While most businesses now understand how data can deliver a better, more personalised, customer experience, many also express angst about the growing volume of information they’re confronted with. When tackling this ‘infobesity’ problem it’s critical that organisations ensure they are dealing with accurate data, information which is ‘fit for purpose’. It is impossible to generate meaningful insights if you have poor quality data.
According to our 2018 Experian Digital Marketer Report, 45% of marketers stated that their current customer data is ‘incomplete or of poor quality’. This is a worryingly high proportion of businesses that are relying on inaccurate, and therefore ineffective, data. This is even more concerning when you consider that most data-reliant teams and processes are only as effective as the data that is supplied to them.
So how do you ensure your customer data is, and remains, great? An initial data cleanse will get the customer data you already hold back up to a good standard. Then, you need to ensure any new data coming in is accurate by implementing contact validation tools at the point of capture.
Lastly, you need to keep your customer data relevant. Data decays and new insights become available, so it’s vital that organisations have the functions in place to preserve an accurate and up to date view of data in a way that fits into business-as-usual processes. By making data quality a priority you can nurture long-term relationships with your customers and ensure you’re targeting the right people with the right offers.
A good source of data is only the beginning: having the means to turn this into valuable insight, and acting on it, is at least as important. The mistake is often in trying to run before you can walk. Insight can’t just be conjured up from data alone, it needs deep contextual knowledge in understanding how and when each piece of data should be considered. This requires analytical skill, but more importantly it requires business experience and judgment.
Data can be aggregated into information quite easily; but turning information into knowledge, and knowledge into insight, requires a deep understanding of the business context, and how this insight can help organisations achieve their business goals.
Data quality matters, but what you do with that data is equally as important. That’s the key to staying competitive, leveraging rich data-sets to get a deeper, more accurate, understanding of your customers. The organisations that succeed are those that can make sense of the data, spotting the opportunities and assessing ideas quickly. Getting this right will only maximise your chances of success.
Alastair Bulger is strategic development director at Experian