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53% of marketers lack skills to succeed in increasingly data-driven industry

Rachel Aldighieri, managing director of the DMA

More than half of marketing specialists do not currently have the skills to succeed in an increasingly data-driven industry, according to a survey of their peers.

While research carried out by the DMA Awards (Direct Marketing Association) found that marketers are preparing to be more inventive in helping businesses acquire customers amid the introduction of new data protections laws, with 71% describing GDPR as a “creative opportunity”, it also highlighted the scale of the challenges ahead.

The DMA Awards research surveyed 249 senior marketers who were judges at November’s DMA Awards and found that senior marketers believed the new data laws would mean more creative campaigns to acquire customers over the next five years, as brands will need to find new ways to engage potential customers.

The survey highlighted how a balance between creativity and data must be struck, with 84% of marketers stating that data should be used to inform, rather than supplant creativity.

Almost three quarters of those surveyed (74%) believed that a machine can never replicate the creativity of a person, while over half (57%) also agreed that in an increasingly data-driven world marketing without data should not be considered marketing.

But half of those surveyed (53%) that marketers don’t currently have the skills to succeed in an increasingly data-driven industry.

Rachel Aldighieri, managing director of the DMA, said: “We are going through a period of dramatic change both as an industry and as a nation.

“From leaving the EU, to the incoming data protection laws trying to legislate an ever-changing technological landscape. The GDPR, in particular, is a unique opportunity for business transformation and to forge new relationships with customers based on trust.

“Those organisations that put creativity at the heart of a customer-centric approach, not simply viewing the new laws as simple a legal issue, will thrive in this new environment.”

Komal Helyer, Head of Marketing at Pure360, said: “Creativity, data and automation are not mutually exclusive and must all play a part in creating an engaged customer.

“We are in the age of the ‘always on’ consumer, where customers receive brand communications across multiple devices and want them all to be not only relevant, but compelling and exciting too.

“The changes in regulation offer all brands an opportunity to ensure their marketing teams are equipped with the right technology and skills to execute in real-time, using the perfect blend of creative ideas, the right data and automation technology.”

  • AM will host a GDPR conference covering the major aspects of the new EU legislation at the Hilton Doubletree, Milton Keynes, on 22nd February 2018.

The speakers include data experts from the Direct Marketing Association and cyber security experts.

For more information about the event – or to confirm your attendance by booking a place – visit

Click here for digital marketing best practice and procurement insight

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