Marketer Confidence Grows to Record Levels in U.S. Even As Pace of Marketing Revenues Slows

Sep 01, 2016

U.S. marketers reported record levels of confidence in the practice of data-driven marketing (DDM) and its prospects for growth following the second quarter of 2016, even as they signaled that the revenues generated by their data-driven efforts grew at slower pace, quarter-over-quarter, for the fourth consecutive period. 

According to survey data compiled in support of the DMA/Winterberry Group Quarterly Business Review (QBR), a quarterly benchmarking of DDM activity among both marketers and the ecosystem of suppliers who support their efforts, confidence levels reached an all-time high in Q2 2016, indexing at 4.44 on a 1-to-5 scale (with 5 indicating that panelists feel very strongly that "the practice of DDM is well positioned for future growth"). By comparison, similar panels reported scores of 3.87 and 4.00 over the last two calendar periods.

Concurrently, panelists noted a Q2 slowdown in several other key performance indicators, most notably growth of DDM-related expenditures and resultant sales revenue. Revenue growth slowed for the fourth consecutive quarter to the slowest growth rate reported in two years. On a similar 1-to-5 scale (with 5 indicating DDM revenue increased "substantially"), panelists indexed their revenue growth at 3.31 in Q2, down from 3.39 last quarter and 3.59 one year ago.

With growing confidence in data-driven marketing (DDM) technology and practices, marketers are investing across nearly all addressable channels. Bucking a long-term trend that has seen only digital channels posting consistent gains in the media mix, DDMers increased spending across a wide range of marketing channels in Q2; panelists reported that their investments grew across every one of 11 addressable data-driven channels with the exception of direct response TV (where spending remained essentially flat since the previous quarter).

Marketers are also leaving their comfort zones by "evaluating new/emergent marketing technologies" and "integrating/activating new data sources," both of which were cited by 52% of panelists as a coming priority.

This report confirms DMA's recently-released 2016 Response Rate Report, which showed that marketers are increasingly "multichannel" in their campaigns. The report showed that the number of marketers relying on a single channel dropped from 35 percent in 2015 to 27 percent in 2016, with impressive spikes in year-over-year response rates across social media, email, display and search marketing.