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Data Is Key Driver of Growth, DMA Research Finds

March 21, 2014
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New York, NY, March 20, 2014—The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) today released its "Quarterly Business Review" (QBR) for the fourth quarter of 2013. DMA partnered with management consulting firm Winterberry Group on the report.
 
The study shows confidence in data-driven marketing (DDM) at its highest level ever, with nearly 78 percent of respondents saying they're confident in the practice of DDM and its prospects for future growth. Contributing to this confidence is the growth of digital channels, of which data is a vital driver.
 
"There's no question that data is the new gold of our economy—and this is borne out by the growing confidence in the data-driven industry. As the Q4 QBR Report shows, digital channels—powered by data—are growing faster than other media options—and this data is driving customer acquisition and retention efforts," said DMA President and CEO Linda Woolley.
 
"Practitioners of data-driven marketing have dealt with pressure from both inside and outside their industry over the last several years with turbulent macroeconomic conditions and scrutiny on "data use," said Jonathan Margulies, managing director of Winterberry Group. "But heading into 2014 DDMers are feeling optimistic about what lies ahead—targeted, data-driven techniques are quickly becoming the standard in marketing with brands incorporating these approaches in new and sophisticated ways, fueled by growing digital and mobile opportunities."
 
Digital Channels Show Fastest Growth
Q4 QBR survey respondents said that digital channels represented the eight fastest-growing among 13 addressable DDM media options. Likewise, early estimates suggest that 2014 will usher in a dramatic tipping point for DDM budget-makers, with aggregate U.S. spending on digital marketing channels eclipsing total investment in direct mail for the first time ever.
 
Data Is Key Driver of Acquisition Efforts
With rapidly intensifying interest in consumer data as a fundamental driver of both customer acquisition and retention efforts—with specific focus growing on "omnichannel" strategies that seek to apply information and insight universally across traditional and digital channels—practitioners are placing "data" at the center of their marketing strategies.
 
Threat of Regulatory Interference Is a Major Concern
At the same time, the report indicates a growing awareness that regulatory interference threatens this growth, and is an increasing concern among respondents. Survey respondents noted that several years of growth in the "data and digital" realm have unearthed a wholly new set of challenges—including a real threat of regulatory interference, and their own companies' inability to flex organizational structures and technology to meet the demands of an insight-driven economy.
 

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