Just the FactsI like to think that Joe Friday was a data-driven marketer at heart.  Why?  Because data-driven marketing is all about facts.  Data fuels analytics and informs the creative that drive effective marketing strategies.  Period.

Sadly, the debates in Washington over the future of data-driven marketing are too rarely based in reality.  Members of Congress demonize marketers solely based on what they read in the press.  Senators call for sweeping legislation based on skepticism.  Regulators focus on what could happen if data-driven marketers acted irresponsibly, instead of on the value marketers do provide to consumers and the economy every day.

Skepticism, mistrust and wild imaginings desperately need to be replaced with – you guessed it – just the facts.  Facts about the incredible value that marketers provide – and their responsible stewardship of consumer data.

This is no small lift, of course.  Just this week, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) released a white paper saying that it’s difficult to quantify the full economic impact of the “data-driven innovation” that drives our economy.  At the same time, SIIA noted that for data-driven innovation to reach its full potential, it must be built on a foundation of good data stewardship and trust.

DMA couldn’t agree more…and we’re taking action to make it happen.

This week, DMA’s Data-Driven Marketing Institute (DDMI) launched its first academic research project – and it’s a doozy.  Over the next five months, DDMI will work with a team of Ivy League academics to quantify the value of the “data” in data-driven marketing to the U.S. economy.  With this ground-breaking research, we will be able to say with certainty to Congress exactly how much they will hurt the U.S. economy – and U.S. consumers – if they pass legislation that stops the flow of consumer data that fuels data-driven marketing.  Congress will have the facts, not just conjecture.

While our own project is underway, DDMI is also working to highlight other research that tells the story of the data-driven marketing industry’s value and responsible data stewardship.  And the facts are very much in our favor…

  • The 2013 DMA Statistical Fact Book found that savvy marketers recognize the great value of the unprecedented amount of data now available to them and know it’s essential to get a handle on data analytics and proper data governance if they want to truly benefit from that treasure trove.  In fact, almost 85 percent of marketers reported that they will take additional steps to protect customer data and privacy in 2013.
  • The USC Annenberg Center for Digital Future recently released a report showing that millennials are embracing data-driven marketing, finding that they show more enthusiasm about sharing their personal information with online businesses; greater receptivity to targeted advertising when their personal information is involved; and more willingness to trade personal information in exchange for relevant advertising.
  • And just this week, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released a study on “Teens, Social Media, and Privacy” finding that while teens are taking advantage of technical and non-technical means to manage their online privacy, they do not express a high level of concern about third-parties (such as businesses or advertisers) accessing their data – suggesting that informed and empowered consumers embrace data-driven marketing.

At the same time DMA is busy making sure policymakers have the facts about the great value our industry provides, we’re also making sure that data-driven marketers have the facts they need to be responsible data stewards.  In cities across the U.S., DMA’s Institute for Marketing Data Governance is teaching data-driven marketers how to champion data best practices, become smarter about handling data, architect sound data strategies, and use the right data – the right way.  Every data-driven marketer needs to take command of marketing data governance, because what you don’t know about marketing data could make you a liability.

In closing, a message from our protagonist to policymakers in Washington scheming to undermine the future of data-driven marketing with mistrust and misinformation…

Joe Friday: Ah, sure, but just like every other guy in this city with a foolproof plan, you’ve forgotten you’re facing the single finest [data-driven] fighting force ever assembled.

And that’s a fact.


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