There are many different types of data that can prove useful to a given business, and as such, there are varying interpretations of the term "data quality." High-quality data might relate to knowing someone's spending habits - you need to understand what types of prices people buy, and in what price range. It might refer to communication methods. How do people keep in touch? What channels do they use?
It might also be a matter of location. For any business that seeks to secure customer loyalty, a key challenge is knowing where people are, what direction they're moving and where one needs to be in order to keep business going strong. In today's mobile-oriented era, people are constantly on the go and difficult to pin down, and clearer knowledge is a necessity for commercial success.
The art of "proximity marketing"
One of the most important uses for data in today's climate is understanding where people are located. According to Forbes, this is becoming known as "proximity marketing" - using people's physical locations to lend a greater level of precision to your marketing strategies. Merchandising executive Greg Petro, founder of technology company First Insight, says this is the wave of the future for marketers everywhere.
"The idea of proximity - the physical location of a product with respect to the consumer - involves a new dimension previously untapped given the limits of technology until recent years," Petro explained. "Sometimes called hyperlocal marketing, proximity marketing uses cellular technology to send marketing messages to mobile-device users who are in close vicinity to a business."
If you know where people are, there are countless benefits. You can send them offers, discounts and deals for establishments that are near them. You can recommend new businesses and brands to people who are moving. The more you know, the better you can fine-tune your approach.
The perils of poor data quality
Of course, for any of these efforts to work, you need to begin from a strong position with respect to data quality. If your location data is inaccurate, you're bound to get yourself in trouble.
A misspelled street name or a "Road" instead of an "Avenue" can lead you astray. One erroneous digit in a zip code can make all the difference. If an address is right, but it's become outdated since a person moved, that can be problematic too.
Location data is a major difference-maker in business, but bear in mind - high-quality data is the all-important first step.