Data is not just a four letter word!

Posted Wednesday, November 14th, 2018
Posted in: Data Management

Just imagine, if your database held accurate, correctly formatted and duplicate-free data, you would:

  • Make better, informed business decisions
  • Improve profitability
  • Dramatically improve response rates
  • Generate increased sales
  • Maintain customer loyalty

Businesses squander billions of pounds each year by relying on inaccurate or poor quality data, leading to losses that can be measured in terms of inadequate strategic planning, loss of revenue and reduced customer loyalty.

Although successful organisations understand only too well the link between clean data and business performance, too many rely on a variety of disparate data sources, each with different data formats and their own range of problems, leading to an overall lack of data quality. Take for example the recent report by Garner stating that 27% of the data in Fortune 1000 companies is considered flawed. This is substantiated by a similar report by IBM which states that the average loss from bad data accounted for 12% of the company’s overall revenue.

Quality data avoids the waste associated with duplicated or invalid mailings, achieving a better return on marketing investment, increasing response rates, identifying new prospects, closing more business and better serve your existing customers.

I believe passionately that data quality – or should I say the lack of it – is undermining the Marketing industry. Data is without doubt one of the cornerstones of the industry and the foundation from which information, then knowledge, then wisdom is derived.

If the foundation is flawed, you don’t derive much in the way of wisdom and as proven again and again, very bad decisions are often made with a high level of certainty.

Take for example Pinterest emailing single women, congratulating them on their wedding engagements based on their activity on the site. What should have been an intelligent insight and marketing campaign was proven misguided as it turned out most of these women were not engaged and many were single. This led to a Twitter outrage which no doubt hurt Pinterest’s reputation. An episode that clearly could have been avoided if Pinterest had used reliable and trustworthy data.

Customers are an essential part of any business, without customers there would be no revenue stream and soon no business at all. One may argue that customers are in fact more important than the employees that work in the business.

With this in mind, it would be shocking to think that a business could not keep track of its employees. Paying the same person twice because they were erroneously duplicated on the payroll, buying twice the amount of equipment than necessary or even paying employees that left years previous. These errors could easily drive businesses to bankruptcy.

Why then do businesses around the world not keep track of their customers with the same sense of urgency? Why do businesses continue marketing to duplicates of the same customer, customers that do not exist and even customers that have passed away?

Now more than ever, with big data exploding and customer data flooding the landscape, it is imperative that customer data is managed correctly and businesses realise that – Data is not just a four letter word!

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