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Are you staying on top of your data? If so, are you able to leverage it to gain valuable customer insights? Over 45% of marketers around the world report that they struggle to turn data into value or insight. That’s not surprising when you consider 79% of them said the skills and capabilities within their teams were weak when it comes to data. (Source: SoDA Report).

Today’s direct marketing relies on data more than ever before for sophisticated segmentation and messaging. Unfortunately, many marketers currently struggle with their data quality, which inhibits analytics and business intelligence. As direct marketing programs go increasingly cross-channel, businesses need to invest in the right technology to unify and proactively manage customers’ preferences and permissions across every point of interaction, from an email to a mobile app to the point of sale. There are five steps you can take to ensure clean data and create a data quality strategy.

Step 1: Have Clear Goals

Be very clear about your business goals: if you don’t have clarity on the end goal of your direct marketing, huge amounts of effort can be wasted. Think about whether you’re looking to increase customer retention, increase spend per customer, attract a new segment of customers, or shift the perception of a brand to drive the purchase of a new product.

Step 2: Admit you have a data quality problem

It’s important to acknowledge that data quality is an ongoing process. During this stage, it is key to analyse all the different channels through which data is received across the organisation such as the call centre, website and other points of data collection. You should ask yourself: Does the customer contact team verify data for accuracy? Are lists from suppliers screened for inaccuracy? Are web inquiries checked upon entry?

Step 3: Perform a database health checkup

The next step is to understand the current health of your database. You should review what types of data are most important and what areas of the business are prone to bad data. Consider the information you utilise most and the consequences of inaccurate data.

Step 4: Understand your business needs

During step 3, analyse how data quality can align with your business priorities and initiatives. Assess opportunities to apply quick fixes that will make a large impact. Then review larger initiatives that should be rolled out over time and ensure those projects align with your other business priorities.

Step 5: Ensure standardised data

Once you’ve identified the part of your database in need of help, you will want to determine standards for clean data. Determine what data governance guidelines should be followed during the data entry process. These requirements should include details around abbreviations, spelling and capitalisation. In addition, consider what steps should be put into place to verify data and to flag suspicious information.

Think about the data you need to drive your direct marketing programs and make yourself relevant and timely.

Turn your data into better, more actionable information that serves up relevant content.

Look for a solution that not only ensures compliance with an ever broadening regulatory framework, but also gives your customers a voice, enabling them to choose how, when and where marketers communicate with them.

Analytics offers a growth opportunity for today’s businesses to reach customers with the information they most want. However, you should focus less on acquiring additional analytics solutions and more on analysing the data you already have to create one message across all communication channels.

Avoid ‘dashboard overload’ by focusing on the key metrics that drive your bottom line.

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