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The true cost of bad data … Royal Mail Data Services

Royal Mail Data Services Reports that Poor-Quality Customer Data Continues to Impede UK Brands’ Marketing Performance

As more marketers work to produce better ROIs against tighter budgets, in 2017 new research predicts that the true costs of poor-quality customer data are about to hit home for major UK brands.

New research from Royal Mail Data Services into the use and management of customer data reveals that UK organisations estimate poor-quality customer data is costing them an average of six per cent of their annual revenues. So how can marketers and data experts finally clean up their customer data to improve overall operational efficiency and campaign effectiveness?

To learn more, download Royal Mail Data Services’ full research findings here.

Today’s marketers rely on good-quality contact data above all else to ensure the success of a campaign’s performance, according to the research. Yet despite reporting data quality as having the biggest impact on campaign response and conversion rates, nearly all marketers surveyed (91.4 per cent) say that their organisations are still plagued with data-quality issues. The myth that resolving data quality is a one-time fix is partially to blame.

With campaigns being run using inaccurate or out-of-date customer contact data, it is no surprise that survey findings show UK brands lose one in five customers each year on average, a trend that has been on the rise since 2014. More than half of marketers (52 per cent) say their biggest struggle is to acquire the new customers necessary to fill the “leaky bucket” of lost customers.

Against this backdrop, marketers are also bracing themselves to comply with the re-permissioning requirements of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by May 2018. Nearly three in five marketers (58 per cent) surveyed have concerns over the compliance of their in-house customer data, and a similar number fear using third-party data because they don’t trust that it will comply with the new, tougher customer data standards.

According to Jim Conning, Managing Director of Royal Mail Data Services, “The research shows that today marketers take a dim view of the state of their customer data, and it’s clear that in 2017 marketers must make big changes to improve campaign success through better data management.

The good news is that new data regulations give marketers a mandate to educate leaders on their current data challenges and make the necessary investments to overcome them once and for all.”

Solving the data-quality conundrum starts with recognising the proliferation of sources that capture a variety of customer data, which needs to be permissioned, validated, cleansed and managed. The research from Royal Mail Data Services shows that digital marketing continues to lead in data capture, with websites (86.9 per cent) and mobile web (48.5 per cent) offering daily influxes of new customer information. Transactional data and direct customer contact continue to be important data sources, with 64.6 per cent of organisations capturing data from direct sales, while face-to-face (48.5 per cent) and contact centres (45 per cent) are popular sources for data that comes with first-party consent.

With such a range of active data sources, responsibility for data management is often shared across multiple functions without consistent data collection processes. While marketing leads in setting data strategy and collection for most companies (53.5 per cent and 49.5 per cent, respectively), CRM functions, customer service, sales and e-commerce often collect customer data as well. For some organisations, centralised data management operations or IT take on this role (27.7 per cent and 22.8 per cent, respectively).

As businesses prepare for stricter compliance and re-permissioning rules, every function that collects customer data must also work with their legal and compliance teams, who manage data privacy and permissions in nearly half of surveyed organisations (44.6 per cent). With so many channels capturing customer data, organisations are crying out for a single definition of what data to collect and validate, as well as the back-end data integration tools to ensure quality and compliance.

Conning believes that marketers need help build clear internal data management structures. “In the three years since Royal Mail Data Services first conducted this research, we have seen a steady rise in the number of marketers reporting problems with incomplete, out-of-date or duplicate data.

However, today 65 per cent of organisations cleanse their customer data just once a year, have no process in place at all, or simply don’t know how often their data is cleansed.“With more than seven in 10 organisations starting their data-quality journeys with incomplete, inaccurate or out-of-date customer data, marketers will find support from working with a trusted partner to validate their existing customer data, and then creating a universal process for automatically validating all incoming data at the point of capture.

To keep customer information accurate and permissioned over the long term, organisations can turn to compliant and permissioned third-party customer contact data to keep data up to date as customer information changes. Finally, organisations must put re-permissioning strategies in place now to ensure GDPR compliance ahead of the May 2018 deadline.”

The report makes it clear that while there is no quick fix for solving historic, persistent data-quality problems, with professional guidance and consistent commitment across the business, 2017 can be the year organisations overcome the issues of poor-quality customer contact data once and for all.

To learn more, download Royal Mail Data Services’ full research findings here.