Data is a double-edged sword. There is more of it than ever before, collected and collated through countless online and offline channels. As a result we are able to glean more impressive levels of insight into the actions and motivations of customers.
At the same time, with ever-expanding volumes of data comes complexity and an increase of ‘bad data’ – erroneous, outdated and untrustworthy information with the ability to completely undermine your marketing efforts or severely damage the reputation of your brand.
If your organisation wants to turn its data from a commodity into an asset, then there needs to be a focus on data quality and a structured programme of data quality maintenance. All the data in the world has very little use unless it is both accurate and actionable.
Why is having good quality data so important? Here are just a handful of reasons:
High quality data stops marketing efforts from falling at the first hurdle
Your organisation could be making the most innovative and creative campaign ever seen – but it will only succeed if the right customers and prospects actually see it. Inaccurate data will see adverts incorrectly targeting customers and your emails hitting the inboxes of people who really aren’t interested in what you are selling. An accurate customer profile/persona is essential for targeting the right message to the right person and this requires trustworthy, accurate data and the removal of anomalies that can mislead you.
Good data makes for better analytics
The adage ‘garbage in, garbage out’ remains true. For data-centric organisations that make business decisions based on data intelligence, the organisation needs to be sure that the data is trustworthy before taking action. Incomplete, duplicated and erroneous data can skew reports and hinder effective decision making.
Good data saves money
With accurate data highlighting your most profitable customers, marketing departments are able to send highly efficient messages to the right people who are most likely to respond and convert. Sending direct mail and emails to the wrong person at an out-of-date address (or multiple mails to duplicate customers) will lead to a poorer return on investment, an increased churn rate and a likelihood of dissatisfied customers.
Accurate data creates a more personalised customer experience
When data is up-to-date, complete and trustworthy, this allows for far greater levels of personalisation and customer service. The ability to tailor the content of emails, adverts and website landing pages with names, products, personalised offers and appropriate content based on their personal data and browsing behaviour means marketers can create a relevant experience for consumers.
Good quality data improves your relationship with customers
Demonstrating a better understanding of your customers’ wants and needs when communicating with them helps create a better feeling of goodwill and customer service, but also builds brand loyalty that will keep them coming back for more.
Accurate data is legally compliant
The Electronic Privacy and Communications Act (2002/03) already states that organisations have a responsibility to ensure that data is correct, up-to-date and protected. Businesses also need good data management in order to comply with mail and telephone preference services. Forthcoming European regulations will further reinforce the need for more diligent storing and sharing of data. If your data is incorrect, how can you be sure it’s adhering to the appropriate laws?
While an organisation is unlikely to work with data that is completely ‘pure’, better governance and regular data cleansing procedures will allow you to make the best use of the information available to you and make more efficient, more successful and more profitable decisions.