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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Developing Analytical Capabilities in Marketing: Challenges of Using Unstructured Data

Published: May 27, 2020


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


unstructured data; analytical capabilities; marketing decision making


Marketing analytics (MA) has become an important tool for business practice, enabling companies to improve their marketing decisions and, thereby, business performance. While marketers commonly use structured data (SD) to support their decisions, unstructured data (UD) remains overlooked by most companies. This qualitative study aims to generate insights into the practice of using UD in marketing, relying on interviews with marketers representing global consumer goods companies in Northern Europe. The study identifies three groups of challenges, which may prevent use of UD and development of analytical capabilities: data and tools, managerial capabilities, and data collection and management practices. For managers, the present study points to diverse challenges related to the use of UD within and outside the power of their influence and highlights the need to simplify data sharing practices and to introduce centralized data management functions supporting this process.