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  • Helen Pritchett

Taking Data Seriously

Customer data is the ultimate fuel that runs your business but are you taking data seriously? Data informs marketers about their customers, where they can find them, what they like to buy, when they might be ready to buy, what they want to hear, when is the best time to talk to them and much more. Therefore, getting data right is fundamental and the systems that manage these preferences are vital for businesses. Combine intelligent data with a consent and preference management strategy and your chances of success get better and better. But, please note, this isn’t simply another GDPR compliance exercise, this is about making sure your data works for you and that your marketing strategy adheres to basic principles that keep you compliant and your customers safe and happy.

Why? Because, as an industry we need to be clear that we are taking data seriously. Data matters and consent is crucial.

A recent survey by the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) surveyed data and marketing professionals and their estimate is that for every £1 spent on consent and preference management systems, their business receive an average of £40.55 in return. So, not only is it good practice, taking data seriously and having a robust and open consent and preference management strategy is also good for business.

Moreover, the study found that businesses with preference management systems in place are more likely to report positive increases in the following areas:

  • Engagement rates – up 59%

  • Sales/business revenue – up 53%

  • Customer database size – up 52%

  • Opt-in rates/sign-ups – up 47%

There’s the proof that consent and preference management systems work. But, given what the metrics say, the DMA suggests marketers need to do more than just be GDPR compliant. Going the extra mile with customers data is what really makes the difference between a ‘brand’ and a ‘successful brand’. Marketers should focus on turning customers into fans and developing brand advocates. This will create and nurture brand loyalty for the long term. Furthermore, data management systems allow brands to offer more personalised experiences and increased transparency, two key factors in fostering long-term customer loyalty and trust.

Consent is not just a word

In the run up to the GDPR coming into law, there was a rush to ensure consent was obtained for marketing purposes. Both consent and legitimate interest are valid legal bases for processing customer data under the legislation and the DMA survey illustrates that most business are compliant. 53% of those surveyed are using consent as their primary legal basis for processing customer data, with a further 36% relying on legitimate interest.

What is worrying is that one in ten responded that they did not know what legal basis they were using, and even more concerning is that 2% report using no legal basis at all!

Inaccurate or Invalid Data

When asked to estimate the proportion of their company’s customer data that might be inaccurate or invalid, 64% of marketers suggested this to be an average of 10%. Data source, customer error and employee error are the most significant factors in data inaccuracy, alongside outdated databases which lack regular cleansing. This is where ensuring your database is clean and lean is vital.

A service like PureData can do just this. PureData delivers clean and intelligent B2B marketing data for clients that carry out external digital content syndication via web forms. The service eliminates ‘mickey mouse’ form fills to avoid compliance issues and injects only the most pure and accurate B2B data to your database.

If data is the lifeblood of your business here are some tips on data privacy from the DMA, which you might want to subsume into your strategy.

  • Privacy by Design – when initiating new technology or devising new strategies, ensure you consider customer privacy needs from the outset

  • A brand led privacy communications campaign – develop a clear and easy to understand privacy communications campaign; your brand proposition should be easy to understand and to expedite

  • Data strategy – assess what data you really need to make a difference to sales. For example, have you checked the volumes of data you actually need or whether you really need all the cookie data that is collected?

  • Making data privacy part of your business culture and values – behaving ethically and treating customers well will reap huge benefits in terms of enhanced trust and increased sales

If you’re taking data seriously, you’ll already be going way beyond simple compliance with legal requirements, such as the GDPR. If you mean business, you’ll have the right data management processes and systems in place which will help you gain the maximum value for and from your customer data. By taking care of data and treating it with respect you will build customer trust and derive ever more value from it.


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