Expert Interview Series: Victoria Wilson of Data8 on Improving Data Quality

Victoria Wilson is the Marketing Executive at Data8, where she's responsible for the blogging, social media and being an active part of the marketing team.

We recently asked for Victoria's insight on how organizations can improve data quality and data management. Here's what she shared:

Can you tell us about the mission behind Data8? What impact do you want to make on the world of data management?

Data8 aims to show people that data solutions are not out of reach and high data quality is not difficult to achieve. We want to show people that the journey to good data isn't complicated or long and that benefits are soon seen. We've tried to make our data solutions simple to use and bespoke so that people don't see it as a large chore which involves hurdle after hurdle.

Why should organizations care about the quality of their data? What are the risks of improper data management?

There's a lot of fuss about GDPR in the datasphere at the moment and I've noticed a lot of companies panicking about what it means for them. It'll ensure companies keep on top of their data and maintaining the level of quality, otherwise there a large fines involved. There's still some time before it is enforced so companies should be investigating and starting to implement changes now in order to be fully GDPR compliant by May 2018.

It sounds like an obvious one but having good communications is so important and it is related directly to the quality of data. Not taking care of contact data can be detrimental to businesses - not only does it waste time and money contacting irrelevant people or businesses, you could actually be breaking the law, especially if the contacted is registered with a preference services such as the TPS or the MPS.

What are the most common challenges facing organizations in managing their data?

The main one is that many companies have their data in silos - it is all over the place so it is difficult to keep track of and create one view of their customer. For example, the sales team might have information based around contact times however, the marketing team could have data based on what pages the customer was looking at. Without amalgamating all this information and bringing it into one 360 view of the customer (The Single Customer View), the customer service can be improved and all their details can be found in one place.

What are must-have tools for data management today?

Regular data cleansing is so important, yet few companies recognize the value it brings a company. Bad data quality can cost a business 6 percent of annual revenue so cleansing data doesn't just benefit communications, it saves money, too.

It's not really a tool, but creating a Single Customer View is certainly a must have. Data that is all over the place doesn't do anything for a company. Bring it all together into one database and start targeting your marketing and bringing the information you have gathered about the customer into your communications.

A data quality report is an important tool, too. I don't know of any business which can manually go through their own data and provide the level of detail a report can in a short space of time. They basically show you how your data is performing - what's good, what needs improving and how marketable the data is. It's the foundation of a plan and performing another data quality report after you have actioned some steps is a great way to compare and measure improvements.

What would you love seeing more clients doing to better manage their data? What advice do you find yourself repeating over and over?

Data is something every company has - it's not just beneficial for marketing and ecommerce.

I'd love to see companies taking a hold of their data and using cleansed and accurate data to analyze and predict trends in their market and grow that way. Use your customer insights for tailored communications, suggested products and targeted marketing. Know when your customers are more likely to buy certain products - are they buying many newborn baby clothes right now? Time the marketing to suggest products suitable for a 1 year old in 11 months' time and so on.

What should organizations be doing today to prepare for how to use data more effectively in the future?

GDPR is an important one at the moment and though it seems far away (May 2018) there's quite a few new regulations that could potentially land firms in a lot of trouble if they're not adhered to. The ICO has provided plenty of information to be aware of so any doubt about the GDPR, the answers are usually on their website.

Also collecting data at the point of capture is vital to start inputting accurate data into the CRM. This positively impacts communications, time spent contacting invalid records and keeps companies compliant.

How can organizations use online forms to better collect data? What are best practices for using online forms?

Install validation solutions. B2B firms can use special lead capture tools which only need a business email address to find and store lots of information about a business in your CRM. It just speeds up the process for a customer and also employees who quickly need business information.

Other validation solutions ensure no salacious names are input into the CRM and keeps all addresses formatted correctly according to the country. As well as telephone and email validation, there are many different solutions that can be installed into online forms to ensure only correct and accurate data is collected.

Best practices for online forms really focus around customer experience. User experience is key, you don't want your capture form to be too long or complex to complete otherwise people will just not complete them and then you're left with an abandoned form. Keep the amount of keystrokes minimal and the process simple and quick and you'll find a reduction in abandonment rates.

What data management trends or innovations are you following right now? Why do they excite me?

I'm always interested in innovations and development in the data industry. I think what really impressed me was how PokemonGo used their data to generate revenue and I'm really interested to see how other companies follow suit. Will they go down the augmented reality route or will they take another route?

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