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In a future of open data and regulation, data quality presents its own challenges and opportunities

From a data quality perspective 2017 looks set to be a challenging year with organisations across the board striving to tackle the challenges of Open Data and the pressures of new regulation.

Accurate and effective marketing remains reliant on the quality of the data you have at your disposal. In fact, it’s more critical than ever before as consumers are now more demanding, less forgiving and even more empowered. As a further complication, the shift of Open Data from the niche to the mainstream raises new challenges which are in the process of transforming the marketplace.

Every organisation needs to consider how they manage data and the policies and processes that impact data. Depending of course on the kinds of data they collect, hold and use. More businesses will look to use open data as a differentiator; adding new attributes to derive insight and intelligence on top of their existing base. The next step on this journey is releasing data openly to foster innovation, new partnerships and social benefits. However, in order to be useful, let alone effective, the quality of any data utilised, harvested or shared must be assured.

Because of this, open data publishers will be put under increasing pressure over the next 12 months to work with users to ensure data is of a high quality, thus maximising the ROI of releasing it. When you consider this alongside the requirements of GDPR it’s clear that brands need to call their processes into question, not only to ensure best practice, but to make the most of what is a huge opportunity.

As a marketer you need to review the wider context of data both within and outside your business. What data could you share safely to improve efficiency or help your customers and partners? Could you start looking at new sources of location or enhancement data to help you with your regulatory and business needs such as risk, value creation or revenue-assurance?

Having said this, with consumer empowerment on the rise as well as an increased focus on quality data it is perhaps logical, even likely that databases will get smaller. While this may seem like a marketer’s worst nightmare it should be viewed as a good thing. The requirements of opt-ins, the removal of duplicates, the creation of golden records and the proactive management of data held will result in more accurate and consistent CRM capabilities. Marketing needs to embrace this data evolution, not resist it; good data is better than big data.

Finally, the marketing industry should plan for the next billion to come online. What can we do to serve them in areas where the web may not be at premium speeds, where mobile devices are their only access points, where English is not their first language and where addresses may not exist? Thinking in this way could create unique opportunities in both existing and new markets previously thought of as unreachable, or perhaps just too hard to reach.

If an organisation can celebrate two things at the end of 2017 they will be that their data and business is prepared for GDPR and that they are using their data to contribute to a more open yet secure society.

Download our full #7for17 report here to read our other predictions for 2017.

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