Gathering data and drawing insight from it is increasingly difficult for data-driven marketers. An Ebiquity/CMO Council study finds that 70% of marketers are managing the data explosion only “fairly” at best. Ouch. And only three percent of marketers in a CMO Council study responded that their data is “completely integrated and aligned.”TwitterLogo_#55acee

Welcome to the science of marketing –the new frontier of data + marketing – which is inspiring marketers to marry science and creativity through un-siloed organizations and integrated databases. Data is at the heart of what DMA stands for because DMA knows that data is at the heart of today’s marketing. It’s why DMA is advancing its research mission with actionable reports like this, the 38th edition of the DMA Statistical Factbook (SFB), to help marketers easily find the facts needed to benchmark and evaluate existing initiatives as well as to develop business cases and proposals to launch new initiatives and even new businesses.

The SFB, long known as the “Definitive Source of Marketing Benchmarks”, contains 326 pages and 379 charts conveniently organized by channel. One early chart sourced from Experian’s “2016 Global Data Management Benchmark Report” highlights that over 30% of executives cite the two biggest challenges to improving data quality are “lack of skills” and “lack of human resources” with the skills to implement these improvementsTwitterLogo_#55acee. The challenges originating in the science of marketing – database structure, predictive analytics and actionable insight -and its effect on creative and creativity is a growing concern and a driver in why DMA is redoubling its own efforts to ensure that the DMA annual event &THEN and DMA Education are increasingly focused on data collection, management and actionable insights to improve marketing ROI.

2015 ECHO winner and 2016 ECHO entrant Kate Miller, SVP of Client Services of MRM / McCann, during a review of their winning case study correctly states that “Creativity isn’t just about the creative”. “Data informs great creativity”, says Sir Martin Sorrell (CEO, WPP). But without creative capture, management and use of data, even the best creative won’t produce as efficiently without being delivered to the proper segments of customers.

The channels and methodology by which marketers deploy also are undergoing rapid change. The goal of DMA research is to allow marketers to keep up or catch up. And if you’re not keeping up with changes in digital advertising you had better catch up quick. An eMarketer study puts digital ad growth at 17% YOY with 60% being driven by programmatic buying and representing 32% of total media spendTwitterLogo_#55acee. This shift is continuing the downward pressure on the use of mail by marketers, which has seen a compounded annual decline of nearly 2% since 2005. However, DMA members USPS, UPS and FedEx are seeing significant increases in package delivery, driven by rising ecommerce sales.

This is the “new frontier” of data and marketing and the DMA Statistical Fact Book along with DMA Education & Research will be there to help marketers track this data and turn it into actionable insight.