Delivering data driven marketing (DDM) success

Nick Broomfield

Global Director & Client Partner, Transformation Consulting, dentsu

A new dentsu report, developed in partnership with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), titled Delivering Data Driven Marketing Success: Evolving from third-party data reveals that whilst data is seen by organizations as a critical enabler of growth in 2024, many remain unclear on how to use data let alone be able to quantify the value it brings to their business. Following on from previous research on this topic in 2015 and 2018, it is clear there is still work to be done to embed data as a proven driver of business growth. Sixty-three organizations responded to the survey, including many of the top 100 advertisers worldwide, collectively accounting for approximately $50bn of global spend.

The report comes at a time when AI promises more personalized real-time experiences, but the proliferation of privacy legislation and the imminent demise of third-party cookies presents major challenges that must be carefully addressed. Given this changing landscape, the report aims to help readers understand how they can reimagine their approach to consumer data management.

Here are some of the fascinating insights to be found within:

1.  The need for a clear purpose and use case for data 

The good news is that 57% of respondents are well on the way with delivery of their data-driven marketing program, with the proportion of CPG organizations that see DDM as critical doubling from 2018 to 2023 (24% to 48%). However, only 2% can be defined as world-class. We still see many organizations collecting first-party data without a clear understanding of its intended purpose - just 35% of mature and 11% of developing organizations have fully defined how they will use the consumer data collected. Crucially, this has now escalated from a simple business cost. Today’s legislation demands a clear purpose for the retention of consumer data, so the emphasis must switch from acquisition of a growing data pool to the value which can be derived from it. And here progress has disappointed.

2. The type of data used by organizations in evolving

First-party data (1PD) remains the most important data type, with 45% deeming it business critical vs. just 16% for third-party data (3PD). Indeed, looking into the future, respondents expect the importance of 1PD and 2PD to increase significantly, and for 3PD to decrease. With the big cookie deprecation now underway, it is clear the industry requires a replacement for the historic focus on 3PD. Whilst the research found that nearly 75% are now testing possible replacements for third-party cookies, this still means one quarter are not and should quickly be put on notice to do so.
One trend outlined in the report is the increasing use of contextual data signals to deliver relevance in communications, especially within the CPG sector.

3. Confidence in the ROI from data-driven marketing is still low

Having at least some confidence in the ROI generated is necessary to answer the business case for using data-driven marketing, however we found it to be far from sufficient. Whilst more than 80% of mature organizations are very or somewhat confident they can quantify the ROI from their data-driven marketing, a significant two-thirds of developing organizations are not very confident or not at all confident. This is clearly linked to the lack of clear strategy and use cases as outlined above.

 4. Some barriers are proving tough to overcome, even for the most mature organizations

The first barriers resolved by respondents include those which are, arguably, more obvious hygiene factors (e.g., addressing data protection, privacy & cookie legislation and ethical execution). Encouragingly (vs. our 2018 report), the barrier of achieving senior management buy-in is far reduced today. The most prominent challenges where focus is still required come in the areas of accessing the right consumer data, measuring the impact/ROI, and creating a fit for purpose technology stack. We also found that access to data science and analytics expertise and tools was a key indicator of DDM maturity, with 35% of developing organizations calling this a gap vs. just 17% of mature organizations. 

Dive deeper into the research

To explore the results further and read more on the recommendations to accelerate your own DDM maturity, WFA members can download the full report on the WFA website: >

If you would like to understand the extent of your own internal DDM maturity, see how you benchmark vs. industry best-in-class, and identify exactly where you need to focus for 2024, get in touch to find out more about dentsu’s integrated marketing maturity diagnostic (called Schema®), built from many years of experience of helping multiple organizations across the globe successfully transform for the data-driven world.

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