Marketing Needs Quality Data Before Big Data and Predictive Analytics

By Business.com Editorial Staff

Recent marketing hype has been about new analytics and big data, and becoming marketing technologists. However, there are some fundamentals which must first be addressed, and a key stumbling block to effective marketing is the general poor quality of data. Data quality is non-negotiable. In a recent study, Britain’s Royal Mail Data Services found that the average impact on businesses was a cost of six percent of annual revenue. While there was some variance among respondents, clearly no company can afford to ignore this problem.

This concern with data quality is not limited to the United Kingdom. Experian’s data quality arm, in their annual benchmark report on global data quality, reported that while most businesses globally (and 95 percent in the U.S.) use data to meet their business objectives, less than 44 percent of them trust their data.

Customer experience is top of mind for 2017

Some 56 percent of the respondents in Experian’s report want to serve their customers better in 2017 and recognize that a key factor in achieving this is better data. Providing a rich customer experience is the name of the game, and poor or erroneous information about that customer could cause the end of that relationship. It has become apparent to most businesses that winning a new customer is costly (between three to ten times the cost of maintaining an existing client), while retention is much more cost-effective. Loyalty is not automatic and has to be nurtured, especially in a world where the bulk of customers are millennials, who are very quick to move if the current business offering does not suit them or the experience is less than satisfying. To this end, marketing’s focus for 2017, and probably the next few years is on building comprehensive customer analytics.

Marketing needs a single customer view

Most U.S. companies are quite aware of the opportunities now available to build a three-dimensional view of each customer through the avalanches of data that can be obtained via social media and the internet. They also understand why this is necessary. Experian found that 20 percent of U.S. businesses were focussing on building a single customer view (or SCV), and the chief reason for this drive was to increase customer loyalty and retention. The responsibility for this falls squarely into marketing’s portfolio, with assistance from IT.

In the drive to improve customer experience, marketing needs to develop this single customer view, which will allow extremely targeted marketing. It does not help if copious social and historic shopping data is collated and used to build a customer persona if the customer’s mobile number or email address was captured incorrectly. Likewise, duplicate records and “decayed” (out of date) data create annoyances both to the customer and to the marketing department. Much research has gone into why data is inaccurate, and the same answer is always found: it is due to human error.

While human error can create the initial quality issue, for instance, when customer information is being loaded by one of the company’s employees, …read more

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