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Data-driven marketing (DDM) spending will continue on an upward growth trajectory this year. In a January 2015 study by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Winterberry Group, nearly four in 10 US marketing professionals expected their companies’ investment in DDM to increase between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015, with about one-quarter of that group estimating a significant rise. This was nearly 12 percentage points higher than the share of respondents who said the same about spending growth between Q3 and Q4 2014.
October 2014 research by Infogroup found even more optimism when it came to data-related marketing budgets for the entire year. Here, nearly two-thirds of US marketers expected DDM spending to rise, with one-third of these respondents saying it would increase greatly. Fully 62% had invested in data solutions, vs. 54% in 2013, and an additional 26% planned to do so over the next two years. Looking further out, 79.0% of US marketing execs surveyed in October 2014 by Forbes Insights expected DDM usage to grow over the next three years.
Increased spending and usage makes sense when one considers the success marketers have seen with DDM. Among DMA and Winterberry respondents, 40.3% said their DDM-related revenues had increased quarter over quarter in Q4 2014, and an even more impressive 56.9% expected this to be the case in Q1 2015. Respondents also forecast continued growth in DDM-related profits. Nearly half (48.8%) expected a quarter-over-quarter gain in Q1 2015—10.6 percentage points above the still-impressive 38.2% who said the same for Q4 2014.
Personalization is one of the key goals of DDM, but despite large uptake, marketers still aren’t taking full advantage of customer information, according to Infogroup, which found that just 12% always customized messaging for each channel based on data insights. Promising, though, were the 42% who often did so. Meanwhile, 46% rarely or never customized messaging for each channel.
Marketers were most likely to personalize email and direct mail campaigns, each used by nearly two-thirds. However, popular channels such as websites and social media were used far less frequently, and display and mobile ads didn’t even break one-fifth of respondents.
While marketers are certainly getting better at leveraging DDM, Ascend2 found in November 2014 that marketing professionals worldwide weren’t fully satisfied with the results yet. While nearly all respondents said they were successful at DDM, they were more likely to be somewhat successful (57%) than very successful (39%).
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