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customer experience, Big Data, Marketing

Four reasons why bad data equals an #epicfail for campaigns

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
February 25 2015,
updated
February 22 2020

Big data. There’s a term that appeared suddenly. The more I read about it, the scarier it becomes. Not just because of the privacy issues - and those pesky re-targeting ads that plague us all - but because data generally (should we now be calling that “small data”?) is what has traditionally kept us marketers awake at night.

A recent article on CMO.com highlighted that, despite an appetite for it, still very few campaigns include personalisation. Seems lack of trust in an organisation’s data is almost wholly to blame and the recognition that poor, incomplete and out of date records can cost us four times over!

1. The production cost

The evidence points to printed collateral still generating the best ROI. Of all the channels recipients are warmest to it and welcome its non-interruptive nature. But there’s a cost to designing and producing those beautiful and compelling materials which, created for a gone-away home-owner or a defunct business, is totally wasted.

2. The mailing cost

500 years old and still going strong we love Royal Mail - and we particularly love its new MailMen initiative! But if you’re a fan of direct mail then you’re only too aware that, despite the various volume discounts you can leverage, mailing charges still account for a big chunk of your campaign budget. Send a package or mailer to an incomplete or incorrect address and you might just as well have burned the money.

3. The cost to the brand

Those easily quantifiable £ costs pale into insignificance when you consider the damage that can be caused to a business’s reputation and brand when data is not updated to reflect not just those that have relocated, but the deceased. There are on average over 1,500 deaths every day in the UK. Consider the implications of that to your consumer data and how upsetting untimely marketing materials might be!

4. The opportunity cost

Economists define opportunity cost as “the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.” In campaign terms, imagine you send me an offer for something which I want, I need, I’m in the market for, I’m actively evaluating, and I‘ve ring-fenced budget for… but poor data hygiene results in me never actually receiving it. The consequence being that, instead, I receive and take up an offer from another supplier whose data and intelligence is more up to date.

Not only has the production and mailing investment been lost, along with the opportunity to make a one-off sale but, even more depressingly, the customer lifetime value (LTV) that might have followed.

Data experts call it “decay” – what a descriptive term for something living and breathing but which can you picture dying before your very eyes! In the B2B space it decays at rate of 35% per annum, while a staggering 10% of consumers are reputed to be on the move every year.

Stopping the rot though is actually quite simple and pretty much a no-brainer for anyone seriously considering personalisation generally, and direct mail specifically. Think:

  • Data profiling and integrity analysis – reviews and helps get an accurate picture of an organisation’s data
  • Duplicate identification – analyses and reveals duplications (individuals, family members within households, etc.)
  • Address hygiene - cleans address records ensuring currentness, completeness and correct formatting
  • Data appending – adds relevant information and fields to records (e.g. geographical, geo-demographic and geo-firmographics)
  • Data suppression – removes those who have moved away or are deceased
  • Contact detail validation and appending for mobile, email and landline

So, sorting your “small data” can help you get a better night’s sleep and if you fancy a chat with our data experts we promise not to bore you about “big data”, which would definitely be a cure for insomnia!

Guest Post: Paul Evans - Data Specialist at Prime Group

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