketing strategy to leverage Big Data, and an additional 17% were uncertain of their organization’s future plans. On a positive note, 23% conveyed that their organization has a defined strategy for Big Data as a subset of their overall data strategy, with 13% currently utilizing Big Data in their marketing strategy. Over two-thirds of all attendees have not yet integrated Big Data analytics into existing marketing databases.

When it comes to social media – where a large portion of Big Data is created – 41% of attendees have not developed a strategy for social media monitoring or listening, plus another 22% are unsure of how to monitor this activity. When asked, “What is your biggest marketing challenge today with Big Data?” The top three concerns were determining what data is relevant to marketing (28%), effectively using data to personalize marketing communications (27%), and capturing or collecting enough relevant data (20%).

Clearly, marketers continue to be challenged by the avalanche of Big Data, from collecting it to using it effectively in customer-centric marketing. “Addressing the challenges of both Big Data and traditional data is of key concern to marketers and organizations alike,” says Rich Brown, SourceLink’s Chief Technology Officer.  “Diagramming a Data Roadmap to assist marketing organizations in their quest to harness data into customer intelligence and relevant customer-centric marketing is of considerable importance here at SourceLink.”

The vast majority of attendees (82%) reported that they are using QR codes in marketing efforts, and 57% are using Personalized URLS. Mobile apps and SMS messaging both were reported by nearly a quarter of attendees, with 64% reporting using multiple strategies in tandem.

The discussion of customer-centric marketing will be continued in SourceLink’s next webinar on October 3rd, with Forrester Research’s guest speaker, Dave Frankland, titled “Customer Obsession in the Age of the Customer.” The nature of customer interactions has changed forever, and the new ways that customers communicate by using emerging mediums, social media and mobile technology are the main reasons for the influx of Big Data.