Report: Data-driven marketing gains importance as brands aim for customer centricity

Latest Global Direct Marketing Association report shows the use of predictive analytics and segmentation are hot on the list of data-driven marketing activities

Data-driven marketing and the use of predictive analytics and segmentation are becoming increasingly important to marketers globally as they strive to become customer-centric, a new study reports.

The second annual Global review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising report produced by the Global Direct Marketing Association (GlobalDMA) and incorporating Australia, found 81.3 per cent of marketers see data as important to their efforts. This was up 1 per cent on 2014 results.

In addition, 59.3 per cent described it as ‘critical’, up from 57.1 per cent last year. Nearly three-quarters of respondents also remain confident in the value of data-driven marketing and advertising and its potential for future growth.

Just shy of 57 per cent said they increased spending on data-driven marketing and advertising last year, and 68.6 per cent expected to increase investment in 2016. The report noted these figures were slightly down on last year’s results but suggested the dip could be attributed to ongoing challenges around improving measurement and attribution techniques.

Globally, improved measurement and attribution techniques and better training topped the list of key elements needed to advance how marketing derives value from data-driven marketing programs.

In Australia specifically, talent availability was regarded as more of a barrier to driving data-driven marketing locally than globally, with local marketers ranking ‘availability of talent’ as 2.84 on a scale of 1-5 (5 indicating a factor is driving a great deal of investment). This compared to a global average of 3.56.

Similarly to global respondents, however, Australian marketers said improved campaign measurement and attribution tools, along with better staff training around analytics, segmentation and targeting, were all important to deriving more value from data-driven marketing and advertising programs.

“Technological advances are transforming the ways organisations can harness data to meet business objectives but it is clear that measurement and attribution methodologies need to evolve in order to better support marketers to build the value case,” chair of the GDMA and CEO of ADMA, Jodie Sangster, said.

“Improved measurement capabilities, along with an appetite for more skills and training around analytics, are global requirements and should be a key focus of our industry in order to continue to foster growth and innovation.”

For the second consecutive year, being customer-centric was the single biggest priority driving data-driven activities, and 91.8 per cent of those surveyed said these efforts are at least partially focused on ‘maintaining customer databases’. More than 90 per cent are also focused on deploying predictive analytics and segmentation to better target and engage audience.

In Australia, marketers were slightly less confident in the value of data-driven marketing and advertising this year compared to last year, although most anticipated an increase in spending across most data-driven channels next year.

The GDMA report also found first-party data has become the preferred source of data for customer engagement. While almost all marketers are collecting and managing data about their own customers, and 91.8 per cent have some form of database to host information on customers and/or prospects, just 65.5 per cent of respondents saying third-party data licensing is included among their data-driven marketing activity use cases.

Related: Why data-driven marketers are increasingly turning to first-party customer intelligence

The report was produced by the GDMA and Winterberry Group and encompassed nearly 3000 marketers and advertisers across 17 markets globally including 467 in Australia. The survey was undertaken between July and September 2015.

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