Data Is Key Driver
More Panelists Confident in Future of Data-Driven Marketing than Ever Before

March 20, 2014 — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) today released its Quarterly Business Review  (QBR) for the fourth quarter of 2013.  DMA partnered with management consulting firm Winterberry Group on the report.

The study shows confidence in data-driven marketing (DDM) at its highest level ever, with nearly 78 percent of respondents saying they’re confident in the practice of DDM and its prospects for future growth.  Contributing to this confidence is the growth of digital channels, of which data is a vital driver.

“There’s no question that data is the new gold of our economy — and this is borne out by the growing confidence in the data-driven industry.  As the Q4 QBR Report shows, digital channels — powered by data — are growing faster than other media options – and this data is driving customer acquisition and retention efforts,” said DMA President and CEO Linda Woolley.

“Practitioners of data-driven marketing have dealt with pressure from both inside and outside their industry over the last several years with turbulent macroeconomic conditions and scrutiny on “data use,” said Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director of Winterberry Group. “But heading into 2014 DDMers are feeling optimistic about what lies ahead—targeted, data-driven techniques are quickly becoming the standard in marketing with brands incorporating these approaches in new and sophisticated ways, fueled by growing digital and mobile opportunities.”

Digital Channels Show Fastest Growth

Q4 QBR survey respondents said that digital channels represented the eight fastest-growing among 13 addressable DDM media options. Likewise, early estimates suggest that 2014 will usher in a dramatic tipping point for DDM budget-makers, with aggregate U.S. spending on digital marketing channels eclipsing total investment in direct mail for the first time ever.

Data Is Key Driver of Acquisition Efforts

With rapidly intensifying interest in consumer data as a fundamental driver of both customer acquisition and retention efforts—with specific focus growing on “omnichannel” strategies that seek to apply information and insight universally across traditional and digital channels—practitioners are placing “data” at the center of their marketing strategies.

Threat of Regulatory Interference Is a Major Concern

At the same time, the report indicates a growing awareness that regulatory interference threatens this growth, and is an increasing concern among respondents. Survey respondents noted that several years of growth in the “data and digital” realm have unearthed a wholly new set of challenges — including a real threat of regulatory interference, and their own companies’ inability to flex organizational structures and technology to meet the demands of an insight-driven economy.

“The threat of government regulation that could stifle the free-flow of data is clearly being felt and recognized more and more by members of the industry,” Woolley continued.  “We must work to educate policymakers, consumers, and the media that marketers are in fact responsible data-stewards who make every effort to collect and use data with respect, transparency, notice, and choice.”

Data-Driven Marketing Spending

  • Aggregate spending on data-driven marketing (DDM) grew at an accelerated pace in Q4, with 38.4 percent of panelists reporting that their DDM investments increased compared to the previous quarter, while a similar percent (45.1) reported that related spending remained consistent
  • On an index basis, DDM spending growth jumped to the highest rate seen in six quarters; practitioners reported an aggregate spending growth rate of 3.23 (on a scale of 5, where 5 indicates spending increased significantly)—up from between 3.12 and 3.21 earlier in 2013
  • Looking ahead, DDMers predict more of the same with respect to spending on DDM: 43.9 percent of panelists said they expect their organization’s spending on DDM to increase in the months ahead, while 41.7 percent said spending should remain constant.

About DMA’s Quarterly Business Review

The Quarterly Business Review is published by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), with research and analysis provided by Winterberry Group, a New York-based strategic consulting firm serving the advertising, marketing services, media and information industries.

Its conclusions are based on results from an online survey of DMA members, deployed in January 2014 and focused respectively on marketers and the marketing service and technology solutions providers that work with them to develop, launch and optimize campaigns. The latter group comprises a wide range of suppliers, including agencies, data and database service providers, production companies and a multitude of other entities supporting marketing program execution.

Altogether, DMA received 290 usable survey replies, which included 147 marketer respondents and 143 providers of marketing services and technology solutions.

The report is free for DMA members.  Non-members can purchase a copy for $49.95 from DMA’s Bookstore.

About Winterberry Group

Winterberry Group is a unique strategic consulting firm that supports the growth of advertising, marketing, media and information organizations.  Affiliated with Petsky Prunier LLC — a leading investment bank providing merger and acquisition advisory services to companies in the same sectors—the Firm offers its clients strategic perspective that is unparalleled in its addressable industries, while PPLLC maintains exceptional relationships with industry executives and business owners.  This combination of market intelligence, research and strategic operating experience (as well as the ongoing dialogue among buyers and sellers of marketing businesses) provides an educated outside perspective that we bring to each engagement.  For more information, visit:

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.  DMA provides the Voice to shape policy and public opinion, the Connections to grow members’ businesses and the Tools to ensure full compliance with ethical and best practices as well as professional development.

In 2012, the Data-Driven Marketing Economy (DDME) added $156 billion in revenue to the U.S.  economy and fueled more than 675,000 jobs.  The real value of data is in its exchange across the DDME:  70 percent of the value of the DDME – $110 billion in revenue and 478,000 jobs – depends on the ability of firms to exchange data across the DDME.

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