CHICAGO: Data-driven marketing added $156bn to the US economy and supported more than 675k jobs in 2012, according to a new report that also seeks to warn policymakers about the risks associated with over regulation.

The study into the Data-Driven Marketing Economy (DDME), from the Direct Marketing Association, claims to be the first-of-its kind into the benefits DDME brings to individual businesses and the US economy as a whole.

It argues that the DDME enables small and innovative businesses to compete effectively with larger companies, that it boosts US export earnings and that new regulations restricting the reasonable exchange of data could affect $110bn in revenue to the US economy and 478k US jobs.

The DMA hopes that, by demonstrating the economic value of data, policymakers will pause for thought before rushing into legislation to address concerns about online privacy.

"If public policy decision makers muck around in this area, we really believe they will do it at their own peril – and at the peril of the growth of the US economy," said DMA CEO Linda Woolley in comments to the Wall Street Journal.

In a separate statement, she warned: "The bottom line is that well-meaning but poorly-conceived legislation or regulation restricting the responsible use of data would harm the US economy."

"Any future regulatory debate about the use of data should be grounded in the facts about the value that the DDME provides to the US economy," she added.

The survey, based on 650 companies working in the personal data industry, was authored by Professors John Deighton of Harvard Business School and Peter Johnson of Columbia University.

Data sourced from Direct Marketing Association, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff