Forget creative, contact data has the biggest impact

Royal Mail hails return of direct mailCreative directors might want to look away now; businesses reckon that up-to-date contact data has the single greatest impact on the response and conversion rates of their marketing campaigns, with creative execution way back in fourth spot.
That is the conclusion of a report from Royal Mail Data Services, the specialist data business of Royal Mail Group, which shows that quality of contact data was placed first in order of importance (75%) by survey respondents.
They ranked it higher than targeting and analysis (ranked second with 73%), campaign timing (70%) and personalisation (also 70%) which were both ranked third, and campaign creative, which often grabs the headlines of marketing news, is only ranked fourth (62%).
Despite this, UK companies more often use unvalidated data for business decision-making and marketing, than they use customer data which has been validated. Fewer than half (46%) of businesses automatically validate customer address data gathered via their websites and only 45% automatically validate customer address data collected through internal systems.
For 67% of UK firms, a postal-address is the most valuable piece of data they can collect for marketing purposes and the overwhelming majority (88%) cite their websites as the primary source for gathering this information.
In more than half of businesses (55%), responsibility for data strategy and collection sits with the marketing department. But for one in five businesses, sales or customer service control the collection of data.
Where customer service or sales take the lead in collecting data management, this exposes businesses to the risk that the data collected will be specific to the needs of those functions and not be suited to targeting customers based on their individual needs.
Around a third of UK businesses (29%) now say they have a central data management function. This is recognised as a mature, highly effective way to ensure data is captured in an actionable, sustainable manner. The number of businesses now claiming to have a central data management function signals that greater attention is being paid to the role of data, the report claims.
Royal Mail Data Services managing director Jim Conning said: “The simple truth is that marketers can’t convert customers they can’t reach. Our research reveals poor data quality remains the root cause of marketers’ struggle with campaign response and conversion rates.
“Marketers know that quality, up-to-date customer data is a prerequisite for campaigns to be effective. But if the business processes, including data management and validation, are not in place to ensure that data is accurate, permissioned and actionable then marketers will fall at the first hurdle.”

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