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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Developing Analytical Capabilities in Marketing: Challenges Associated with Usage of Unstructured Data

Published: May 28, 2019


Valeriia Chernikova, Hanken School of Economics; Johanna Frösén, Hanken School of Economics


unstructured data; analytical marketing capabilities; marketing performance


Marketing analytics has become an important tool for business practice, enabling firms to improve their marketing decisions and, thereby, business performance. While marketers are actively using structured data (SD) in decision making, unstructured data (UD) remains overlooked by most organizations mainly due to limited analytical capabilities in marketing. This qualitative study aims to generate deeper insights into the practice of using UD in marketing decisions, relying on interviews with marketing professionals representing firms from fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry operating in Nordics. The study focuses on the challenges associated with UD, which may prevent development of analytical marketing capabilities, defining four distinct categories. For managers, the present study points to diverse challenges related to the use of UD partly within, partly outside the power of their influence. In particular, the study highlights a need to simplify sharing of data between different parties and to introduce centralized data management functions supporting this usage.