Data Is for Life, Not Just for Christmas

December 19, 2014
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data-is-for-life

In 2013, UK households spent £22.3 billion on Christmas. This includes £599 per family, on average, spent purely on gifts. Clearly, there’s big money in this season, and every business is out for its slice of the pudding.

data-is-for-life

In 2013, UK households spent £22.3 billion on Christmas. This includes £599 per family, on average, spent purely on gifts. Clearly, there’s big money in this season, and every business is out for its slice of the pudding.

The data you collect this Christmas will fuel your efforts in the year to come, and the quality of that data will influence your successes and failures. As such, it makes sense to collect that data properly, nurture it correctly and store it responsibly.

As the years come and go, your data is certainly getting older, but are you getting any wiser? By next Christmas, almost one quarter of your database will be eroded unless you put a regime in place.

Defining Quality, and Consequences

We know data is of a good quality when it is fit for purpose. We need to have full confidence in it, and we need to be able to trust that data to support our profitability this Christmas and next.

We need the data to support our marketing campaigns, social media interactions, technical support conversations and sales activities. We need to be able to produce reports that tell us exactly how the business is performing, and precisely whom we are doing business with.

Data also needs to be retained in alignment with the law, and specifically, with the Data Protection Act. After a successful Christmas campaign, you have a responsibility to respect the data you’ve gathered and protect the privacy of its owners.

Left unattended and neglected, data quality will always get worse, and never better.

The consequences of neglect are severe. Gartner estimates that poor data quality costs organisations £9 million per year. Gartner also says that 33 per cent of Fortune 500 companies will soon reach crisis point. Its deadline for disaster? 2017. Just two years from now. These huge, currently successful businesses will be unable to trust their data, and unable to find the vast amounts of money needed to clean it fast. This is a serious and urgent consequence of complacency.

Integrity Starts Today

As your business drives conversions this Christmas, remember the neglected data that your business has collected behind the scenes. Like the dogs abandoned at Christmas – the ones that inspired this blog’s headline – it’s all too easy to forget about data quality in the festive rush.

Data is not just for Christmas, your business needs it all year round, and best practice should be your New Year’s resolution.  Data must be cleansed, deduplicated, validated, standardised and enhanced. It must be free from corruption, stored securely and monitored for inaccuracies and flaws. Data quality measures must be implemented and continued throughout the next 12 months.

Unless you learn from the past, you are doomed to repeat your mistakes. Even the best New Year marketing strategy will eventually fall flat if data doesn’t support solid decision-making.  Furthermore, it will be pointless investing time and money in a customer relationship management (CRM) system if the data it contains is already “dog tired”.

Remember – Data is For Life, Not Just for Christmas!