Joint Study Challenges Marketers to Act Responsibly In order to Grow Consumer Trust and Boost Revenue

New York, NY, July 18, 2013 The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), in partnership with Winterberry Group, today announced the release of a new white paper, showing that good data stewardship doesn’t just mitigate risk, but can also boost bottom lines.  “The New Rules of the Road: Marketing Data Governance in the Era of “Big Data” explores the current state, and future evolution, of marketing data governance strategies that enterprises are using to foster consumer trust and build business success.

“To put it simply, proper data stewardship is a business imperative,” said DMA President and CEO Linda A. Woolley.  “Marketers have traditionally thought of data stewardship only in terms of risk-management.  But they now have the opportunity to make it part of their business growth strategy.  After all, consumer trust is directly connected to successful business relationships — and in the end, that trust drives the bottom line.”

Key findings include:

  • Marketers are extremely positive about the role of data in driving value to their organizations (with 93 percent of panelists expecting that customer information will drive a “significant” contribution in the future), and believe the maximization of that value to be the most considerable benefit of an effective marketing data governance strategy;
  • With overwhelming agreement — 79 percent of panelists — marketers say that their organizations would benefit from more sophisticated, strategic data governance approaches. But most organizations have been reluctant to back up that need with the necessary institutional support, as only 32 percent of panelists “strongly agree” that data governance is currently a clear priority within their companies; and
  • Internal process challenges and misaligned organizational structures, more than any other factors, are conspiring to limit marketers’ abilities to develop and implement strategic data governance approaches.

“Marketers have long equated the concept of ‘data governance’ with a pair of priorities—‘privacy and security’—that represent two of the most substantial hurdles for doing business in an information-driven economy,” said Rich Walker, managing director at Winterberry Group. “As data plays a more fundamental role in driving customer engagement across channels, though, our research revealed that a new imperative is emerging: Manage information as a strategic asset, responsive to the needs of customers, marketers and other stakeholders. That’s driving many to reassess the role of ‘governance,’ with an eye on managing, safeguarding and optimizing the contribution of data across the enterprise.”

The paper outlines five key actions that marketers should undertake as they build a strategic data governance capability:

  • Maintain an evolving “map” of your customer information — breaking down the taxonomy of each marketing data asset at a deeply granular level;
  • Develop a unified data strategy that considers (and incorporates, over time) a multitude of inputs, supporting use cases, deployment technologies, regulatory and best-practice guidelines and other operating parameters;
  • Build an underlying infrastructure to support marketing data utilization with an eye on optimizing the roles of people, platforms, processes and partners in unlocking the inherent value of those assets;
  • Consider the needs of all constituent stakeholders in the development and continuous refinement of data governance guidelines — leveraging information to optimize the value (and protect the interests) of customers, employees, shareholders, partners and other parties; and
  • Develop a “data culture” grounded in continuous learning and improvement, leveraging information to help drive product and customer innovations (and reinforcing the need to safeguard those critical corporate assets).

 To access the report, please click here.

DMA and Winterberry will also present a webinar on the results of the study on August 19, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.  For more information, and to register, please click here.

About Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

The Direct Marketing Association ( is the world’s largest trade association dedicated to advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing.  Founded in 1917, DMA represents thousands of companies and nonprofit organizations that use and support data-driven marketing practices and techniques.

In 2012, marketers — commercial and nonprofit — spent $168.5 billion on direct marketing, which accounts for 52.7 percent of all ad expenditures in the United States.  Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated approximately $2.05 trillion in incremental sales. In 2012, direct marketing accounted for 8.7 percent of total US gross domestic product and produces1.3 million direct marketing employees in the US.  Their collective sales efforts directly support 7.9 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.2 million US jobs.

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