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The value of data driven marketing

I and sixty other businesses attended the splendid Woodland Grange Conference Centre, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, for a presentation entitled ‘Understanding the Value of Data Driven Marketing’. By demonstrating the extent of what can be accomplished with reliable data, both in terms of sourcing lists (acquisition) and owned data, SME’s should be encouraged to see data in a way most may have not viewed it before. As a Fellow of the CIM and Chartered Marketer myself as well as being someone who has worked extensively in the areas of data management (both acquisition and retention), profiling and data hygiene, I can testify to how much time, effort and money is invested in this discipline. Major brands There's value in your datasuch as Coca Cola, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) and Motorola, companies who have complex data repositories link transactional information and marketing data together. These two often disparate tools, when linked through marketing information systems, are ‘mined’ to assist the marketing planners in identifying trends, niches and areas for commercial exploitation.

However, this is wildly different from the systems and processes operated by most SME’s who, quite simply, don’t have the same financial muscle to invest in software and dedicated staff. Managing data for them just becomes another cost, because it is difficult to demonstrate clear returns. However, I am fortunate with my background to have ‘a foot in both camps’. From 1986 to 2003 I worked with several SME’s in the field of data management, each adopted a strong commitment to managing customer data.

In taking a much more positive attitude towards eradicating errors, this not only helped to save the client money, it also helped that client position themselves in a much more professional and effective manner. Take for example my own attitude towards businesses who fail to get even the most rudimentary element correct when they contact me and misspell my surname, or continue to display my business as an LLP (we’ve been incorporated since 2004!). If they can’t afford me the courtesy of getting this right, then how can they expect to get our relationship off on the right foot? By making these simple errors they do me a disservice making it much harder to sell to me. If I take this view then surely your customers might also?

It therefore not only makes financial sense to eradicate errors in your data, it also helps to limit any damage to the brand and this, it could be argued, carries more kudos to a small business owner  who is inextricably linked by personality to his business, than it does to a major corporate.

If you are a B2C company, removing: deceased records, changes of address, or incorporating changes to the postcode regardless of whether these have been self-inflicted or imposed by the Royal Mail, Mailing Preference Service (MPS) suppressions even building and using your own suppression file, not only makes financial sense, but improves the likelihood of a better ROI. It should also form part of a company’s unofficial ‘duty of care’ to protect its customers and potential customers from your company’s emotional impact.

Although the size of the financial benefit may not be so significant in B2B organisations, any savings of resources, both financial and environmental can only be positive.  In fact the professional body to which I belong states the definition of marketing as being ‘the management process which identifies, anticipates and satisfies customer requirements efficiently and profitably’. Therefore delivering messages in this way is not only good for the consumer, it is good for the company, its shareholders and the environment simultaneously.

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