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Marketing Data Strategy: The 8 Golden Rules Of Data Capture

by Simon Spyer on May 2, 2014 3:37:00 PM

Be Responsible And Engaging In Your Data Capture

8 golden rules for data capture
 
 
Data is the fuel of closed-loop marketing - the ability to build and deliver personal relationships with customers on the basis of all of their brand touch points - and customer data is a critical input.

With customer data privacy a hot topic and again under review by the EU, it’s important to capture data both responsibly and in an engaging way so that you get the basic information that you need to meet your marketing objectives. 

How you collect and apply this data should be at the heart of your marketing data strategy and should inform all your customer retention activities.

Follow these 8 golden rules to get most value from the marketing data that you collect and your customers see the benefit of sharing it.

1. Collect the minimum viable data

Those familiar with the Lean Startup approach will know about minimum viable product. And the principle is the same with customer data: what is the minimum amount of data that you need to collect in order to service the customer and build a relationship with them.

If you aren’t planning to telephone the customer then don’t collect a telephone number. It creates a barrier to the customer completing the form and creates complexity for you.

2. Never give free text options

Always ask customers to pick from lists. These could be drop-down menus or tick boxes. 

If you allow free text then someone is going to have code the data into a consistent format. This immediately adds cost and creates potential for data quality issues.

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3. Don’t forget that data gets old

The moment that you capture data it is out of date.

This has implications for the data that you collect (e.g. ask for a date of birth rather than age) and how you maintain it. 

4. You need a powerful, clear value exchange

Today’s consumers are savvy and willing to share their data with brands. But there needs to be a clear benefit to them.

That benefit needs to be both why they should share any data with you and why they should tell you specific pieces of information.

Only collect data that has a demonstrable value to a customer. Asking where they heard about you or when a policy renews is doesn’t cut the mustard.

This does afford you a great opportunity: to incentivise customers or to give the impression of better service or greater social currency by sharing more information with you. LinkedIn does this brilliantly.
 
LinkedIn data capture


5. Observed data is richer than claimed data

You should only collect the data that you need to:

  • Communicate professionally with a customer
  • Connect your datasets together to give an holistic view of the individual customer and close the loop on your marketing performance

Beyond this, use your transactional data to get a far richer understanding of who your customers are than they will actually want to tell you (or even be able to tell you).

A great example is grocery. Customers will often claim to drink less, eat less red meat and buy more premium ranges. However, you are what you eat and transactional data analysis will give you a far better segmentation of your customer base.

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6. Validate in real-time

All data has a cost but particularly wrong data. Collecting an incorrect piece of data at registration will be particularly costly: you may not deliver expected service at a critical point in the customer journey.

And you may waste your marketing money writing to an address or calling a customer that doesn’t exist.

Address lookups are great and support Rule 7 (below). You can also screen for syntax in, for example, email addresses that you are collecting online.

If you are collecting data offline then screen it before you load it to your marketing database. It’s better to fix it at source than add it to a database that may be connected to multiple data solutions.

7. Make it easy

You should make it as easy as possible for customers to enter their data. 

Break lengthy forms into small pieces and show the customer how they are progressing through the data capture process.

If you have rules for password strength then tell the customer before they attempt to create a password.

8. Show Me You Know Me

If you have the opportunity to collect more information through the customer journey then demonstrate to the customer what you already know and never ask for the same information twice.

The customer isn’t going to be interested in your internal barriers to knowing them.

 

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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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