Counselor

Small Businesses Increase Data-Driven Marketing

A new Direct Marketing Association (DMA) survey shows companies are increasingly optimistic about data-driven advertising efforts. The clear majority (82%) of respondents reported they increased or maintained their data-driven marketing spend in Q4 of 2014, while 84% plan to invest more resources in related digital technologies this year.

“The latest findings bear out what we’ve been observing for some time – data-driven marketing is on the rise,” said Neil O’Keefe, DMA’s senior vice president. “As a result, practitioners are giving their votes of confidence by increasing their spending in this highly measurable, customer-centric discipline.”

Those surveyed highlighted three reasons for their accelerated data-driven efforts: growing interest in the digital approach, more budget flexibility and greater availability of technology. While new engagement channels appear to be gaining traction, firms are also still heavily invested in email, according to survey data. Typically viewed as a retention tool, companies are now using email for retargeting.

“We’ve seen growing interest in leveraging data towards audience engagement efforts for some time,” said Jonathan Margulies, managing director at Winterberry Group, which partnered with the DMA for the survey. “It will be exciting to see how practices evolve in 2015 as marketers become more sophisticated with respect to data integration, use of technology and omni-channel engagement efforts.”

Although companies are more interested in using data to further their marketing, they still remain cautious in terms of hiring, the DMA survey showed. About 60% of respondents said their firm’s staffing levels are likely to hold steady next quarter, while 32% expect their organization to add personnel. – CR