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Big Data Provides Most Compelling Opportunities for Improvement in Marketing, According to New Study by Forbes Insights, Rocket Fuel, and Spencer Stuart

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According to a new report by Forbes Insights, in association with Rocket Fuel and Spencer Stuart, “Data-Driven Insights Are Only Part of the Journey: Today’s Best CMOs Take Action,” 90% of CEOs and CMOs say their marketing efforts meet or exceed expectations. But a deeper look reveals that this result may be a matter of low expectations:

o Nearly half of respondents say their company is wasting money in its marketing initiatives.

o Just over half say their organizations do not understand who is engaging with their products.

o Precisely half say they do not fully understand who likes or dislikes their products.

o However, the better the understanding of big data, the stronger the marketing performance.

Familiarity with Big Data is on the rise: 77% of study participants feel they have a good understanding of Big Data and its benefits, compared with only 52% in last year’s study, “The Big Potential of Big Data: A Field Guide for CMOs.”

“This report shows that the road to better marketing is paved with data,” said Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice for Forbes Media. “But the key is not mere collection of data-it’s distilling insights that drive specific actions.”

“We’re seeing an emerging class of innovative marketers who are embracing the opportunities available to use artificial intelligence to drive meaning and action from Big Data sets,” said Eric Porres, CMO, Rocket Fuel. “The study demonstrates that those who understand Big Data are more likely to pull more data from more sources than ever before. And those who do are significantly more effective at driving meaningful consumer engagement and avoiding marketing waste.”

Other key findings of the Forbes Insight report include:

o Machine learning plays a critical role. 73% of companies are actively engaged in the use of machine learning to analyze and derive value from large data sets. Among those saying they have a good understanding of Big Data, the figure rises to 96%.

o Digital advertising is on the rise. Companies are accelerating their investments in digital advertising. To get it done, companies are using a portfolio approach-simultaneously investing more in agencies, technology partners, and in-house teams.

o Businesses are investing in data-focused talent. Nearly three-quarters of companies are operating under a significant mandate to improve quantitative and analytical skill sets through training and related initiatives.

Also included in the report are interviews with senior marketing executives from Chobani, Unilever, UnitedHealth Group, and VMWare.

The complete study, “Data-Driven Insights Are Only Part of the Journey: Today’s Best CMOs Take Action,” may be downloaded at

For a copy of last year’s study, “The Big Potential of Big Data: A Field Guide for CMOs,” please visit:

About this research

The insights and commentary found in this report are derived from both a survey and qualitative interviews. Partnering with Rocket Fuel, a leading provider of artificial intelligence solutions for digital marketers (Nasdaq:FUEL), and Spencer Stuart, one of the world’s leading executive search firms, Forbes Insights ( conducted a global survey of 296 senior executives in September and October of 2014. Rocket Fuel does not make any warranty, representation, guarantee, express or implied, about the Forbes Insights survey. Any reliance on, or use of, the survey results and/or this press release is at your own risk.

About Forbes Insights

Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought-leadership practice of Forbes Media, publisher of Forbes magazine and, whose combined media properties reach nearly 75 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a host of topics of interest to C-level executives, senior marketing professionals, small business owners, and those who aspire to positions of leadership, as well as providing deep insights into issues and trends surrounding wealth creation and wealth management.

About Rocket Fuel

Rocket Fuel delivers a leading programmatic media-buying platform at Big Data scale that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve marketing ROI in digital media across web, mobile, video, and social channels. Rocket Fuel powers digital advertising and marketing programs globally for customers in North America, Europe, and APAC. Customers trust Rocket Fuel’s Advertising That Learns(R) platform to achieve brand and direct-response objectives in diverse industries from luxury cars to financial services to retail. Rocket Fuel currently operates in more than 20 offices worldwide and trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “FUEL.” For more information, please visit or call 1-888-717-8873.

About Spencer Stuart

Spencer Stuart is one of the world’s leading executive search consulting firms. Privately held since 1956, Spencer Stuart applies its extensive knowledge of industries, functions and talent to advise select clients – ranging from major multinationals to emerging companies to nonprofit organizations – and address their leadership requirements. Through 55 offices in 30 countries and a broad range of practice groups, Spencer Stuart consultants focus on senior-level executive search, board director appointments, succession planning and in-depth senior executive management assessments. For more information on Spencer Stuart, please visit

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