Data is at the heart of everything we do in marketing - it informs every campaign, who it is targeted at and it ultimately dictates the potential rewards. A clean, accurate database can mean the difference between targeting the right set of prospects and a wasteful one-size-fits-all approach that can drive down ROI, offend customers and even land your company in legal hot water. It's an issue that big businesses are well aware of: $14.2 million is the ammount that organisations believe they are losing annually because of issues with data quality. How do you ensure you don't fall foul of bad data?
Keeping records up to date is imperative. After all, only...50% of those surveyed by database specialist Market Scan check their customer data is up to date and accurate before launching a campaignven though the rate of database decay is 40% per year. Companies who fail to update and clean their data run the risk of: Clone entries that see you sending out the same campaign to the same person or company time and again because of duplicate records. Weed out clone entries to ensure your ROI isn't impacted. Missing entries are often down to human error. Plug the holes in your database to ensure you maximise the potential of any campaign. To aid in the process, standardise your entry system and offer full training to employees charged with data entry. Gone-away entries are businesses who have folded, moved premises or individuals who have moved roles. Use suppression files to locate and remove dead leads on a regular basis.
It's essential that someone takes responsibility for the data cleansing process. Research by Capscan revealed that 14.4% of those surveyed thought that the CEO should be responsible for data quality - while 19.2% stated it was the CIO's responsibility.
Illegal data can have serious ramifications for your company's image and bottom line.
Whether it's email, social, telemarketing or direct mail, ensure that you have the consent of recipients before sending out marketing missives. Know your territories' rules and regulations whether it's the Federal Trade Commission's in the US or EU legislation including the 'safe harbor' agreement. If in doubt about the ins and outs of consumer law in a particular territory, seek out legal advice - or you could find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit for allegedly using EU consumers' personal data without their consent.
The era of big data and marketing automation has arrived, delivering sometimes astonishing results when deployed effectively. But as marketers are discovering, there is a very real downside emerging among all the success stories - where customers have been left hurt and even grieving by insensitive and inept marketing. Whether it was the parent who found out about his daughter's pregnancy thanks to a Target mail out, or a grieving father who received an offer from a stationery supplier addressed to 'Mike Seay, Daughter Killed In Car Crash', the headline-bating horror stories are becoming all too familiar. Aggressive profiling based on the customer's journey is a powerful tool, but it's one that must be used with great responsibility. Companies must not allow themselves to become complacent and expect their marketing automation to take care of itself once set up. Instead, the process must be monitored constantly by a dedicated team with the right data analysis skill set. They must grow your lists organically and be able to vet any third-party data providers that are brought onboard to flesh out your existing database.
- Cleanse your database on a regular basis to stamp out missing, cloned or gone-away entries.
- Ensure you have a team or individual in place to deal with maintenance issues.
- Hire legal experts to educate you about the rules and regulations of the territories you operate in.
- Put a team in place to ensure your big data and marketing automation don't run away from you.
- Ask yourself: "Do I really need a vast database? Or do I need one which is smaller and more focused?". The answer should be obvious.
Learn more about how to manage and maintain your database with the eGuide: 'Modern marketing essentials guide: data management'.