DMA &THEN 2017 Conference Recap


The DMA Celebrates 100 Years at &THEN 2017, Looks Ahead

The DMA reached an impressive milestone in 2017, hitting its 100-year anniversary as an organization. While this was cause for celebration at this year’s &THEN conference in New Orleans, much more time was spent looking ahead than reflecting on the last century. This comes on the heels of the DMA’s name change earlier this year, from Direct Marketing Association to Data & Marketing Association. In his opening remarks for the three-day conference, DMA CEO Tom Benton attributes this change to the modern role of data as the lifeblood of all marketing. It powers and improves all marketing activities and enables 1:1 at scale, he notes.

 “This year, more than ever before, it was evident that the strength of the Data & Marketing Association and &THEN lies with our members, speakers, guests and partners. We were pleasantly surprised at the sizeable turnout, and initial feedback confirms that the content provided at &THEN ranks alongside the finest data and marketing thought leadership events in our association’s 100-year history. We’ve already begun planning for &THEN 2018 and will be delivering more of this data and marketing expertise next year, October 8th through 10th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.”

Tom Benton, CEO of DMA

Along with data, cognitive computing was another recurring talking point woven throughout the conference’s buffet of speakers and presentations from notables on all sides of the industry – agencies and publishers, technology vendors and service providers, and executives from some of the world’s biggest brands and marketers. Yet at this year’s &THEN, it felt as though “Big Data” and “artificial intelligence” transitioned from buzzwords to not only serious competitive considerations, but necessities of the marketing toolbox.

Data Standards 2.0: A Self-Regulatory Overhaul

On the final day of the conference, Senior VP of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Experian, Tony Hadley, made a major announcement on behalf of the DMA. He began this announcement by explaining how marketers must be “responsible stewards of data” and the trust that such a role demands.

“Consumer trust is the cornerstone of marketing. In data-driven marketing, consumers must trust us as responsible stewards.”

Tony Hadley, SVP of Experian

The big news, he went on to explain, was a top to bottom review of marketing governance by the DMA to rebuild self-regulatory standards. This initiative, dubbed Data Standards 2.0, builds on the organization’s longstanding (more than 60 years) Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice with a stronger focus on data fit for the modern marketing landscape. More on Data Standards 2.0 can here found here.

In line with the responsible-stewards-of-data theme, sections on data include:

  1. Data Definitions
  2. Education
  3. Transparency
  4. Choice
  5. Limitations on the Use of Data for Consumer Data-Driven Marketing
  6. Data Security
  7. Compliance with Other Laws, Regulations, and Codes

InfoTrend’s Opinion

The DMA hosted a successful &THEN event this year, sticking true to their four pillars: Advocate, Innovate, Educate, and Connect. Stakeholders from all sides of the industry showed up to exchange ideas and learn from one another. Among these ideas, some remain at a higher level, while others are full-fledged marketing staples as we head into 2018. By October 8th of next year at DMA &THEN ‘18 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, we anticipate and are excited to see what major developments have been made with AI, attribution, personalization, and the data that powers them all.

In the full version of our DMA &THEN ’17 insights coverage, we discuss developments in data analytics and AI, the state of personalization in marketing, attribution and customer identity, the convergence of martech and ad tech, and more.

Pat Nolan, Will Morgan

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