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The Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising

New global research conducted by Global DMA and co-sponsored by Accenture Digital confirms the importance of data in developing engaging and effective digital marketing strategies.


A ground-breaking study surveying over 3000 specialists from the marketing and advertising sectors, as well as related fields across 17 countries found that data-driven marketing is vital to achieving the customer focus desired by their organizations. The 2014 effort was spearheaded by Global DMA in partnership with Winterberry Group and co-sponsored by Accenture Digital and MediaMath.

The study is the largest undertaken by a global consortium of marketing associations. The Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising report benchmarks current practices with the goal of helping practitioners identify and act on opportunities and challenges, as well as understand market dynamics and trends.

Among the key findings: Nearly all (92.2 percent) of the respondents said they expect data to contribute even more to their advertising and marketing efforts in the coming years. In short, data not only matters, it is thought to be among the most precious asset most organizations have, regardless of or sector or market.


Download the full report [PDF, 1.82MB]


The main findings of the Global DMA survey underscore the importance marketers and advertisers place on getting the right data to help them attract and retain customers and meet business goals. Beyond revealing the growing role practitioners expect data to play, other insights include:

  • It’s a bull (data) market. More than three quarters (77.4 percent) of respondents are confident in the practice of data-driven marketing and advertising and its prospects for future growth. Interestingly, participants in emerging markets—including India, Brazil and South Africa—indexed their level of optimism at higher levels than their counterparts elsewhere.

  • Budgets are growing to support data-driven endeavors. Globally, 63.2 percent of respondents saw spending on data-driven marketing and advertising grow in the last year—with another 10 percent (73.5 percent of the panel) expecting budgets to increase next year as well.

  • Data is digital. And digital is data. The five channels that captured the most new or expanded budget over the last year—including website/e-commerce content, social media, mobile, paid search engine marketing and online display advertising—are all native to the digital world.

  • It’s all about customers. A majority of respondents (52.7 percent) said that “demand to deliver more relevant communications/be more ‘customer-centric’” is among the most important factors driving their data-related investments.


Identifying the right data and sources, extracting actionable insights, and generating value from them are not simple processes. Indeed, the respondents identified several barriers to achieving these goals.

  • Managing more information broadens marketing’s charge. The challenges of navigating more (and more complex) data, channels, customer demands and performance expectations mean that marketers, technologists and services providers need to intensify their efforts across virtually all functional components of data-driven marketing organizations. Digital execution, data management, audience analytics, automation technology and creative development all emerged as priority capabilities.

  • Data-driven initiatives must reflect evolving privacy regulations. Most respondents said that regulations do not impose substantial burdens on everyday data-driven marketing and advertising initiatives—perhaps because marketers have embedded regulatory guidelines and responsible data use into business practices. Yet, some markets are more heavily impacted than others. On a 1-to-5 scale (with 5 indicating regulation “substantially limits” their efforts), Germany (indexed at a 3.50) and France (3.29) are subject to the European Union’s more stringent Data Protection Directive, while practitioners in the United States (2.61) and New Zealand (2.69) are less affected by regulatory oversight.

  • Executing data-driven marketing strategies well requires more resources -- money, people, and know-how. Though respondents’ answers varied when asked what resources would serve to improve their performance, a significant segment said that expanded budgets (43.4 percent), deeper pools of experienced talent (42.1 percent) and improved organizational structures (33.0 percent) would most substantially advance their efforts to leverage data in support of marketing and advertising.

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