Data-driven marketing’s growing returns in both sales revenue and profitability are spurring marketers’ confidence in the methodology. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and consulting firm Winterberry Group’s second-quarter Quarterly Business Review (QBR) found that confidence reached a high point in the second quarter, with more practitioners (84.2 percent) expressing confidence in its growth than at any point since 2012.

Furthermore, for the first time in over two years, more respondents said that their data-driven, marketing-generated revenue grew compared to the previous period (45.7 percent) than reported flat quarter-over-quarter performance (44.7 percent). In addition to increased spending in data-driven marketing, results also showed a renewed focus on traditional channels, reversing a downward spending trend of at least six months or more.

“These research findings suggest that marketers are confident in the value of data-driven marketing—and they’re putting in the investment to prove it,” says Neil O’Keefe, DMA’s senior vice president, CRM and member engagement. “Marketers are recognizing the importance of a consistent investment in the customer across all channels, with increased expenditure not only in digital tools, but a renewed focus on traditional media as well—with the first increase in direct mail expenditure that we’ve seen in the past six months. Responders are also investing in acquisition, which is done traditionally when expectations and profits are high.”

Jonathan Margulies, Winterberry Group’s managing director, adds, “The significant acceleration in revenue growth we are seeing reported in the Q2 2015 QBR points to marketers’ greater ability to integrate the full spectrum of technology and channels to deliver greater relevance and improve customer experience. This is effectively signaling a shift away from old distinctions between ‘general’ and ‘direct’ marketing methods. In short, we’re accelerating toward a world where all marketers are data-driven and looking to those methods as a means of both acquiring and engaging customers.”

In their data-driven marketing programs, survey respondents are prioritizing the expansion of new customer acquisition efforts (61.4 percent) and improving existing customer relationships (60.6 percent). Looking ahead, practitioners project their investment in the industry will continue to grow, with 53.9 percent predicting their data-driven marketing spending will remain constant next quarter, and 39.2 percent saying that their DDM investments are likely to increase.