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DMA: Data Value Worth $156 Billion

23 Oct, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

CHICAGO – The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) released a new study it says gives policymakers in Washington the facts about the vital role of responsible data use in fueling innovation and economic growth in the data-driven market economy (DDME).

DMA president and CEO Linda A. Woolley says the study – unveiled during last week’s DMA2013 event in Chicago – fills a significant gap in understanding about massive changes currently transforming the U.S. marketing and advertising industries. “The changes are propelled by the growing quantity and variety of data available to businesses and consumers alike,” Woolley said. “The results of this first-ever effort to systematically and objectively map, measure, and analyze the DDME will benefit anyone with an interest in a vital, efficient and growth-producing marketplace for goods and services in the U.S.”

Key findings include:

  • The DDME added $156 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy and fueled more than 675,000 jobs in 2012. In California alone, the DDME fueled more than 90,000 jobs and provided more than $21 billion in revenue to the state’s economy in 2012.
  • The real value of data is in its exchange across the DDME. Seventy percent of the value of the DDME – $110 billion in revenue and 478,000 jobs – depends on the ability of firms to exchange data across the DDME.
  • Innovation and small businesses are the big winners in the DDME.  The exchange of data across the DDME lets small businesses compete with big players, launching innovative publications and services fueled by advertising revenue.
  • The DDME is “made in America” and data-driven marketing is a major U.S. export. Just as the U.S. created postal media when Montgomery Ward developed the mail order catalog in 1872, the U.S. pioneered digital media by commercializing the Internet browser in the 1990s. Today, DDME firms derive a considerable portion of their revenue (up to 15 percent in some cases) abroad while employing nearly all of their workers in the U.S.
  • Regulation would impact all innovation, small businesses, jobs and economic growth. New regulations stopping the exchange of data across the DDME would impact $110 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy and 478,000 American jobs.  The biggest winners in the DDME – market innovation and small businesses – would also be the biggest losers if startups could no longer use data to overcome barriers to entry, raise ad-supported revenue, and identify new and niche markets to serve.

“The bottom line is that well-meaning but poorly-conceived legislation or regulation restricting the responsible use of data would harm the U.S. economy,” said Woolley.  “It would impact billions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs, make small business less competitive, and stifle overall innovation.  In the end, it would hurt consumers by limiting choices and raising prices. Policymakers need to comprehend the true impact of their decisions.”

Woolley shared the report, entitled “The Value of Data: Consequences for Insight, Innovation and Efficiency in the U.S. Economy,” during her opening address at DMA2013.

For the full report and DMA’ s summary and analysis, visit

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