Neil O’Keefe is DMA’s SVP of Content & Marketing

Neil O'Keefe of Data & Marketing Assocation (DMA)100 years in and the best part of the Data & Marketing Association is the members, many of whom have been around as long as DMA itself. Many channels have influenced who the Data & Marketing Association is and what we have been officially called.

Yes, 100 years ago we were the Direct Mail Marketing Association and then the Direct Marketing Association. Now we embrace what has been at the heart of our association all these years – Data. That is why we are the Data & Marketing Association.

The responsible use of data to establish ever-improving customer relationships and customer experiences is why so many of our members have also been around as long as we have. This includes marketing stalwarts such as IBM, American Express, Walgreens, Citi, Met-Life, Brooks Brothers, JPMorgan Chase, Prudential and others.

Whether your business began with customer information on index cards or punch cards and whether you are testing AI or VR, what really allows you to connect with customers is data.

Data powers your display advertising, email, chatbots and even direct mail. The best marketers are leveraging data and martech to establish sophisticated omnichannel campaigns that respond to customer behavior and anticipate customer needs.

Over the years and especially in the shadow of recent events, what has set DMA apart from other associations was our expressed point of view to safeguard customer data and need to respect customer preferences. This is why DMA has led industry self-regulation for data-driven marketers for 60 years, and has updated those guidelines as part of its Data Standards 2.0 initiative.

Each year we showcase our greatest assets – our members – at our annual event. Known as &THEN, our annual event will be held in NOLA this year and we are proud to have as our opening keynote Michelle Peluso, the first ever CMO from one of our longest standing members IBM. No company better exemplifies how marketing and technology have morphed over the past 100 years. They have progressed from basic data collection to advanced cognitive learning deployed via Watson Augmented Intelligence.

IBM is just one example of all of the impressive companies which have thrived throughout the years by displaying great agility and remaining focused on their data and their customers.

Come visit us, our members and our industry partners at &THEN in New Orleans. Learn about where marketing and the Data & Marketing Association is headed. Because sometimes you need 100 years of experience to get you through the next 365 days.