DMA2012 Recap: Exploiting Data for Better Targeting

At the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) 2012 conference that just wrapped up in Las Vegas, Future Flow Media Principal Consultant, Chris O’Neill shared his experience with hyper-targeted email advertising as an invited speaker alongside executives from IBM, Strongmail, and Rapleaf. Chris’ main message was echoed throughout the conference that was attended by 10,000 direct marketers: a huge competitive advantage is being realized by the marketers who are most effectively utilizing data to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.

Keynote speakers Chris Anderson, Editor-in-chief of Wired, and David Fischer, VP of Facebook, both pointed out that 21st century markets are all about long tail niches of people with unique, specific tastes. Marketers can no longer target the average, mass market; they need to use data to cost-effectively identify and reach the specific people most able to convert.

Some of the key take-aways from the conference include:

  • Better targeting is an ongoing challenge: a top priority for all marketers in attendance is to find more targeted, higher quality, and more cost-effective methods to reaching new prospects.
  • ROI needs to drive mix decisions: the number of marketing channels available to marketers is increasing (re-marketing, email, social, etc.) but overall budgets are not. This means that budgets need to be carefully spread across many tactics. Planning the best tactical mix is a big challenge and requires accurate measures of ROI and cost-effectiveness.
  • All industries are realizing gains with more targeted advertising: successes are being realized across all industries with some of the biggest winners being: B2B, healthcare and wellness, and automotive.
  • Better integration is needed: there is an explosion of specialized, fragmented direct marketing products and services (widgets, data, analytics, etc.), driving a need for better integration of all offline and online tools and tactics.
  • Social is now a staple: social is no longer a new buzzword, nor is it a stand-alone cure-all; it is an established tactic that needs to fit alongside all of the other tactics in an integrated campaign mix.
  • Process matters: all of today’s available data and tactical opportunities do not deliver results unless campaigns are planned and delivered with a solid process and proven methodology. Without expert advice on best practices, a smooth project execution framework, and careful management of every detail, the most promising campaigns will fall flat. More than ever, the right agency and execution partners are critical to success.

Conference keynote speeches and highlights are available on the DMA2012 YouTube channel.