GDMA report cover

Data now ‘indispensable’ to world’s marketers, finds Global Review

30th January 2017 • Notebook

The third edition of the annual Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising (GDMA) has once again revealed the starring role data-driven marketing and advertising (DDMA) plays in the success of any business.

In just three years, DDMA has gone from being a niche discipline to take centre stage in the development of offers, messages and experiences that span virtually every customer touchpoint. Rather than just sitting in marketing alone, CMOs, CEOs and business leaders globally are beginning to realise the importance of DDMA and integrating it into other business functions.

The survey revealed that:

  • Data has become an indispensable marketing asset: 79.6% of global survey respondents said customer data is critical to their marketing and advertising efforts, similar to the 81.3% and 80.4% of panellists, respectively, who voiced similar sentiments over the past two years.
  • More than anything else, growing investment in data reflects the importance that marketers vest in the customer and their experience: 89.6% of survey panellists said that their practice of DDMA was focused, at least in part, on the maintenance of customer and prospect databases – with those resources typically aimed at supporting better and more relevant offers and general customer communications.
  • 2016 was ’The Year of Measurement’: larger numbers of panellists declared their organisations “sophisticated” when it comes to cross-channel campaign measurement as well as campaign measurement across single marketing channels.
  • Investment is (still) on the uptick: over half of global panellists said they increased their spending on DDMA in 2016 compared to the previous year, while 35.8% said their investments remained flat. Spending increased the most substantially across digital channels and related execution functions, as it has for the past two years.
  • DDMA works: in evaluating the relative impact of their key DDMA communication channels, panellists said that over the last year, performance improved across nine of 10 tracked channels, suggesting a likely combination of both improved planning and executive, as well as more insightful measurement and attribution techniques.
  • Improvements from the inside out: for the second consecutively year, panellists said better integration of their existing advertising and marketing technologies would be most helpful in advancing their ability to derive value from DDMA efforts. Second on the list of priorities: improving the functionality and efficiency of their internal organisational processes so as to support the optimal use of data (suggesting that for many organisations, outmoded business practices represent a more significant threat to growth than a lack of resources of expertise).

“Technology is rapidly changing every day and has a big impact on how customers interact with brands, which is why data is critical for driving many aspects of businesses,” said Jodie Sangster, chair of GDMA and CEO of ADMA. “It’s a positive sign for marketers to see more and more CEOs and Board members understanding the value and importance of data. However, for businesses to thrive and deliver on customer experience, emphasis must be placed on sophisticated data management and analytics models. Also at the heart of the data-driven revolution is building consumer trust – as businesses look at securing more personal data from consumers, consumers value transparency and want to know if their information is being well-protected. Moving forward, trust will and should play a critical role in an organisation’s business strategy.”

“Data is increasingly at the heart of everything we do as marketers to engage our customers,” Rachel Aldighieri, MD at the DMA in the UK said. “In fact, of all the countries surveyed UK marketers came top when asked about the importance of data, highlighting how quickly it has become a critical part of all marketing and advertising campaigns. However, with this increased importance comes the need for us, as an industry, to ensure we’re building relationships based on transparency and trust. By acting responsibly and putting customers first marketers can create an exchange of value between your business, looking to prosper, and the customer, looking to benefit.”

The study, conducted jointly by GDMA and Winterberry Group, further recognised the data-driven opportunities that lie in digital channels and how continuous support in growing these marketing technologies will result in consistent business improvements.

“Data has grown to play a central role in how businesses around the globe make critical marketing, product development and other investment decisions,” said Jonathan Margulies, managing director at Winterberry Group. “With three years of research now in hand, we can conclusively say that the ‘data-driven’ approach has evolved beyond its ‘direct and digital’ origins to represent a centrepiece growth strategy for both promotional marketing and customer experience—and for businesses all over the world.”

These findings were put together through an online survey of 3,283 thought leaders spanning across the advertising, marketing, media and technology industries in 18 countries, between July and October 2016. The Global Review was made possible through the support of MediaMath.

A more detailed analysis of the Global Review, including its worldwide analysis and an appendix providing snapshots of response across each of its 18 participating markets, is available to download.

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