Technology giants including Apple, Microsoft, Dell and Sony have been revealed as the worst companies when it comes to keeping customer data up to date, according to a damning new study carried out by Millennium Data.
The report’s authors claim the tech industry’s reliance on digital media, such as email marketing, has influenced its attitude to data hygiene as the brand damage and expense associated with digital marketing is significantly less than that of direct marketing.
The survey, carried out biannually among UK data bureaux, investigates the priority different industries place on their customer data in terms of keeping it clean, up-to-date and in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
Some 70% of respondents believe that data hygiene has, over the last two years, become more of a priority for organisations. This is because of the brand damage that is now associated with poorly targeted marketing activity, for example direct mail sent to people that have died. Some 87% of consumers said that they would cease trading with a company which targeted a deceased family member. With 45 million pieces of deceased mail sent annually, this equates to billions in lost revenue each year, according to Millennium.
The retail industry is the most hygienic when it comes to customer data, making up about 20% of the bureaux customer base and being ranked by them at number one. Retailers, behind charities, are some of the most prolific direct mailers and consequently it pays for them to have data that is refreshed regularly in order to save money by sending mis-targeted mailings to people that have moved, passed away or no longer want to be contacted, the study claims.
The third sector was ranked at number two, making up 18% of the total hygiene universe. Charities cannot be seen to be profligate with their donors’ money and data hygiene practices are therefore an important part of the sector’s marketing strategy. Reducing the cost of mailing campaigns by keeping customer data up to date is essential.
The financial industry was ranked at number three, followed by travel and leisure, automotive and utilities. Healthcare and publishing and media were ranked seventh and eighth respectively.
4. Travel and Leisure
8. Publishing and media
Millennium Data product director Karen Pritchard said: “I am unsurprised that three quarters of our respondents believe that data hygiene has become more of a priority for clients over the last two years, particularly since customer data as an intangible corporate asset is growing in credibility. At last estimate customer data could be worth as much as £1.3bn on UK Plcs’ balance sheets.
“With the news full of ID theft and consumer backlash against bad marketing practices, it has never been so important for UK businesses to keep their customer data clean and healthy. With a decay rate of over 3% per month – as much as a third a year – it is crucial that companies refresh their customer data regularly.”
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