With overwhelming enthusiasm, a panel of the world’s advertisers and marketers affirmed the tremendous importance of data to their efforts, kicking off the premier edition of a study that’s the first of its kind—and the largest ever undertaken by a global consortium of marketing associations.

More than 80 percent of its worldwide research panel (including over 3,000 advertisers, marketers, service providers and technology developers across 17 countries, including New Zealand) said that data plays an affirmatively important role in supporting their respective efforts.And nearly all (92.2 percent) said they expect data to contribute even more substantially to their advertising and marketing efforts over the coming years.

The findings were published today in a new report, The Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising, by GlobalDMA (an alliance of 27 independent marketing associations around the world) and Winterberry Group (a U.S.-based research and strategic consulting firm that specialises in the advertising, marketing, media and information disciplines). To be published annually, the report benchmarks current practices across each of its 17 participating markets—with an eye on helping practitioners better understand and act upon their addressable opportunities, challenges and market dynamics.

“It was a great achievement to have so many professionals around the world participate in such a comprehensive study,” said Michael Pryor, Chief Executive of the NZ Marketing Association. “We’ve done this to help marketers and advertisers benchmark their campaigns, allocate budgets in line with global best practices and develop strategies for using data in meaningful, responsible and consumer-friendly ways.”

The Global Review’s findings were compiled through an online survey of advertisers, marketers and other industry participants (deployed between July and September 2014 by marketing associations in participating markets). Among other findings, it concluded that:

  • It’s a bull market: More than three quarters (77.4 percent) of global panelists said they’re confident in the practice of data-driven marketing and advertising and its prospects for future growth. While that response was fairly consistent around the world, panelists in emerging markets—including India, Brazil and South Africa—indexed their level of optimism at higher levels than their counterparts elsewhere.
  • Budgets are on the rise: Globally, 63.2 percent of panelists reported that their spending on data-driven marketing and advertising grew over the last year—with another 10 percent (73.5 percent of the panel) expecting budgets will rise yet again over the next year.
  • Data is digital. And digital is data: The five promotional 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 global panelists (52.7 percent) said that “a demand to deliver more relevant communications/be more ‘customer-centric’” is among the most important factors driving their data-related investments, outpacing all other relevant factors.

“While we hear often about the contrasts that distinguish markets around the world, our research revealed one universal constant: data matters—and it matters a lot,” said Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director, Winterberry Group. “Across all of the 17 nations that were part of our analysis, we found that practitioners rely heavily on information to support a range of business objectives, ultimately supporting both marketing and consumer interests.”

The Global Review was made possible through the support of MediaMath— a leader in data-driven marketing strategy and technology.

“Driving a connected, seamless consumer experience is the holy grail of marketing,” said Rachel Meranus, SVP, Marketing at MediaMath. “As the study shows, data is core to this and as more and more marketers invest in data-driven marketing, they will undoubtedly see a greater marketing ROI.”

The Global Review—including its worldwide analysis and an appendix providing snapshots of response across each of its 17 participating markets—is available for free download at http://www.globaldma.com/survey

“We’re looking forward to future annual editions of The Global Review, when we’ll finally have what has always been so elusive to the marketing industry: insightful historical data about how marketers and advertisers are leveraging data as a driver of innovation and growth,” said Mr. Margulies. “We’ll be able to track what’s happening across the ‘data-driven’ economy and better understand the trends that are driving new opportunities for practitioners around the globe.”

“The research will be the foundation of a global conversation about data and its evolving role in advertising and marketing,” concluded Michael Pryor.

About GlobalDMA

GlobalDMA is an organisation that represents, supports and unites marketing associations from around the globe that focus on data-driven marketing. It promotes worldwide initiatives aimed at providing marketers with global trend information, thought leadership and know-how on data-driven marketing across all sectors, disciplines and channels.
Twenty-seven marketing associations are currently part of GlobalDMA and more countries will join as their marketing associations begin to undertake the data-driven marketing remit. Collectively, they represent a significant proportion of the world’s major brands, corporations, suppliers and agencies. Through its affiliate associations, GlobalDMA provides access to the world’s largest network of data-driven marketing organisations and influencers.