Big data is essential to successful marketing today. It has enormous potential for improving opportunities, but by itself it can't create value. It's only when big data is properly analyzed that numbers and fields can turn into valuable, actionable insights. These insights can be used to increase operational efficiency, find new marketing opportunities, improve customer relationships, and increase competitive advantage.
Today's customers are knowledge-driven, interacting with businesses through multiple channels. Each of these customer touch points gives businesses an opportunity to make or break the customer experience, enhance loyalty, and increase revenues. At the same time, the pace of business is accelerating, and businesses must be ready to take advantage of near-real-time opportunities. The successful business must be able to integrate marketing data and evaluate it to make the most relevant offers and connect most effectively with customers.
Businesses must not make the mistake of thinking that all data is equal. Data quality varies considerably, and making decisions based on poor data quality can undo even the best-intentioned and best-planned marketing strategies. Understanding data quality is essential to business success today.
Ways Data Quality Can Degrade
Only about one-third of marketing data can boast accuracy rates of 75%, and only about two-thirds of customer data is this accurate. Poor data quality has serious negative consequences. "Dirty" data prevents messages from being delivered properly, and when messages do get through, their credibility can be undermined. Errors in data can lead to inaccurate segmentation and poor reporting, among other problems.
Data quality can degrade in many ways. People change companies, change addresses, and change phone numbers, for example. Data may also be duplicated, with the same contact being listed in different records of different sales people, and if these duplicates aren't identified and combined before being fed into a marketing system, contacts may receive multiple messages that waste your resources and their time.
Data may become obsolete when, for example, a salesperson knows to ignore a contact with whom they no longer do business, yet the data is still fed into a marketing system. Data quality can also diminish due to non-standard formats. For example, the same person may be listed as "VP of Quality Control" in one record, and listed as "Quality Control Vice President" in another. The system may not know that these are one and the same person, again wasting resources.
Impact of Poor Data Quality
Poor quality of marketing data negatively affects businesses in numerous ways. Consequences may include:
- Customer dissatisfaction,
- Increased operational costs, and
- Lower employee morale due to failing to achieve their desired marketing goals.
Customers expect that their customer information will be correct, and that the products they purchase will be delivered properly. They expect billing to be accurate and their accounts to be serviced correctly. When this doesn't happen due to poor data quality, they may be forced to spend time straightening out the problems, which seriously diminishes customer satisfaction.
When marketing data quality is low, operational costs increase because time and money must be spent detecting and fixing data errors. Costs can be significant. In fact, there are whole enterprises devoted to detecting errors in things like billing invoices, and such companies can thrive when other businesses fail to pay enough attention to issues of data quality.
Benefits of High Data Quality
By contrast, the benefits of high data quality are significant. One company studied by the Data Warehousing Institute was able to generate cost savings of $130,000 per year on an investment of $70,000 for software and data cleansing services. Other benefits reported by companies committed to higher data quality included increased customer satisfaction and greater confidence in analytical systems due to having a "single version of the truth" in the form of high quality marketing data. When companies insist upon high data quality, less time is spent reconciling conflicting data, revenues increase, costs decrease, and customers are happier.
See for yourself how data quality affects ROI and how ReachForce can help you convert more MQLs to sales with our ROI calculator.
Businesses that don't pay attention to marketing data quality can count on spending more and taking in less. Big data is revolutionizing marketing, but that data must be of high quality to deliver results. Companies that take steps to ensure data is clean, non-redundant, accurate, and complete can expect a higher return on their marketing data investment.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.
To learn more about how ReachForce can help you optimize demand generation and your impact on revenue, check out our real-time web form enrichment demo, or request a free marketing data diagnostic. Get the power to let data drive marketing and higher performance.