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Marketers & Publishers Keep Focus on ‘Data Centricity’ With More Than 44% Expecting to Achieve Level of Sophistication by 2019

Research from IAB Data Center of Excellence and Data & Marketing Association Shows Talent Gap Remains Significant Obstacle

PALM DESERT, CA (February 13, 2018) —The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), its Data Center of Excellence, and the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) have released “The Data-Centric Organization 2018,” the results of a survey showing that U.S. marketers and publishers remain intensely focused on achieving “data centricity” across their organizations, with 90 percent responding that they either have or are developing an enterprise strategy centered on customer data. While only 9.8 percent of respondents described their organizations as “extremely” data-centric today, more than 44 percent said they expect to achieve that level of sophistication by 2019.

The research, compiled by Winterberry Group to refresh a 2016 survey of U.S. marketers, publishers and other data users, shows that the majority of marketers are implementing strategies to support data-centricity, but relatively few say they are driving results—with a greater number struggling to generate deliverables in 2017 than ever before. These results may seem counterintuitive given the significant investments many organizations are making in data and associated activation solutions, but executives shed light on the reasons, highlighting two key challenges:

  • The rigors associated with cross-channel data integration, management and activation—especially within complex enterprises that may be otherwise slow to innovate
  • The threat of new imminent regulation, such as the European Union’s GDPR—redirecting resources from data-centric organizational transformation

The study estimates that the most significant obstacle associated with achieving data centricity appears to be an industry-wide talent gap, particularly with respect to data analytics skills, management, and processing. In contrast, having a technology/IT skillset has declined in priority.

Data users also increasingly credit their supply chain partners with supporting their efforts to derive value from the use of data and optimizing use of marketing technology. The survey results also reveal a growing interest in seeing partners provide training for internal functional managers and an increasing demand for case studies and best practices from within the industry and outside sectors.

“Marketers and their business partners are working together to manage an ever-increasing volume and velocity of data,” said Neil O’Keefe, Senior Vice President of Content and Marketing, Data & Marketing Association. “Solutions that bring together all parts of the data and marketing ecosystem – such as DMA’s Identity Council – help marketers become more informed and more adept at utilizing data to deliver relevant customer experiences. This is a win for all involved, from the businesses who save on their marketing spend to the customers who receive an improved product and better experience.”

“Marketing strategies based on customer data have become table stakes not just a competitive advantage in today’s rapidly evolving marketing and retail environment,” said Orchid Richardson, Vice President and Managing Director, IAB Data Center of Excellence. “To drive success in a data-centric environment a well-trained, workforce is required.  The IAB Data Center of Excellence is working to address the talent gap with educational programs, insights, and guidance that will help expand the pool of qualified data professionals. This industry-wide need will only become more pressing as we navigate the new normal of the data-driven, consumer-centric, direct brand economy.”

“Data is presenting vast new opportunities for businesses to build insights, improve engagement and deliver better customer experiences,” said Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director, Winterberry Group. “For almost all organizations, though, achieving those tasks is difficult work—and growing even more difficult as data and technology proliferate. Our research clearly reveals that industry is up for the challenge.”

“The Data-Centric Organization 2018” was released at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, CA. Premiere sponsors of the research are Criteo, Deluxe, Epsilon, and Equifax; LinkedIn is a supporting sponsor. The complete study is available for download at iab.com/data-centric-organization-study.

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, it develops technical standards and best practices. IAB and the IAB Education Foundation are committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., IAB advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City and has a San Francisco office.

About DMA
Founded in 1917 and driving the data and marketing agenda for a full century, the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) champions deeper consumer engagement and business value through the innovative and responsible use of data-driven marketing. DMA’s brand-leading membership is made up of over 1,400 organizations that are today’s innovative tech and data firms, marketers, agencies, service providers and media companies. By representing the entire marketing ecosystem—demand side and supply side—and engaging more than 100,000 industry professionals annually, DMA is uniquely positioned to convene and guide the industry to bring win/win solutions to the market, and ensure that innovative and disruptive marketing technology and techniques can be quickly applied for ROI.

DMA advances the data-driven marketing industry and serves its members through four principal pillars of leadership: advocating for marketers’ ability to responsibly gather and refine detailed data to identify and fulfill customer needs and interests; innovating to bring solutions forward to the data & marketing ecosystem’s most vexing challenges; educating today’s members of the data & marketing ecosystem to grow and lead marketing organizations in the ever-increasing omnichannel world; and connecting industry participants to stay current, learn best practices and gain access to emerging solutions through &THEN – the largest global event for data-driven marketing – and DMA’s portfolio of other live events.

About Winterberry Group
Winterberry Group is a unique strategic consulting firm that supports the growth of advertising, marketing, media, information and technology organizations. Affiliated with Petsky Prunier LLC—a leading investment bank providing merger and acquisition advisory services to companies in the same sectors—the Firm offers its clients strategic perspective that is unparalleled in its addressable industries, while PPLLC maintains exceptional relationships with industry executives and business owners. This combination of market intelligence, research and strategic operating experience provides an educated outside perspective that we bring to each engagement. For more information, please visit www.winterberrygroup.com.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]

DMA Media Contact
Michael Uehlein
[email protected]