Big data works. Adopters have reaped benefits in ROI, customer interactions and insights into customer behavior. Of the organizations that used big data at least 50% of the time, three in five (60%) said that they had exceeded their goals. At the same time, of the companies that used big data less than 50% of the time, just 33% said that they had exceeded their goals. The more frequently that companies felt that they were making sufficient use of data, the more likely they exceeded their goals. More than nine in 10 companies (92%) who had always or frequently made sufficient use of data said that they had met or exceeded their goals, while just 5% who said that they were making sufficient use of data said that they were falling short of their goals. At the same time, marketers seem to be suffering from a personality split. The overwhelming majority of executives say they are satisfied with their marketing. When pressed for more detail, however, the participants’ rosy view contradicts other, more detailed findings. Executives believe that they are using big data enough when they aren’t. A majority of agencies and non-agencies said that they were frequently or always making sufficient use of data in marketing decisions. However, only about one in 10 non-agencies managed more than half their advertising/marketing with big data, and a third of agencies used big data in more than half their initiatives. Many executives may be struggling to define big data and its potential benefits. Just over half of senior executives (both at agencies and other companies) said that they agreed or strongly agreed that they had a good understanding of big data and its benefits. Systems that generate data quickly and can account for changing consumer behavior – those that utilize machine learning – will be increasingly important. Roughly a quarter of respondents called them critical to the success of their marketing, while another 43% of agency executives and 44% of senior executives at non-agency organizations said they would be increasingly important for most initiatives. The Big Potential of Big Data