The DM industry has been predicting it for years and at last data-driven strategies are sweeping through global marketing departments like wildfire as brands finally wake up to the power of customer analytics and predictive approaches.
Sir John Hegarty may not be happy about it, yet the BBH chief’s declaration that “data creates nothing; but creativity has all the time” appears to be falling on deaf ears in most marketing departments, according to new research from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).
The study, conducted in conjunction with The Customer Framework, found that 72% of senior marketers view data as a strategic asset, but flags up the growing potential for agencies and suppliers to get involved as more than half are only just starting to give it a central place in their marketing.
Based on responses from 32 companies with a global annual marketing spend of $35bn, the survey found that 31% described themselves as advanced or highly advanced in the adoption of data-driven marketing, using multiple data personalisation and segmentation techniques.
These advanced companies were underpinning their efforts with a range of technology solutions, including CRM systems, analytical systems, data management platforms and rules engines.
However, not all companies are as advanced. Some 56% of respondents recognise they are still early in the journey, at best in the initial planning stage and have yet to deploy a data-driven marketing strategy.
The study also found a range in confidence in analytics, with only half “somewhat confident” and 27% “not very confident” in their ability to identify return on investment via data analysis.
Nevertheless, investment into analytics and insight is on the rise with 89% of respondents expecting to increase budgets and 31% to boost them “greatly”. The goal is to evolve the analytics function from historical reporting of “what happened” to more predictive and prescriptive approaches, something that a quarter of respondents already claim to be able to deliver.
The desire to build direct customer relationships via the use of first-party data was clearly highlighted by the research, with 73% of respondents considering this “business critical”, and 88% planning on ramping up usage.
With the increased use and processing of consumer data, however, 85% of respondents acknowledged that privacy is integral to building customer trust, and more than just legal compliance.
And it would seem that despite looming EU General Data Protection Regulation – which could trigger an opt-in marketing data regime – brand owners recognise that their ability to embrace a data-driven future relies on increasing consumer trust, which in turn, requires brands to go beyond compliance.
Some 85% of respondents viewed data privacy as an integral component of customer trust, not just legal compliance.
“It’s no secret that data has become important for marketing purposes, though it’s interesting to note that even some of the world’s biggest companies are only at the early stages of delivering data driven marketing strategies.
“Data consumption is set to increase rapidly and with that sophistication – clarifying how data will be used and how consumer privacy will be protected, should be a fundamental component of a brand’s strategy as it advances into data-driven marketing”, said Matt Green, senior global marketing manager at the WFA.
“Enhanced transparency and a strong value proposition will be vital to ensuring consumer trust in how the industry collects, stores and uses data today, and in the future.”
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