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Improve Your Data Quality For Christmas 2014

Martin Doyle January 2nd, 2014 Data Quality
xmas data quality

Improve Your Data Quality This Christmas

You’ve barely tucked in to your mince pies, yet we’re already talking about next Christmas. Why? In some industries, it pays to be prepared. And in marketing, the best-laid plans almost always yield the best – and most profitable – results.

Marketers face lots of challenges. Poor data quality is high on the list. As we’re unwrapping our Christmas presents this year, some companies are already looking ahead to marketing next year’s hottest gifts. This year’s most sought-after presents – Furbys, iPads and Kindles, perhaps – may or may not make an appearance in our wish lists next year. It’s the marketer’s job to read the signals well in advance.

The information marketers use to forecast buying behaviour has to be accurate to be useful. Trends change year and year, and buyers are always shifting focus. So how can they effectively target marketing messages at the right people?

Using Data in Effective Marketing

Personalised messages can be incredibly effective when tempting a customer back to a service provider or store. But without good quality data, it’s impossible to personalise a marketing message correctly. Sure, you can have a shot at it, but there’s a good chance that you’ll miss the mark, simply because you don’t know who you’re talking to.

Sending a personalised message to someone who has changed their name is embarrassing, but no big deal. However, sending a personalised message to someone who is no longer alive could have your reputation on the line. Likewise, if someone’s had kids, or moved into a different area, they might fit a new demographic profile and fit a different profile altogether.

Bad addresses cause mail to be undelivered. That causes waste, offence or both. The cost of sending duplicate mailings can be avoided with data deduplication software, and it’s a very cost-effective way of ensuring waste is kept to a minimum.

Good quality data can be used to come up with useful demographics about your customer base, but only if customers are accurately represented. Multiple accounts can subtly skew results, and they can make some data segmentation methods completely ineffective.

Taking Action on Data Quality

For marketers, being able to act quickly can be the key to sales. If a competitor brings out a new product or service, the business needs to be able to respond to the threat by marketing an alternative, promoting loyalty or targeting discounts at segments of its database.

For that reason, data quality needs to be tackled well in advance of planned marketing activity, and it needs to be an ongoing concern for the business. The sooner you start to deduplicate data and cleanse it, the sooner you will get your database into a useable shape.

Finally, as the year rolls on, your priority should be preventing the decay of the data in the database with ongoing data quality initiatives. There are two ways to do this, essentially; capture data correctly at the start of the relationship with the customer, then maintain it properly as your relationship matures. Only then will your 2014 marketing budget be spent with the best ROI.

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Written by Martin Doyle

Martin is CEO and founder of DQ Global, a Data Quality Software company based in the UK. With an engineering background, Martin previously ran a CRM Software business. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years and has established himself as a Data Quality Improvement Evangelist and an industry expert.