Obtaining valid data for your integrated marketing campaigns seems like it should be a straight forward step in scoping out a project. But assuming that the information you have is dependable can be a very risky mistake to make. I’ve seen a number of projects over the years get derailed by incomplete, or inaccurate data. There are a few basic steps that you and your clients can take to avoid this potential pitfall.
Start with a reputable source
The best source of data is usually obtained internally. If you have a solid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution in place such as Salesforce.com you already have a great tool for analytics and data mining at your disposal. But if you don’t have access to quality CRM, your next best bet is to farm out your data needs to a company that specializes in it.
Validate your lists
Once you’ve obtained your data a little more work up front can save you a lot of time, and costly development re-work. For example: if you’re doing a direct mail campaign, use the postal services validation NCOA (National Change of Address) software to validate that the addresses you’re sending to are valid.
If you’re sending an email blast, validating your data will allow you to save money on the number of bounced messages you get back (read: less waste).
Use Common Sense
I know this should go without saying, but make sure that the data you have on hand will work for the application you have in mind. If you’re trying to market to a specific demographic, make sure that the data you have is relevant to that target. And more importantly, check to make sure that the data you have is complete. Blank or incomplete records are just as bad as wrong information.
Please just keep in mind that the best marketing ideas can be brought down by small details. If you have bad data, no amount of analytics or implementation can resolve that. The old saying holds true in the digital age, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.