Measuring The Impact Of Poor Data Cleansing On Business Success

Impact Of Poor Data Cleansing

Most businesses have a database of customer data that varies in size and complexity depending on the type of products sold and markets targeted. Therefore, every business that has customers and prospects should be aware that the information they hold is, like all of us, getting older and more decrepit every day.

In fact, business information (including contact information, the address details and phone numbers) can change at a rate of more than 25% every year. So if you don’t implement measures to track changes to your database, what was once a valuable asset could in fact start costing your business money.

The ever-changing world of business data 
In the last 12 months, over 170,000 UK businesses have either ceased trading or closed their premises*.  How many of these businesses do you think could be in your database, costing you money in returned mail or wasted phone calls?
Making contact with businesses that have ceased trading is clearly a waste of time and money, and may result in de-motivated and ineffective sales staff. There is also the very real risk of damaging the reputation of your business over time, with hostile reactions from prospects receiving misdirected communications.
Large organisations in particular face many challenges when it comes to keeping their business data clean, as it is often compiled from many different business areas, each using their own systems. This often leads to unavoidable data quality issues which must be regularly addressed.

Measuring the impact of poor data hygiene
There is no question that the quality of a company’s data can have a significant effect on business performance – from sales and marketing, through to fulfilment and invoicing.
It is possible to feel the impact across the entire business – so brand perception, productivity and revenue may all be impacted. Of course, if the data is good quality, these can all be impacted positively.  But by the same equation, if the quality of the data is poor, it is likely to have a negative impact.
All things considered though, you cannot afford to ignore anything that could negatively impact the revenue of your business.

So what are the positive impacts?
Clean and accurate customer and prospect data is essential for any sales, marketing and customer management strategy.  In addition, clean data has the following positive benefits:

  • Cost savings – reduced mailing wastage and mailing costs.
  • Improved customer interaction – less customer complaints and improved brand image.
  • Enhanced decision making – based on improved intelligence from better rates of appending additional information to current data.
  • Better marketing response rates – improved return of investment, reduced costs from waste.
  • Happier and more effective sales teams – improved revenues!
  • Increased focus – segmenting your database to identify the most valuable key targets, so the focus is directed in the most impactful way.
  • Improved return on investment – by focusing the right activity at the right audience at the right time.

Regularly maintaining and cleaning its data means a business can ensure the effort and expense invested in their company brand, promotional material and sales teams is supported by up-to-date and reliable information.

Problem areas that can have a negative impact
Duplicate records – it’s essential to identify and remove duplicate records to ensure any communication is directed correctly and not sent multiple times to the same contact. Duplicates are expensive and irritate customers and prospects, plus making contact multiple times doesn’t make a business look very professional.

Inaccurate records – are all the business details you hold still ‘active’? Or have some ceased trading or changed address?  Are the contact details still up to date and the telephone details still accurate?  This level of care over data hygiene is essential to a business that wants to make contact with current customers and also target prospects based on the intelligence they have on existing clients.

Missing information – Successfully adding intelligence to the business details you have is only really viable if the original record is accurate. It’s important to improve the insight that a business has on their clients by adding missing information. Consequently, this enhances targeting and therefore improves conversion and sales success.

To conclude
The impact of poor data cleansing on business success is potentially huge. This is because key decisions that affect every aspect of the business could be made based on the foundation of inaccurate customer information. And that’s before you consider the wasted time and money associated with making contact with businesses that are no longer trading and contacts that have moved on.

Therefore, poor data cleansing can lead to miscommunication, a waste of time and money, customer dissatisfaction, brand erosion – well, the list goes on, but I think you probably get the picture. So making sure the data you have on clients and prospects is regularly maintained, cleaned and when required enhanced makes perfect business sense.

*Source: Market Location

The Importance of Integrated Marketing for Small Businesses

Integrated Marketing Small Businesses

For many businesses spending on marketing and advertising can seem like a gamble when budgets are tight. This month Paul Cross, Head of Retail at Market Location, looks at how an integrated marketing campaign can benefit small businesses and their budgets.

The arrival of the digital age has meant that it is easier for businesses to measure the impact of their marketing campaigns and this has meant that return on investment has become a crucial metric for marketing performance, particularly for smaller businesses.

However, integrating marketing efforts can increase the likelihood of a positive return on investment.

“Conducting an integrated direct marketing campaign can be as simple as following up your direct mailing with a courtesy call to check the information was received,” according to Paul Cross, Head of Retail at Market Location.

Although a lot of time is devoted to using technology to improve our marketing Mr Cross reminds small businesses not to underestimate the impact that personal contact can have when it comes to winning new clients.

Before you decide which marketing channels to integrate, some time should be spent discovering which channels work best for your business. Trialling and tracking the effectiveness of different channels will show you where your marketing is providing the best return on investment – focus on these areas and prioritise them.

Of course cost is always a factor in the process, for example implementing a direct mail campaign is more expensive than email, and some businesses may be drawn to focusing their marketing in one tried and tested channel.

However, Mr Cross believes that “by investing in the channels that work cost effectively together to generate a positive return on investment, a business will not lose out.”

It also appears that more and more businesses are now seeing the value in combining their offline and online advertising with many looking at their website and its content as a key part of their strategy.

“A professional website is an essential marketing tool for any business, no matter how small and video can be used effectively to help increase search engine rankings,” attests Mr Cross.

Businesses that are interested in developing integrated marketing campaigns may wish to enlist the help of Market Location which has a number of product offerings that have been specifically developed for this kind of marketing.

Those thinking of kick-starting an integrated campaign should first consider using an integrated business data list. Mr Cross recommends the Business Search PRO online business database from Market Location because it “is unique in that it enables you to be able to customise your business data list for either a direct mail or telemarketing campaign”.

The Head of Retail sees this as an easy way of compiling an integrated data list and suggests customers send their direct mail campaign first to warm their prospects up, and then follow this up with a call.

As mentioned earlier, email is a very powerful marketing tool and Market Location provides businesses with an effective email marketing solution.

With its bespoke email broadcast tool, Market Location can email Senior Decision Makers and then provide businesses with the offline data for a targeted follow-up call.

Businesses will be able to tell from the data which recipients opened and clicked on the email campaign, and see which recipients didn’t open the email at all allowing them to build a profile of potential leads.

Once up and running, businesses need to measure and improve on the impact their integrated campaigns are having because it is essential you understand the value it brings to your business.

“Use campaign specific phone numbers, URL’s and quoting codes on your communication pieces to track the number of leads generated by each campaign and channel”, advises Mr Cross.

Email Newsletters Need To Be Part of a Wider Strategy

B2B Email Marketing Stratergy

Return on investment is the key driver of email newsletters. They have been doing the rounds since internet access became mainstream and businesses are always quick to champion them.

Once you get contacts on your business data list onto your subscriber list you are making progress. Email newsletter subscribers are loyal, engaged and more likely to listen to what you have to say than contacts garnered via other marketing channels.

While email newsletters have a much narrower focus, they benefit from their targeted nature, which is why open rates and response rates are so high while unsubscribe rates are relatively low.

49 per cent of email marketers cite ROI as a reason for email newsletters

This figure was shouted about in MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing Benchmark Guide and shows that popular opinion in the business to business marketing world is that email newsletters are still hugely successful.

If you delve deeper, the stats get more interesting. People spend a substantial amount of time digesting email newsletters – almost a minute per message they receive.

Only usability issues, it seems, can hold email newsletters back – or perhaps poor email targeting. However, it is no longer possible to use email newsletters in isolation. Businesses need to engage potential clients using a whole host of channels if they are to remain competitive.

Getting the marketing mix right

  • Integrated campaigns can boost results by as much as 50 per cent
  • An online/offline marketing mix can boost online by 62 per cent

These stats are from MarketPath – a leader in the industry. They show that on its own email can be effective, but mix it with a spread of other strategies and success rates will improve markedly. That is not to say that you should swing the other way and dramatically reduce your email newsletter output, however.

It is going to be a strong year for the channel if the UK Email Marketing Benchmark Survey is anything to go by, but linking it deftly with other initiatives will pay dividends in the long run.

How best to use email in your wider strategy

This may take a rethink of your current email marketing strategy. Integration does not simply mean carry on doing what you are doing with online and start an offline campaign. You need to mesh the two and make sure that they support each other.

To do this most effectively, you will need to set some clear goals for your online strategy before complementing it with offline material – such as direct mail. To do this, you need to:

  • Be objective
  • Include content that is not about your company
  • Stick with it (brand loyalty takes time to garner)

Once your email newsletters – and their content – are clearly defined you can start distributing them over different channels and drawing links between them and other content on the web.  After this, it is a small leap to create an all-encompassing campaign that has considerably more depth – and reach – than a one-off mailshot.

Backward engineering your campaigns

Not everything starts with email, however. Businesses often have a number of other channels at their disposal and use them regularly. So, it makes sense to link promotions on these other channels back to your email newsletter, just as you would refer to your other content and promotions in a weekly or monthly email roundup.
One of the key benefits of email marketing is loyalty. Once you get subscribers on board, they will stick by you. So pushing potential clients toward your email newsletters with other promotions – including direct mail – makes perfect sense.