Data is the lifeblood of most organisations, yet too many organisations neglect their data until it gets to a point where the data is almost useless. Data starts to get out of control when it’s not maintained regularly. Like dishes piling up in the sink, the database gets messier and messier until it just seems too hard to fix. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Managing your data effectively can be easier than you think and the rewards include reduced costs and increased sales.
Whether you care to admit it or not, your marketing database is riddled with old and useless data. You should be worried. Data decay is costing you money. Your direct marketing activities won’t generate sales if your database is littered with inaccurate information.
Data decay happens faster than you think. Try this simple exercise. Ask a room of business people to mark every word or number on their business card that’s changed in the last 12 months. New employees should highlight the entire card as all of their data changed the day they started. You’ll be alarmed by the number of changes that have occurred. A similar study was carried out in 2002 by John Coe, President & Founder The Sales & Marketing Institute. The results were staggering. An incredible “70.8 per cent had one or more changes in a 12-month period”.
I’m going to say this straight out – managing contact databases is hard, tedious work. Personally I’d rather paint my house with a toothbrush.
However, like most things that are hard work, the pay off is worth it. It’s a job that’s just got to be done. The cost of planning, creating and executing marketing campaigns to databases that are in a bad state of repair is too high to ignore. It’s not just the cost of running a campaign, it’s the opportunity cost of failing to reach the people who could or should be interested in what you have to tell them.
Managing marketing data is a nightmare scenario for most firms. Somehow a once-clean, valid database of names, job titles and company names becomes an unusable mess.
The problem is that poor data costs money. It costs money when mail is marked return-to-sender, when emails bounce or when the last remaining contact with an important prospect company just seems to disappear never to be replaced. The cost isn’t always design, print and postage (or email distribution). The real cost is the missed sales opportunities.