Reasons to be cheerful - one, two, three. | DMA

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Reasons to be cheerful - one, two, three.


In the last two weeks I've had the opportunity to participate in three events which have led me to reflect a bit on the state of the 1 to 1 marketing world. I met the 2015 cohort of scholars from the Marketing Academy who attended the DMA Faculty Day as part of their programme - they were sharp, smart and very engaged with data. I attended the Data IQ Power 100 event where it seemed clear that data has really gone mainstream. Finally, I spoke at the DMA Data Protection Conference which was the best attended ever. Privacy is now the responsibility of the entire organisation. I came away from all those events feeling upbeat and positive about our 1 to 1 marketing community. Even if there are a few challenges ahead there are many reasons to be cheerful. Here's why:

1. The role of the modern marketer is rapidly changing. A line from the econsultancy marketing manifesto sums it up unambiguously: "If you do not see data as exciting, valuable and empowering then you are not a modern marketer." As a marketer who studied maths and liked data I've always had a nagging feeling that I was the odd one out. At last, it feels like my time has come even if I also feel like I'm constantly learning about new tools and systems.

2. There is a pressing need for everyone in our businesses to be focussed on how to understand and leverage our data. At the Guardian that means everyone from editorial, to product to commercial and advertising are embracing data. We need to know more about our audiences and how they behave if we truly wish to transform our business model.

3. The pressure to use data is impeded by real difficulties in getting access to the right data in the right format as well as trying to interpret that data in a coherent way. There is a strong incentive to create one version of the truth but also make sure that insight is accessible to everyone. We should all take responsibility for simplifying and de-mystifying the data.

4. Which leads me to talent - how do we develop young talent? With the world changing so rapidly there is a real shortage of data driven/data savvy business people and marketers. There are live conversations about how to ensure entire organisations are equipped with the right data skills. At the DMA one of our key campaign themes is to ensure that we help to develop young people and ensure they have the right skills to succeed. Our association with Marketing Academy is part of that project.

5. And finally, the complexity of these data challenges are compounded by the importance of privacy, data protection and security. Its no longer just a challenge for the compliance department. Unsurprisingly, at The Guardian, we have had lengthy conversations on the subject. What we've learnt is that people will share data with trusted organisations if they are transparent about how it's used. Hence our short film - "Why Your Data Matters to Us"

I'm looking forward to the year ahead and the changes ahead. I also want to ensure that we can make a real difference through the DMA.

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