‘Bane’ is defined as ‘any cause of ruin, or lasting injury; harm; woe’. [1913 Webster] Whilst I’m not suggesting that trying to sort out your marketing data will cause you any lasting injury, it can certainly hamper the best and most creative of marketing campaigns. Good data is fundamental to the success of your direct marketing activity – whether mail, email or telemarketing, yet typically can be at least 50% out of date. That is a criminal waste of your marketing budget – consider how much it costs to create and implement a direct marketing campaign – at least half is wasted, not to mention the opportunity cost of not reaching the right contacts. According to The Royal Mail, 37 per cent of your business customer records will be out of date within a year if you do not keep up with changes. Although its impossible to have 100% accuracy, by making data maintenance a ‘priority’ task you have a much better chance of reaching your target audience – and that’s half the battle! In my experience, both as an in-house marketeer and freelance service provider, the challenge is recognising and admitting that:
1.The data you are working with is not up to scratch. That may be because you inherited it, or your database has been compiled over a number of years but never checked, or you have many differents sets of data in different formats. Believe me, you are not alone!
2. You need to do something about it and you need to consider the options – get your existing data cleaned externally, get data cleaned internally, buy in new data, consolidate all data into one system.
3. It is going to need some investment! Evaluate your options, but don’t underestimate the real cost of doing things internally in terms of the resource and time needed.
. . . by the way, ‘Bane’ is also defined as ‘A disease in sheep, commonly termed the rot’. [1913 Webster] So, stop the ‘rot’ and take a serious look at the quality of your data and make sure that data maintenance is included in your marketing budget and plan!