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Good and bad news for marketing data in 2014

For the first time in a number of years I look to the New Year with some hope in my heart. While there are undeniable signs of an upturn we have to be careful that we don’t just ‘assume’ that is good news for us.

I have described on many occasions how I liken this recession to driving a car, at speed, into a thick fog – the inevitable consequence is that a client has to take their foot off the pedal. For brands, for marketers and for practitioners the only outcome is that of less spend, less investment and less pace. As we break into the clear blue sky no ‘safe’ driver would press their foot hard to floor rather they would gently accelerate ‘just in case’ the fog reappears.

So as advertisers return to a more normal service what can they expect to find throughout 2014? Firstly, a better disposed consumer – one of the good things about the recession has been everyone trying to minimise wastage (haven’t heard that word for a while!!). Recessions make clients ask why and make us work harder – good. I guess I must have been banging on about putting the consumer in the middle of everything for about 20 years so I am really pleased that we have got here but saddened that it took a recession of this depth to do so. One word of warning, this unique position is remarkably fragile and any return to the mass targeting that we saw in the early noughties will see consumers retreat with speed.

I expect to see greater use of channel-based marketing because as an industry we are starting to understand how consumers use the different channels in the journey to buy things. I remain cynical that consumers will ever allow their mobile device to be a prospecting tool but many of our clients are beginning to realise that a mobile is the ‘perfect’ response mechanism.

It impossible for me (hard as I try) to not talk about the likely changes to legislation. The recent reinterpretation of the PECR rules by the ICO are anti-business, plain and simple and if allowed to remain as they are will decimate the industry. How does the song go…? “I predict a riot…”. Brussels has faded somewhat but will not remain there. 2014 will see the true result of the last three years of hard work lobbying and I am certain that we will be looking at implementation of a much stricter and onerous regulatory framework by 2017.

I think that the sector to watch throughout 2014 will be the energy players. Government has clearly signalled its desire to wrestle away the monopolistic control that the “big 6″ have, anyone working with the smaller energy providers is in for a fun time.

Finally…
Scotland will remain a part of this great union
Tiger Woods will finally win his 15th major
Ed Miliband will not be leading the Labour Party by the end of the year

Have a great and relaxing enjoyable festive break.

By DMA guest blogger Mark Roy, CEO, The Data Agency and DMA Data Council chair

This is the view of the author and does not represent the views of the Direct Marketing Association.

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