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.
2016 was the year of measurement as marketing executives put data-driven marketing and advertising at the heart of their engagement strategy, the new Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising report claims.
The third annual study, produced by the Winterberry Group in partnership with the Global Direct Marketing Association (GDMA), found 79.6 per cent of global survey respondents see customer data as critical to their marketing and advertising assets. More than half (53.4 per cent) increased their year-on-year spend on data-driven marketing and advertising in 2016.
Just shy of 90 per cent maintain databases to host information on customers and prospects to improve how they manage and use data, and 88.2 per cent are actively segmenting information to better target and engage customers for activities and offers.
Nearly nine in 10 said their practice of data-driven marketing and advertising was focused at least in part on maintenance of customer and prospect databases, with an emphasis on supporting better and more relevant offers and general customer communications. In addition, 63.7 per cent of respondents are purchasing third-party data to support targeted marketing campaigns.
In return, respondents said the performance of nine of the 10 tracked marketing channels increased in 2016, with returns highest for social media management (4.02 out of 5).
The report also proclaimed 2016 the year of measurement, and found many of the panellists surveyed believed their organisations are sophisticated when it comes to cross-channel campaign measurement (up 2.8 per cent to 39.4 per cent year-on-year), as well as campaign measurement across single marketing channels (49.8 per cent in 2016 versus 47.4 per cent the previous year).
When it comes to what will further propel data-driven marketing efforts, technology integration topped the list, up from 4.24 to 4.33 out of 5 year-on-year. The next highest priority was improving how information is shared and moved through organisations.
Advances in predictive analytics and related segmentation, meanwhile, offered the most potential to expand the contribution of data-driven marketing and advertising in the medium term. Respondents also cited great engagement potential in the ability to audience match and link offline and online information to better engage with customers across environments as another major opportunity.
The greatest hindrance for respondents to data-driven success was heightened regulation of personal/audience data (44.3 per cent), followed by lack of expertise to lead efforts (33.5 per cent) and ad blocking (32.8 per cent).
ADMA CEO and chair of the GDMA, Jodie Sangster, said the results showed just how far data-driven marketing has come in the last three years.
“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,” she commented. “It’s a positive sign for marketers to see more and more CEOs and board members understanding the value and importance of data.
“However, in order for businesses to thrive and deliver on customer experience, emphasis must be placed on sophisticated data management and analytics models.”
Sangster also warned brands of the importance of building consumer trust in any data-driven marketing effort.
“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,” she said.
The GDMA report is based on an online survey of 3283 advertising, marketing, media and technology representatives across 18 countries including Australia. Just over 41 per cent classified themselves as marketers or advertisers, while 30.6 per cent were providers of marketing services.