Data, data everywhere… the importance of consolidated data sources

Data is hot, in the marketing world at least. At DCA we are having an unprecedented number of conversations about how improving data quality and consolidating databases leads to big results: more effective marketing campaigns, higher ROI and better customer engagement.

However, the data world can seem complicated, and Marketing Managers sometimes need a bit of help navigating towards the data ‘Holy Grail’: an ongoing single-customer view. Today we’ll demystify this term, explaining what it is, why it’s important and how to get it.

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on what’s important, on both a personal and business level. It’s about getting the focus right for the year ahead, and in 2014 a business priority should be a healthier sales and marketing pipeline. This can be achieved by first improving your data quality, then using this clean data to optimise your marketing efforts and drive more revenue.

After more than two decades in the data field, we know there is much room for improvement. Day in, day out, we look at data – and it often isn’t pretty. Many companies have more data than they know what to do with, scattered haphazardly throughout the business, without even realising the volume of their information.

It’s not just the main CRM system (or – dare we say it – master spreadsheet…) that needs to be maintained. Thanks to the continuing explosion in data, many companies have multiple data silos that no one quite knows how to deal with, holding data from different physical locations or business departments. Often these sources are dirty, incomplete, inconsistent and not linked, but they contain a wealth of information about a business’s most important assets: customers and prospects. Getting all this data in one place is the first step towards good foundation data and a unified-customer view.

Using multiple data sources leads to multiple problems, many of which we see on a regular basis. Based on our recent data work, we’ve pulled together a list of ten findings. We hope it helps on your journey towards better data.

  • At least 50% of the data records we see are dirty, requiring some type of attention. One of the biggest issues is incorrect data entry, with inconsistent information entered by multiple staff across a business.
  • Often data sources come from different state offices, with inconsistent data entry again a big issue.
  • In around 30% of records, data is displaced across fields.
  • At least 10% of data is duplicated across various sources, resulting in double handling of the records and inconsistent customer details.
  • Many clients don’t realise how much data they have or how dirty it is until they begin collating data sources.
  • Many data sources are dirty and incomplete, lacking uniformity both within a single data source and across multiple data sources.
  • Data sources aren’t linked in any way and there is no single view of the customer.
  • Significant resources that could be used servicing customers and generating revenue are spent working around problems caused by dirty and duplicate data.
  • Many clients can’t report accurately and effectively on their data as it is inconsistent and spread out across the company. The effort to create simple reports can take weeks, and the results are inaccurate.
  • In discussions after data consolidation, 100% of our clients report a resulting increase in revenue and marketing effectiveness.

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