Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
A new global report into the data-driven practices of marketing and advertising industry professionals has found data is becoming vitally important to effectiveness and customer engagement, and is gaining investment dollars as a result.
The report, The Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising, claims to be the first and largest study of its kind to date and was produced by the 27 association members of the Global Direct Marketing Association.
The results stem from an online survey of more than 3000 advertisers, marketers and industry participants in 17 countries including Australia, between July and September this year.
More than 80 per cent of marketers surveyed believed data to be important to the deployment of their advertising and marketing efforts, and 92.2 per cent saw data as playing a vitally important role in the future. The results were consistent across panellists from the 17 countries participating.
Nearly two-thirds have increased spending on data-driven activities in the last year, and another 10 per cent of the panellists expected budgets to rise again over the next 12 months. In addition, 77.4 per cent were confident in the practice of data-driven marketing and advertising and its contribution to future growth. Emerging economy panellists in India, Brazil and South Africa were more optimistic than those in more mature markets.
The most common definition of data-driven marketing and advertising was targeting offers, messages and creative content (68.5 per cent of respondents). Other popular definitions were data-driven strategy and/or product development (52.4 per cent), predictive analytics/segmentation (43.8 per cent) and audience analytics/measurement (44.4 per cent).
The GlobalDMA report also found a seamless link between data and digital development. The top five channels capturing new or expanded funding were website/ecommerce content, social media, mobile, paid search engine marketing and online display advertising. Over the next year, mobile and social channels are not surprisingly, expected to outpace other channels in terms of budget expenditure.
The top five priorities for global marketers across their function, meanwhile, are digital execution, data management, audience analytics, automation technology and creative development.
Customer-centricity is a catch phrase for many Australian CMOs today, and the report showed this is no different in the global sphere. The key trigger driving investments in data-driven marketing and advertising for 52.7 per cent of global respondents was demand to be more customer-centric and in Australia, this was also the primary motivator. The Australian survey attracted 612 responses.
Other dominant factors included a desire to maximise effectiveness and efficiency of marketing, understanding more about customers and prospects, and the growing availability of audience data.
When it comes to what would help advance data-driven marketing, marketers said expanded budgets (43.4 per cent), deeper pools of experienced talent (42.1 per cent) and improved organisational structures (33 per cent) were needed. The highest investment priority areas are data modelling and analytics skillsets.
One area of difference between countries was data protection. Australian marketers were slightly less troubled with regulatory barriers than their global peers, and benchmarked these guidelines at 2.81 on a one to five scale. This compared to the global index score of 2.94. The most heavily impacted countries were Germany (3.5) and France (3.29), which are both subject to the European Union’s Data Protection Directive.
“We’ve done this to help marketers and advertisers benchmark their campaigns, allocate budgets in line with global best practices and develop strategies for using data in meaningful, responsible and consumer-friendly ways,” she said. “The research will be the foundation of a global conversation about data and its evolving role in advertising and marketing.”
The report was conducted by US-based research and strategic consulting firm, Winterberry Group, and supported by MediaMath.
Winterberry Group managing director, Jonathan Margulies, said the research was the first step towards understanding the state of data analytics in marketing and advertising globally. There are now intentions to publish a report annually.
“Across all of the 17 nations that were part of our analysis, we found that practitioners rely heavily on information to support a range of business objectives, ultimately supporting both marketing and consumer interests,” he stated.
“We’re looking forward to future annual editions of The Global Review, when we’ll finally have what has always been so elusive to the marketing industry: Insightful historical data about how marketers and advertisers are leveraging data as a driver of innovation and growth.”
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