WHITEPAPER. The importance of a clean data infrastructure STIRISTA 1

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1 WHITEPAPER The importance of a clean data infrastructure STIRISTA 1

2 Customer data is the backbone of successful marketing efforts. The more information businesses have about their customers, the better their marketing campaigns will be. The problem is that more data often leads to disorganization when companies don t plan for the future. Once a company starts to grow, a lack of infrastructure can give way to ineffective marketing campaigns and the inability to reach customers. This is an issue that companies deal with every day. According to a study from Direct Marketing News, 87 percent of marketers understand that they need high-quality customer data to do their jobs well, but 66 percent feel overwhelmed by this data 1. As these survey results indicate, the majority of marketers feel burdened by the data they need to deal with on a day-to-day basis to remain successful. On the other hand, to fully support marketing efforts, databases need to be clean and organized. Having successful marketing campaigns relies on data quality. 1 STIRISTA 2

3 CONTENTS 4 Low-quality data can derail good marketing campaigns 5 How to build a successful infrastructure 5 Assess and clean up existing data 6 Fix data entry points 7 Fill in the gaps and make it routine 8 Conclusion STIRISTA 3

4 low-quality data can derail good marketing campaigns Data is what enables companies to keep in touch with customers. When marketers have databases that are disorganized, they lose the ability to do this effectively. Bad data can lead to a number of problems that can damage marketing efforts. Poorly managed contact and demographic information decreases deliverability and conversion rates, increases bounces, and results in less effective customer targeting. Without sound data, it is extremely difficult to segment lists effectively and personalize messages in a way that increases engagement. Overall, when data is disorganized, companies miss out on an opportunity for successful marketing. By making a few changes, companies can turn this situation around and develop successful, targeted marketing campaigns based on thorough customer data. STIRISTA 4

5 How to build a successful infrastructure Assess and clean up existing data Before developing a cleaner infrastructure, companies need to audit the data they already have. This is a three-step process. Step one: examine current systems The first step to building a better is to examine the systems already in place. Companies should conduct an audit of the processes they re using. Ask the following questions: How does the data come in? What are the points of entry, and who does the inputting? How is the data stored and formatted? Are there any systems in place to monitor the quality of information being entered into your database? Once businesses have a better idea of what current processes look like, they can move on to the next step: cleaning up existing records. Step two: create uniformity between records Businesses should look over their records manually to determine whether data-keeping is consistent between entries. When looking over records, it s important to take note of fields that are missing between different records and correct these oversights. Step three: reduce duplicate files and fix incorrect entries Companies should take note of any duplicates and fix entries that contain incorrect information. Combining separate entries for one individual provides a more complete view of the customer. STIRISTA 5

6 Fix data entry points Once existing data has been updated, companies need to focus on how the information is entered in the first place. If businesses fail to optimize the procedures for obtaining customer data, the databases will never perform at an optimum level. Wherever data is entered, either via call center or online customer activity, companies need to make sure it is being input correctly. While marketers may assume that customers will enter their own information accurately, this isn t always the case. According to Experian QAS, about 20 percent of data entered online is either incorrect or incomplete 2. Using tools like address verification is one way to ensure the data coming in is accurate. This technology ensures mailing and addresses are entered correctly. For instance, Stirista s Geo-IP Verification service verifies customer location using an IP address rather than self-reported data. Other tools can correct formatting and syntax. Companies should make sure data entry points are uniform and ask for the same information from each customer. The method of database organization is another key consideration. Because customer data needs to be kept safe, it s vital that data is stored in a way that will reduce the likelihood of a security leak. Direct Marketing News recommends that marketers store certain types of data separately to prevent any issues 3. Personally identifiable information, which includes sensitive data like social security numbers, credit card numbers, and mailing addresses, should be separated from behavioral data like cookies, clicks, and transactions STIRISTA 6

7 Fill in the gaps and make it routine After cleaning up data and fixing entry methods, companies can maximize the potential of their databases by adding information that may be missing. One way to do this is to run the database against an existing one to gain greater insight into a customer base. Using a database like Stirista s enables companies to expand on the information they already have and increases personalization and targeting efforts. For instance, Stirista can enrich current customer files with additional demographic and lifestyle data. The best protection against disorganization is maintaining guidelines and regulations for data management. According to MarketingProfs, businesses should establish a process to assess, clean, and improve data throughout the year 4. Data isn t static. As customers evolve, businesses will need to find a way to keep up with these changes. Data decays at about 3 percent per month, which means that maintaining a pristine database is an ongoing process. At the same time, as certain data becomes irrelevant, business databases continue to grow as new customers are added. Experian found that corporate databases double every six months on average. If these databases aren t monitored consistently, the can quickly grow unwieldy. 4 STIRISTA 7

8 Conclusion Having a clean database ensures that a company s campaign is as successful as possible. Developing guidelines to keep data clean can prevent messy situations from occurring in the future. Over time, building and maintaining a clean database will help marketers reach customers more effectively. Companies need to make sure they clean up the data they have, and establish firm practices to make sure it stays neat, organized, and secure. STIRISTA 8

9 stirista.com 1100 NW Loop 410 Suite 290 San Antonio, TX Toll Free: FAX: STIRISTA 9

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