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Data Strategy Basics: 8 Tips For High Quality Data Capture

by Simon Spyer on Jun 20, 2014 2:47:00 PM

Put Data Capture At The Heart Of Your Data Strategy

Data Strategy Basics: 8 Tips For High Quality Data Capture

Experian have released a report that reveals the true extent and cost of poor data quality and explains why so many companies are struggling to close-the-loop on their marketing.

The report reveals that:

  • 86% of companies admitted that their data might be inaccurate
  • 44% cited missing or incomplete data as the most common problem
  • And there is a real cost to this: Experian estimate it at 14% of wasted revenue due to poor data quality. Wasted marketing spend is the biggest cost.
As a key enabler of modern marketing, data quality is critical and will compromise your marketing efforts - from getting the basics of customer communication right to proving your marketing ROI.

Here are 8 ways to ensure tackle poor data and ensure high quality data capture that enables your marketing objectives.

 

Tip 1: Get Things Right At The Point Of Data Capture

The number one cause of data issues is incomplete or missing data.

The place to address this is at the root cause: the point of data capture. So think about how you can address this; typical solutions include:

  • Only capturing data electronically - paper forms are a recipe for all sorts of issues as you have no realy quality controls.
  • Only capturing the data that you really need - if you ask for too much or make the experience too much of a chore, then it's likely that people will skip things.
  • Be explicit about what the benefit is - if your customers or prospects understand why it's important then they are more likely to provide information and take care when entering it.

Get things right at this point and you can then focus on the data that you already hold. 

 

Tip 2: Automate

Manual processes do nothing to support the capturing and maintenance of high quality data. Not least because manual processes are subject to human error.

Reduce your dependencies on key individuals by defining processes to collect and check the quality of your data and allow your people to focus on enhancing these processes, measuring the benefit and thinking about how the data can be applied to your marketing objectives.

 

Tip 3: Build A Data Strategy

As we have said before, a marketing data strategy is an important link to your overall marketing strategy but is often a wooly concept and one that doesn’t gain traction.

It doesn't need to be and some initial thought on the data you need vs the data that you have and how you harness, share, apply and dispose of your data will give you the best chance of success.

If it feels overwhelming, start by building a data strategy for one part of your business or for one stage of the customer journey.

 

Tip 4: Put Data Quality At The Heart Of Your Strategy

If you have a data strategy or a building one then data quality should feature prominently within in.

The strategy and its ability to support your marketing plan is only going to be as good as the data that you harness in the first place.

The implications of not considering it are pretty fundamental and widespread:

  • You can't have faith in what you are measuring and confidence in the decisions that you are making.
  • You won't be able to communicate with your customers on a personally relevant basis and could even damage the relationship.

 

Tip 5: Validate

Validating your data is a sensible step. Whether you do this continuously or cleanse on an ad hoc basis will depend on the nature of your business.

A basic validation service provided by a third party provider (of which there are many) will help you to get an external benchmark of:

  • the veracity of your data (for example, understanding the number of duplicates that you have or whether contacts are still present at their residential or business address);
  • and will give you the option of, for an additional fee, appending external data to yours to enhance it. 

 

Tip 6: Set Standards

Most businesses will be capturing and sharing data across a number of disciplines. It's therefore imperative that there are standard approaches agreed and adopted by the whole business.

This could be as simple as agreeing at what point data is deleted or agreeing which fields are mandatory for the whole business and should be collected at each touchpoint. 

 

Tip 7: Find The Weak Links

The concept of Closed-Loop Marketing - the ability to connect all your marketing activities and customer experiences - means that you need to identify the broken 'loops' or weakest points.

The Experian report shows that the two most cited weak points are websites (49%) and call centres (52%).

Find your weak points and concentrate your efforts here. This is likely to give you the quickest wins.

 

Tip 8: Secure Enough Budget

As we have shown, there is a direct business cost of poor data quality. There is inevitably also a cost of changing.

Ensure that you build a robust business case and that you use this to secure adequate budget to 1) get started, test and learn; and 2) to ensure that your initial activities can be sustained and have longevity.

 

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This post was written by Simon Spyer

Co-founder & Insight Partner at Conduit, professional insight-monger, dad, lover of all sport and Spurs.

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