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RSR-Data-Orientation-of-Retail-Departments-Jan2014Retailers believe that data can assist them on many levels, from more effective planning and execution to improved relationships with consumers, according to [download page] a new report from RSR Research examining business intelligence and analytics use in the retail organization. While customer-related business challenges seem to be driving greater use of analytics, marketing shows up as one of the least data-oriented departments within the organization.

In fact, only 1 in 4 respondents believe that the marketing department is primarily data-oriented. While 6 in 10 respondents indicate that the marketing department relies on a mix of data and experience/intuition, that leaves almost 1 in 5 relying primarily on experience and intuition.

The study segregates respondents into “winners” (those with comparable store/channel sales growth of more than 3%) and “laggards” (those with sales growth below 3%). The results clearly show that when making marketing decisions, laggards are more likely to primarily rely on experience and intuition than winners (40% and 11%, respectively). While neither respondent group is likely to primarily rely on data to make decisions, winners are much more likely than laggards to use a mix of data and experience (74% and 50%, respectively).

That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a causal relationship between the marketing department’s reliance on data and stronger sales growth. And marketers’ experiences no doubt help. But, respondents do feel that marketing has the most to gain from greater use of business intelligence and analytics. Asked which 3 (of 11) internal organizations would stand to gain the most from increased use of BI and analytics, marketing topped the list, cited by 55% of respondents.

About the Data: RSR conducted an online survey from November-December 2013 and received answers from 130 qualified retail respondents. 8 in 10 come from companies headquartered in the US, and one-third from companies with more than $5 billion in 2012 revenue.

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