Data Centralization: Simple Steps to Boost Marketing Effectiveness and Efficiency

Why is data integration essential to my organization?

As a marketer, you understand that your customers and prospects are interacting with your brand in entirely new ways, through new and varied channels with greater expectations than before. Depending on the type of business, customers can buy or interact with your organization by mail, e-mail, internet, phone, in store, through a sales rep, or most likely through some combination.

At the same time postage rates are increasing while response rates are declining, we’re entering economically uncertain times and are increasingly facing budget constraints all the while consumers are being bombarded with messages. With all of these factors at play, it is imperative to compile as much intelligence about each customer as possible. To achieve this, you must integrate disparate silos of customer data and create a central marketing repository that provides a single view of each customer.

With a reliable view of each customer—one that links an individual to transaction history and demographics—you can truly begin to understand and anticipate the needs of current and potential customers and deliver on them. The result: Greater profits through enhanced loyalty and conversion, and decreased waste.

“Gartner Research lists poor data quality as the #1 reason that CRM projects fail”

What are the advantages of a centralized marketing database?

Integrating disparate customer and transactional information has a number of advantages for marketers, chief among them:

Centralized Reporting:

A centralized customer database offers the ability to report on and analyze data traditionally found in disparate data systems. For example, if your organization has multiple consumer databases (e.g. e-commerce, call center, POS) then even the most basic questions can be difficult to answer. But through integration, you can have transactional data such as campaign receipt and response, purchase history, and demographics associated with an individual in one place and you can begin to create reports that provide insight into campaign and financial performance, across consumer touch points. Beyond basic reporting, Marketing will now have a platform to run a variety of increasingly advanced analysis to inform investment allocation, identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, drive segmentation and align appropriate message and offer strategies. Information and insight that will drive intelligent campaign strategy and design, and ultimately profit.

Centralized Campaign Management:

Another immediate benefit of integration is the ability to centrally manage marketing campaigns and the business rules that govern them. As we noted earlier, consumer behaviors are changing as the venues they have for interacting with brands increases. Marketers must evolve by shifting to a customer-centric strategy that leverages past and current customer behavior to drive truly relevant and engaging communications across appropriate channels. Need to trigger a Thank You email based on an in-store purchase, or deploy a DM piece with a product recommendation and coupon to someone who just made a purchase over the phone? A centralized customer repository allows marketers to design and manage intelligent marketing campaigns with a level of relevance and personalization that would otherwise be impossible to orchestrate.

Operational Efficiency:

When customer data is integrated and consolidated, a company’s processes are made much more efficient. With less redundant data, less time can be spent reconciling and managing databases and corporate IT resources can be better utilized. With a one-stop-shop for marketers, less time is spent piecing information together and more time is spent on strategic initiatives. The net result? Significant savings of both time and money.

Just how important is data quality, and how is it achieved?

Data quality isn’t just important. It’s critical. Just consider these facts: Gartner Research lists poor data quality as the #1 reason that CRM projects fail. Additionally, the USPS reports that 1 in 5 adults move each year equating to over 40 million Amercians changing their address. What does this mean to your business? For starters, maintaining data quality can save corporations millions of dollars in wasted paper and postage. You will see immediate ROI Improvements by suppressing customers who will never show a return. It can also expand your reach dramatically, and ensure a better customer experience. Maintaining data quality isn’t difficult to do but it does require a commitment to an ongoing management program.

There are several key components to a good data quality management program; chief among them are the Standardization and Merge/Purge functions.

“Over 40 million Americans change their address each year.”

Standardization:

In the first phase, information entering the database should be cleansed and standardized. Often, dictionaries are used to correct common misspellings and names and telephone numbers are standardized. Addresses are matched against the USPS database to ensure deliverability and accuracy and bad names are suppressed. It’s also advantageous to ensure that the data conforms to USPS standards, as this can save additional marketing dollars by qualifying mail for postal discounts. The result? Reach is expanded through corrected and updated addresses and bad addresses are suppressed.

Merge/Purge:

This is a vital and complex step where records are matched and then merged into unique individual and household records. This step is incredibly valuable as multiple records are consolidated into an individual record, which results in a reduction of duplicates that will save money while enhancing the customer experience. Case in point: how many times have you received multiple copies of the same DM piece or catalog? More importantly, as a marketer, how many times have you paid it?

Data quality management routines will differ based on an organization’s goals and objectives, line of business, and target audience. But overall, when you commit to establishing a set of routine updates, you will ensure consistent success in the long run. Unlock your database’s full potential today and you can realize astonishing results tomorrow.

To learn more about Agency 180’s data services and how we can help your company, contact one of our data experts at insights@216.172.167.8/~jason180.