Amid ‘Data Marketers’ in L.A.

Will I be counting the stars on the Hollywood Boulevard or all the data geeks and data lovers inside the Los Angeles Convention Center this week? The latter, of course. Everything about &Then16 in Los Angeles this week is seemingly about what’s next … and I mean that.

insight into content marketingWill I be counting the stars on the Hollywood Boulevard – or all the data geeks and data lovers inside the Los Angeles Convention Center this week? The latter, of course.

Everything about &Then16 (that’s #andTHEN16 to Tweeters) in Los Angeles this week is seemingly about what’s next … and I mean that. I went to my first DMA show – well, let’s just say a while ago — and even from a few years ago, I can hardly believe the transformation.

I don’t mean only the name of the conference, or its rich, on-the-cusp programming. I mean literally everything about the profession, as if we have accepted the full heritage of what direct marketing teaches us, but we are immersed fully in a new data-enriched ecosystem. The variety, velocity and variability of Big Data – handled with care — is available and in service to make small data (contact information) more important than ever, in how we unify the data points to create more relevant content and messages.

It’s hard to (still) call this “direct marketing.” In so many ways, we’ve taken those invaluable DM practices and principles, and have re-interpreted them for a new age. We have become data marketers and we need to be accountable communicators as data proliferates. DMN is saying as much. DMA is well on its way.

In its latest white paper in partnership with the DMA and Interactive Advertising Bureau, The Data-Centric Organization: Transforming for the Next Generation of Audience Marketing (September 2016), the Winterberry Group reports these six takeaways:

  • “Though strategies to promote data-centricity are in full force – and will continue to represent a dominant priority among marketing and media organizations over the coming year – few organizations have yet to achieve meaningful results from their efforts at data-centered business transformation.”
  • “Though marketing and media organizations are looking to engage audience data to support a wide array of use cases, the hierarchy of those applications is shifting.”
  • “Data users and their supply chain partners agree: few organizations have either the depth or breadth of talent they need to derive full value from their data-driven initiatives, particularly when it comes to leveraging analytics as a driver of audience insights.”
  • “Standing in the way of business transformation: organizational silos and other internal process issues that hinder data access and sharing.”
  • “As they look to significantly ramp up their investments in technology, data and service-driven solutions over the next several years, data users are looking for their third-party partners to elevate their support for the strategic functions underlying such investments — calling for a renewed focus on business case development, technology assessment and holistic system alignment as elements of a comprehensive approach to ‘data-centricity.'”
  • “Going forward, data users are also likely to look to their supply chain partners to play a more active role in supporting their day-to-day marketing and media objectives – in particular, by helping leverage analytics to deliver strategic and campaign-level insights.”

Is this a business rationale for the next year or the next couple of decades? Seems to me that we now know why thousands of marketing practitioners are gathering in Los Angeles this week.