Spring Cleanup: Bad Data, Not Big Data, Needs Your Attention

  |  March 28, 2013   |  Comments

This spring be sure to conduct a data collection audit, address dirty or neglected data, focus on preferences and privacy management, break down data silos, and invest in interaction management.

Spring is here - that means it's time to clean up and clean out what we don't need any more, fix what's broken, and get organized so that we can be more efficient. Admit it…it feels good. We feel better knowing everything is in its rightful place and working the best it could possibly work. But why is this annual feel-good ritual limited to just our house, yards, and cars?

Why can't we extend that same philosophy to business and do a little marketing cleaning and maintenance at the office as well? Well, we should, and the best and perhaps most productive and profitable place to start is with our data.

Did you know?

  • Dirty data costs U.S. businesses $600 billion dollars annually.
  • 46 percent of survey respondents cite data quality as a barrier for adopting BI/analytics products.
  • Poor data or the lack of visibility into data quality is cited as the number one reason for overrunning project costs.
  • Data quality best practices boost revenue by 66 percent.
  • If the median Fortune 1,000 company were to increase the usability of its data by 10 percent, company revenue would be expected to increase by $2.01 billion dollars.

So what should you do?

Conduct a Data Collection Audit

Review key customer touch points and audit the customer experience. Review what data is and should be collected (only collect what you need and will use) and how it will be used. Make sure that the data collected is done so consistently across all relevant touch points including website, customer service, registration cards, contests, social communities, etc. For example, knowing what data is collected and implementing standards around which fields and values are used helps eliminate errors and ensures data collection consistency across departments.

Address Dirty or Neglected Data

It's amazing to see how so many brands continue to struggle with managing their data in today's world. While data silos are a mounting problem, nothing is more frustrating and potentially damaging to a brand than dirty or neglected data. Whether it is the box of promotional registration cards sitting under your assistant's desk or the million phone numbers in the database that you didn't double opt in, now is the time to clean it up and to get that data working for you. Hire a temp to input the registration or promotional cards, use validation services to clean up old phone numbers or email addresses, and build a winback plan and marketing program to reengage tired or old email/phone numbers that have been lying around.

Focus on Preferences and Privacy Management

We live in a customer lead and controlled world. Be transparent, provide access, and relinquish control and do it well. That means empowering customers to tell you where, when, and how frequently they want to hear from you. Evolve and enhance existing permission, preference and privacy policies, and pages/centers to better reflect today's marketing reality and to help assure compliance in an increasingly complex multi-channel environment. Remember, studies show consumers are more comfortable and willing to share their personal information with brands, particularly if sharing such data enhances their experiences.

Break Down Data Silos

The explosion of social media and the thousands of new tools to help manage communities have exacerbated this problem of data silos. According to an Altimeter Group study of 142 global corporate social media program managers at companies over 1,000 employees, the advanced companies spent an average of $272,000 on custom integration efforts to glue social systems together, and just over half of social vendors indicated they had previously integrated with CRM systems for brands. Break down data silos by connecting and streamlining these efforts into a centralized datamart, or use execution tools via APIs or scripts integrated into data collection efforts to leverage all data collected across the social web. Then, use that data to improve and enhance program performance.

Invest in Interaction Management

Once the data is clean and ready to go it's all about creating a great experience for your customers. That means taking a customer lead approach and building high-value campaigns that leverage that data and create value. However, it also means having the ability to orchestrate these programs across channels based on an individual's behaviors and expressed preferences. It's not easy to pull off and that is why you will see more and more brands investing heavily in what will become the next marketing boom - interaction management.

Happy spring cleaning!

Spring Cleaning image on home page via Shutterstock.


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Michael Della Penna

Michael Della Penna is an digital marketing veteran, entrepreneur, and visionary currently serving as CEO of Invisible Media, a next-generation mobile data, decisioning, and marketing automation platform. Prior to joining Invisible Media, Michael was the senior vice president of emerging channels at Responsys. His responsibilities included spearheading the overall strategic direction, M&A efforts (including the acquisition of PushIO), partnerships, and solution offering across key digital channels including social, mobile, and display. Before joining Responsys, Michael founded Conversa Marketing, a full-service email and social CRM agency that helped brands ignite conversations and cultivate relationships with customers across the social Web. Conversa Marketing, was acquired by StrongView in 2010. Before branching out on his own, Michael served as CMO for Epsilon. At Epsilon, Michael helped grow and transform the company from a database provider to a multi-channel marketing services powerhouse in just three years. Michael's other key leadership roles include CMO at Bigfoot Interactive, vice president of strategic development at CNET Networks, Inc., and vice president of marketing at ZDNet. Michael has been named to BtoB Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in Business-to-Business Marketing five times and received a BBA and an MBA from Hofstra University.

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