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Second annual global study benchmarks practice of data-driven marketing and advertising (DDMA) across 17 countries; almost 3,000 marketers reveal focus on “customer centricity” is driving their efforts globally.

NEW YORK, December 10, 2015 — The second annual Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising revealed that data is playing an increasingly central role as a pillar of marketing, advertising and customer experience practice around the globe, with 81.3 percent of marketers describing data as important to their efforts, an increase from 80.4 percent in 2014, and 59.3 percent calling it ‘critical’ to their efforts, up from 57.1 percent in 2014.

The study, conducted by GDMA (an alliance of 27 independent marketing associations around the world) and U.S. research and consulting firm Winterberry Group indicates that 74.1 percent of marketers remain confident in the value of data-driven marketing and advertising (“DDMA”) and its potential for future growth. Among the survey’s 17-nation panel, 56.3 percent said they increased their annual DDMA expenditures last year, while 68.6 percent expect to increase spending further in 2016). These metrics were slightly down on 2014 levels (when 77.4 percent of panellists indicated confidence in DDMA and 63.2 percent increased their respective spending since the prior year). The year-on-year dip could reflect the finding that participants cited improved measurement and attribution techniques as the single most important initiative would support their organisations’ ability to drive more value from DDMA.

The Global Review’s findings were compiled through an online survey of 2,938 advertisers, marketers and other industry participants, in 17 countries, between July and September 2015. It is the largest study of its kind undertaken by a global consortium of marketing associations and aims to provide insights into how technological, macroeconomic and media change is transforming the marketing and advertising landscape and enable marketers to benchmark their campaigns, allocate budgets in line with global best practices and develop strategies for using data in meaningful, responsible and consumer-friendly ways.

“Data-driven marketing is increasingly impacting business functions and shaping whole of business strategy,” said Jodie Sangster, Chair GDMA and CEO ADMA. “Technological advances are transforming the ways organisations can harness data to meet business objectives but it is clear that measurement and attribution methodologies need to evolve in order to better support marketers build value case. Improved measurement capabilities along with an appetite for more skills and training around analytics are a global requirement and should be a key focus of our industry in order to continue to foster growth and innovation.”

The key findings of the report are:

  • Data matters… more: Among nearly 3,000 experienced marketing and advertising practitioners across 17 global markets, 81.3 percent described data as important to their efforts, representing an increase from an already large majority (80.4 percent) who said the same one year ago. An even larger proportion (59.3 percent, versus 57.1 percent last year) went so far as to call it “critical” to their efforts.
  • The bull market remains in force (though may be tiring): 74.1 percent of worldwide panellists said they remain confident in the practice of DDMA and its potential for future growth, though optimism tempered slightly compared to a year ago, when 77.4 percent of panellists expressed similar enthusiasm. With respect to individual markets, this “confident majority” grew in only one country, Germany.
  • Measurement is the key: The global participants called for improved measurement and attribution techniques and better training in respect to analytics and audience segmentation when asked what would help advance their ability to derive value from DDMA programmes. Panellists benchmarked (on a 1-to-5 scale with 5 indicating a factor is ‘critical’ to deriving more value) improved measurement at 4.24 with better staff training at 4.22).
  • The customer is king: For the second year in a row, global panellists said their desire to be “customer-centric” is fuelling their DDMA efforts more than any other single priority.
  • First-party data rules: Far fewer practitioners are engaged in the use of “third-party” data (which typically includes compiled, commercial datasets that are licensed on an open market) to support their acquisition marketing efforts. Just under two-thirds of the global panel (65.5 percent) said that third-party data licensing is included among their DDMA use cases.
  • Funds continue to flow to DDMA: More than half (56.3 percent) of global panellists said they increased their annual DDMA expenditures this year, though the extent of that spending growth dipped slightly compared to the 63.2 percent that said they did the same last year. Further, 68.6 percent expect that their organization’s DDMA budgets will increase next year—a robust majority though slightly smaller than the 73.5 percent that said the same last year (regarding their expectations for this year’s spending)
  • Digital, digital, digital: Panellists said they increased their proportional spending on social media, web content, search and online display advertising more over the past year than on any other addressable channel, reflecting the findings of last years’ research but with more consistency across markets. This is likely because these are the media that are delivering the greatest improvement in return-on-investment.

“Both data and the practice of ‘digital’ represent an industry transformation that is truly global in its scale. And our second annual study reveals a wealth of commonality of experience, learnings and challenges between marketers around the world,” said Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director, Winterberry Group. “Data is adding value to enterprises across the globe and the research offers an important validation of how responsible marketers intend to use, and safeguard, data for the betterment of consumers’ everyday brand interactions.”

There were 422 respondents to the study in the United States.

The Global Review was made possible through the support of MediaMath— a respected leader in data-driven marketing strategy and technology.
“As the customer journey becomes more complex and, marketers are having to find ways to engage with their customers at multiple touch points – both online and offline – along the path to purchase, said Ari Buchalter, President, Technology at MediaMath. Data is core to this and, as the study reveals, it is set to grow in importance as it become central to marketing efforts across the world.”

A more detailed analysis of the The Global Review, including its worldwide analysis and an appendix providing snapshots of response across each of its 17 participating markets, can be downloaded at:

“The Global Review has established a global bench mark to track the continued evolution of data-driven marketing and provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities it is bringing to the global marketing landscape. It also means that the 27 associations that make up the GDMA can work collegiately to drive forward best practice and thought leadership in order to foster further growth and development,” concluded Jodie Sangster.

About The Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising.

This report explores data-driven marketing and advertising practices across 17 global markets. Produced and published by GDMA and Winterberry Group—and with the sponsorship of MediaMath—the effort was made possible by support from Global DMA member organizations around the world, including: amdia (Argentina), ADMA (Australia), bdma (Belgium), ABEMD (Brazil), AMD Chile (Chile), Adetem (France), DDV (Germany),D+D Asia (Hong Kong), DIMSZ (Hungary), DMAi (India), DMA Italia, DDMA (Netherlands), Marketing Association (New Zealand), DMAS (Singapore), SWEDMA (Sweden), DMA (United Kingdom) and DMA (United States). The report’s findings are based on the results of an online survey 2,938 marketers, advertisers, service providers, technologists and publishers—deployed by each of the 17 presenting associations in their respective markets between July and September 2015.

About GDMA

GDMA is an organisation that represents supports and unites marketing associations from around the globe that focus on data-driven marketing. It promotes worldwide initiatives aimed at providing marketers with global trend information, thought leadership and know-how on data-driven marketing across all sectors, disciplines and channels.

Twenty-seven marketing associations are currently part of GDMA and more countries will join as their marketing associations begin to undertake the data-driven marketing remit. Collectively, they represent a significant proportion of the world’s major brands, corporations, suppliers and agencies. Through its affiliate associations, GDMA provides access to the world’s largest network of data-driven marketing organisations and influencers.

GDMA is chaired by Jodie Sangster, the CEO of the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA), in Australia.

About Winterberry Group
WINTERBERRY GROUP is a unique strategic consulting firm that supports the growth of advertising, marketing, media, information and technology organizations. Our services include:

CORPORATE STRATEGY: The Opportunity Mapping strategic development process helps clients prioritize their available customer, channel and capability growth options, informed by a synthesis of market insights and intensive internal analysis.

MARKET INTELLIGENCE: Comprehensive industry trend, vertical market and value chain research provides in-depth analysis of customers, market developments and potential opportunities as a precursor to any growth or transaction strategy.

MARKETING AND DATA TRANSFORMATION: Process mapping, marketplace benchmarking and holistic system engineering efforts are grounded in deep industry insights and “real-world” understandings— with a focus on helping advertisers, marketers and publishers better leverage their core assets and respond to growing market demands for responsiveness driven by the power of data, digital media and marketing technology.

TRANSACTIONAL DILIGENCE: Company assessments and industry landscape reports provide insight into trends, forecasts and comparative transaction data needed for reliable financial model inputs, supporting the needs of strategic and financial acquirers to make informed investment decisions and lay the foundation for value-focused ownership.

Additionally, Winterberry Group is differentiated through its affiliation with Petsky Prunier LLC, the leading investment bank serving the technology, media, marketing, e-commerce and healthcare industries. Together, the two firms provide one of the largest and most experienced sources of strategic and transactional services in their addressable markets.

For more information, please visit

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