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7 Insights from the 2016 DMA Marketing Analytics Conference

I recently attended the 2016 DMA MAC conference in Austin, Texas.

As always, these conferences serve to reinforce existing best practices and ideas, while exposing me to new and different trends in the industry.

In this post, I offer up a mix of both types of insights in the form of seven easy-to-consume slides.

1 - Analytical Data from the Internet of Things is Exploding

You would have to be living under a rock if you're not aware of the data tsunami being created by the Internet of Things. Even so, the presentation by GE opened my eyes to the staggering amount of IoT data being created by just a single company's products and customers. Companies that are well prepared to harness this data via advanced analytics stand to drive massive new market value.

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2 - Advanced Analytics Leaders are Financial Leaders

Again, this is intuitive, but the data serves to drive home the point: advanced analytics capabilities really, really matter when it comes to your company's financial performance. The Moneyball story reminds us of the power of analytics to drive value. General manager Billy Beane used advanced analytics to turn his small-market team into a winner. You can't survive and thrive in today's business environment without a huge commitment to analytics.

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3 - Data Silos Severely Limit Your Customer Insights

Zappos is famous for their powerful culture. But, they delivered an even more powerful message about the danger of data silos. This is something I've seen many, many times over the last 30 years in the direct marketing business. Companies allow data silos to exist. These islands of data may individually hold incredibly powerful insights. But, when they are not integrated into a single marketing database or analytical data mart (or "analytical sandbox"), the actionable customer insights are severely limited. If you do just one thing this year, integrate your data to create a platform for advanced analytics to thrive. Do it.

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4 - Direct Mail and Phone Spending Remain Very Large

In the rush to digital domination, which I fully embrace, it's easy to forget about the power and importance of our more traditional direct marketing channels. They allow for precise targeting and very clear attribution and performance measurement. They are tried and they are true. So, while you rush headlong into digital, don't forget the broader and more important strategy: omnichannel marketing. Know your target audience and leverage the full array of direct channels at your disposal.

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5 - Marketers Must Expand the Use of Analytics

Again, sounds obvious, right? But, when you let the data speak what does it say in this case? Only 29% of marketing projects are leveraging analytics!  John Wanamaker famously said "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." Today, John wouldn't have this same lament if he embraced analytics. Here's the sad truth: even in today's analytics-crazed world, the majority of marketing initiatives fail to use analytics. If this is you...and you know who you are...make 2016 the year that you fully embrace marketing analytics.

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6 - Marketing Analytics Will Grow, But More Impact is Needed

Recently, a study by Ad Age and McKinsey forecasted an 83% increase in spending on marketing analytics by 2018. That's the encouraging news. Here's the bad news: CMOs believe the impact of analytics is too low. In many cases, I must agree. There are too many inexperienced analysts and unproven methods that are being thrown at marketing problems. The results are predictable: low impact from the analytics. There are proven tools, methods and vendors. Trust your marketing analytics to them.

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7 - Analytics Should Support the Entire Customer Lifecycle

Today, there's an awful lot of time and money being invested into mapping, understanding and improving the buyer's journey. And, rightfully so as there is much to gain. Leading companies are also embracing analytics at each stage of the customer lifecycle. From acquisition to growth to retention, analytics has a starring role to play.

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Mike Hail
Mike Hail
Mike Hail serves as CEO of Data Decisions Group. Previously, he has been CEO, Web Decisions Group, CEO, Yankelovich, CEO, Knowledgebase Marketing. With 38 years of marketing experience on both sides of the desk, Mike acts as the professional listener and interpreter for our client engagements. He focuses on the data and analytical aspects of our solutions.