A new report from GDMA (Global Direct Marketing Association) has revealed that data is now an indispensable marketing asset. Eighty per cent of the global survey respondents said customer data is critical to their marketing and advertising effort. Of course those of us that have worked at the coal face have known this for decades – and we have to wonder what on earth the remaining 20 per cent of respondents were thinking!

But what is interesting about this report is the trend they have identified that shows investment in data is now geared towards improving the customer experience as a conduit to greater business growth, as opposed to a direct route to incremental revenue.

This is the link that has up until now largely been missing, which was in part, responsible for the abuse of data that resulted in the bad press database marketing received and the negative perceptions held by consumers.

Organisations that have altered the critical path to include the customer experience are those that are reaping the rewards of their data and are building up strong and trusted relationships with their customers.

For example restaurants that send their most valued customers an invitation to dine with a free bottle of bubbly for their birthday, or retailers that invite brand fans to VIP product launches, or publishers that utilise their data to provide subscribers with added-value experiences including discounts to relevant events. These are examples of what we are coining data-forward businesses (DFB) – those that understand that effective data driven marketing must benefit the customer first.

If you want to know and understand more about the way data is changing the world you live in, or would like to know how data can add value to your business, please email me at


Dave Gurney

CEO, Alchemetrics - Expert in Data & Digital Marketing
enabling senior marketers to value from engaging customers online.