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Roundup of June news stories

Rachel Wheeler Archive

As companies get deeper and deeper into their customer-centric initiatives, they find a need for good, clean data everywhere they look. When it comes to improving their marketing efforts to acquire new customers, or delivering better service to retain existing patrons, accurate information is always key.

On a steady basis, businesses everywhere are working to improve their efforts where data quality is concerned. Working with customer information is vital, and the cleaner your database is, the more effective you'll be at attracting and keeping customers.

June was a big month in this regard. Let's take a quick look back at the last 30 days and explore some of the most cutting-edge new ideas in the industry.

Working toward better database management
One key story this month: Companies everywhere are working on better strategies for managing their databases. They want to keep their customers' personal information both accurate and private. The "silo problem" is one that often impedes companies' organizational skills, so they're working to overcome it.

"Customer data silos are bad," Mike Gualtieri of Forrester Research told TechTarget. "We all know how it gets to that point: years of building requirements on top of requirements, the creation of business and technology stovepipes, and the lack of a clear customer data strategy."

Gualtieri noted that the silo problem is tough to fix, as it's been building for a long time, but companies can ameliorate the issue by overhauling workflow for greater efficiency.

Cleaning out the email list
Specifically, one area where data quality really matters is email. For companies that rely on direct marketing strategies for connecting with their customers, it's vital to have a good supply of accurate, up-to-date email addresses for valued customers. Biz Community emphasized that there are no shortcuts in this regard.

"Make sure your data is tailor-made and clean, and be wary of anyone wanting to give you a database of emails," warned Louise Robinson, sales director at CG Consulting. "Legitimate companies should be doing the delivery for you so that recipients will recognize the sender and you won't fall foul of spamming conventions."

Companies should exercise the utmost care with their contact lists, making sure to gather addresses they can really use.

Why validating phone numbers matters
Phone numbers are another vitally important category. Companies typically collect all sorts of numbers from their target consumers - home, work, cell, fax, you name it - and they need to exercise care with all of the above. They need to make sure all numbers are input correctly, labeled properly and kept up to date.

Headlines in June revealed that there are still some shortcomings in this area. Eli Portnoy, founder and general manager of Thinknear, told Mobile Marketing Watch that many companies today are still using data culled from mobile channels that lacks accurate location information. Better care with phone numbers is necessary to shore up this problem in the years ahead.

Striving for maximum ROI
When it comes to improving data quality, like with any business initiative, it's important for corporate leaders to have concrete plans in place for their investments to pay off. As always, the question is: Where's the ROI?

EPI-USE Systems Limited noted that unfortunately, it's common for companies to overextend themselves when it comes to improving data quality. The Standish Group referred to the problem as "migrate headaches" - when businesses put a lot of money and manpower into moving data from place to place, they risk spending a lot of resources for little reward.

This was a key issue in the news in June as well - in order to ensure that they get ROI from their data initiatives, they need to plan carefully and budget effectively.