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Quality Data Starts With Collecting, Integrating, and Leveraging Your Customer Data

Quality Data Starts With Collecting, Integrating, and Leveraging Your Customer Data

This is the last of my series of three blogs on customer data from the perspective of data quality. In my previous blogs, I talked about the prevalence of dirty data, how and why it happens and the significant impact it has on your customer database. The first inclination is to think about cleaning the data, or data hygiene, but really, that is too narrow. Data hygiene in simplistic terms is a process to identify, correct and maintain accurate customer data. “Even the word Data Hygiene is old school… today we use more robust terms like Data Management, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Quality, Master Data Management, Data Governance, etc”, from Peter Benza, Enterprise Advice.

It makes sense that data management, data quality or data governance are more fitting than data hygiene. After all, customer data starts with the collection of data. Data integration and data leverage are further steps toward attaining data quality and achieving business performance breakthroughs.

Data Collection

Data collectionThe approach needs to be as diverse as the variety of customer channels your company interacts in. These might include store location, website, mobile website, mobile apps, call center, social media, catalog, or packaging. These diverse channels present important data that are useful in understanding your customer. By defining the data being gathered, this helps to keep systems from being overwhelmed with large quantities of useless and dirty data.

Identify key attributes of your core customer and establish a standard customer data collection process and data set. If your company sells a product, such as donuts, all of your customer data collection on a sweepstakes should include a question on the entry form about whether the entrant eat donuts. Other questions might include the type of donut, their favorite brand or how frequently they eat them.

Use other customer touch points to continuously gather additional important information. These examples illustrate how you might do this. A retail store location may be a good place to record a mobile number or an email address on your POS system. A call center might be the best place to verify existing customer information or hear about problems with a new product being rolled out. Warranty cards are useful in registering customers to your customer database through postage paid mailers or website forms.

See Also: Why Your Business Needs Analysis

Data Integration

Data integrationBreak down the “silo mentality” and develop a centralized customer database with the right information, which enables all of the functional areas of the company to use one common customer source.

Invest, develop and use data management tools and processes for data integration and management. “In 2015, 51% of companies plan to prioritize and improve data quality solutions they already have in place, while 64 percent will focus on a new solution.”

These companies are moving beyond manual data cleansing and proactively monitoring and auditing the quality of their data by using data enrichment and suppression, matching and linkage, profiling predictive methods and tools. Additionally they are implementing data management tools consistently across departments.

See my previous blog on the importance of establishing a centralized customer management approach in Take Out the Garbage … Improving Your Customer Data.

Data Leverage

Data leverageTurn your customer data into insights to empower the organization to make better, faster decisions and drive a number of business processes including customer acquisition, customer retention, improving prospecting strategies, message strategies and impacting revenue and profitability.

Here are three strategies to leverage your customer data:

  • Establish buyer personas, which are representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. The more detailed, the better, i.e., include customer demographics, behaviors, motivations and goals. Buyer personas provide tremendous insight and structure for your company, help determine where to focus your resources, align the organization and guide program and product development. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.
  • Model your customer list to establish profiles and unique characteristics of your customers, and then clone prospects who have the same unique profiles and characteristics. Establish prospect targeting to specific geographies across multiple media channels.
  • Append emails, phone numbers, life stage or lifestyle data to customer lists to test prospecting and channel targeting strategies.

What thoughts do you have on implementing data quality as a basic part of your company’s marketing strategy?

See Also: Do You Really Know Your Customers? 

Read my previous blogs Garbage In, Garbage Out – The Real Cost of Poor Customer Data, where we established how customer data quality problems are impacting many organizations, small or large, domestic or international, private or public. In Take Out the Garbage … Improving Your Customer Data, I outlined several conceptual steps to help your organization get started on the path to quality data.

About The Author

Herb Young

From market research to marketing strategy, from information technology to new services development, Herb’s expertise covers a lot of territory, both for Marketing In Color clients and for the company’s internal needs, too. He holds a BS degree in business administration and a MS degree in marketing, both earned at the University of Arizona. In more than 30 years of marketing industry experience, Herb has helped develop the brands of numerous household names, for breakfast cereals, hosiery, smokeless tobacco, and dozens more products.


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