(The following are excerpts from the keynote address DMA President & CEO Linda Woolley delivered at DMA2013 this morning (October 14, 2013).  A full transcript of her speech is available here.)


Linda Woolley 2012 (2)

No matter what you call what you do – marketing, advertising, customer engagement, marketing analytics, digital marketing – we are ALL doing data-driven marketing.  In fact, what binds us is not the vertical industry we are in, or the channel we put first, or the job title we hold. What binds us is our responsible use of data.

I’m calling this OUR time of REVOLUTION.  A time of data availability and market change so fast and so furious that marketers have both more opportunity and more challenges than ever before.  The changes in marketing, coming from the enormous amounts of data now at our disposal have led to a level of innovation and inventiveness that is unparalleled.  And it’s so important to our daily lives, to every consumer, and to our global economy, that it’s ALSO unfortunately, gotten, the attention of regulators like never before.

DMA is in front of this revolution with you.  We are a family…helping you do what you do best: connect with customers, and new audiences, use data responsibly and innovate like crazy.  We can tell the story of marketing’s value in a way that no other organization can.  Because we are the only organization advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing.  Together we are facing the fact that our industry is in a sea change.  And we’re meeting this revolution head on.

All revolutions are exciting and bubbling with a sense of possibility.  They are fueled by a larger purpose, with clear values at stake.  For us, as the responsible data driven marketers that we are, this revolution is about nothing short of building a better world. You offer people more choices and lower prices.  You help people find products, services and each other.  You employ honest working people all over the world.  Through your collective creativity and understanding of marketing data science, you are leading a revolution that drives the economy and improves our society.

Feeling revolutionary yet?

Great!  First step: Revolutionize yourself.  As Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg said in her recent bestseller, it’s time to “lean in.”

Data-driven marketers hold the keys to the treasure trove of data that organizations absolutely need to make decisions.  And the one who has the data…has the insights!  Everything your organization does should be informed by the data-driven insights that you create.  There is nobody better qualified to inform those decisions than you.

It’s time for data-driven marketers to sit at the big kids’ table in every organization and to lead the discussion.  Data-driven marketing must be part of every business process and decision right from the start.

The second step of the revolution is making big data actionable.

  1. I was talking with my friends at Russ Reid about a marketing problem their client, the American Red Cross faced. You all know the great work that the American Red Cross does to alleviates human suffering in the high profile emergencies we hear about on the news.  But actually, the Red Cross helps people in over 70,000 emergencies a year.  Quite simply, a majority of donors to the Red Cross are motivated by ONLY emergency response, and so the challenge for the organization is to determine who will respond to the organization’s perpetual need on a consistent basis.  And the traditional method of RFM doesn’t cut it.Frequency can yield a false positive.  Usually a donor who has given three or more gifts in his or her lifetime is considered highly-responsive, and should be included in most marketing efforts.  But for the Red Cross this donor could have given during Hurricane Katrina, the Japan Earthquake in 2011, and the recent wildfires in Colorado, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she would be interested in giving to the ongoing work of the Red Cross.So the Red Cross had to dig deeper.  First, they track gifts designated to major disasters, allowing them to exclude these gifts when evaluating a donor’s regular giving.  Then, they worked with their agency Russ Reid to combine a modeled Loyalty score with the donor’s last gift information to determine the donor’s true propensity to give to the next general campaign.The first quarter in which they implemented this new strategy, their response rates increased by a dramatic 59% and their cost to raise a dollar was decreased by 42%.  By turning RFM on its head, the Red Cross achieved stunning results.
  2.  Time Warner Cable Media gave me a great example of thinking out of the box with a multi-channel approach.  Its client was a university bookstore, facing increased competition from online discount chains.  And, its window of opportunity to drive business was extremely limited: 75% of its revenue is generated in the first two/three weeks leading into a new semester.  Marketing data showed that the university bookstore had a difficult time reaching young potential clients through traditional media outlets.  No surprise here.  Moreover, the store wanted to communicate with them before they arrived at school, but the student base was geographically dispersed, which posed a challenge.  Their goal was to connect with this audience using digital capabilities — and get them to serve as the store’s “brand spokespeople” by sharing the message with friends.They developed a look-alike model of existing student profiles across Facebook, leveraging strong college interests and affiliations to drive excitement and sharing – creating a viral effect.  They ran highly targeted digital campaigns across display within a key time period.  Once students arrived on campus, Time Warner Cable Media ran an aggressive TV schedule, into the university area only. The campaign provided an incentive for students to come directly into store, and entry into sweepstakes if students did more social sharing on Facebook & Twitter.  Sales exceeded the bookstore’s expectations by 20%+.

Feeling inspired by these stories?   Every single marketer here today has it in you to do equally amazing things.  The first step is for you to “lean in” and think differently about the scope of influence you have.  THEN you can make actionable use of big data for your clients and throughout your organization.  And DMA is here to help and guide you so that you, too, can get the results that you want and need.

Oh! And there’s one more thing…

Today we are releasing our groundbreaking research from our Data Driven Marketing Institute – our industry think tank.  We commissioned professors from Harvard Business School and Columbia University to do a study, “The Value of Data: Consequences of Insights, Innovation and Efficiency on the U.S. Economy.”   They found that the Data-Driven Marketing Economy generates $156 billion in revenue to the US economy and fueled more than 675,000 jobs in 2012 alone.

You are part of DMA – and I hope your company is a member or will join this week to be part of our revolution.  Each person in our profession needs to take seriously his or her individual roles in advancing and protecting data-driven marketing.

I invite you to join the revolution.  And here’s what that means:

  1. Make the most of your personal DMA13 experience. Meet, share, explore and find new partners on the exhibit floor.  Attend the keynotes and challenge every presenter in every session.  Attend the ECHO gala to see what’s coolest in data-driven creative approaches.
  2. Download the DDMI research and read it. Share it with your teams, suppliers and partners.  Become a thought leader in your own organization and within your own community.  Join the DDMI steering committee and help fund the ongoing revolution.

Come.  Blue sky with us.

Let’s get to it.

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