Data growth’s profound impact on marketing success

Experian Marketing Services’ 2014 Digital Marketer Report hits the virtual newsstands in a few weeks and we wanted to share another excerpt as a preview. Read on to learn how Big Data can both provide great opportunities and also seriously confound marketers as they strive to deliver effective campaigns.

From mass media planning to one-to-one marketing (and everywhere in between), data has long been used to help marketers make more intelligent decisions. What is changing so dramatically today, and thus creating massive disruption, is the rapidly growing quantity of data, particularly across digital channels. While the scale and unstructured nature, e.g., Tweets, posts, reviews, of new data sources can be daunting, “Big Data” is opening up new avenues for marketers to tackle some of their toughest challenges.

Data is the cornerstone of any cross-channel marketing practice. It is the informational wellspring from which the marketing organization derives its understanding of its customers’ thoughts, behaviors and intent. Simply put: the greater the volume and variety of data available to marketers, the more detailed their understanding of the customer. To start, a marketer should take inventory of the quantity, quality and variety of data currently collected as well as the kinds of data that can be used to form a more complete picture of his or her customers — not just existing customers, but the ideal marketing persona. Along those same lines, third-party data can also be used to augment existing channel-generated data.

The integrity and cleanliness of customer data is of critical importance to the success of any cross-channel marketing program. Unfortunately, incomplete or incorrect customer data or multiple (and competing) versions of the same customer are all too common for brands that support multiple-channel applications.

Further muddying these waters is the growing complexity of customer data combined with the need to integrate third-party POS, CRM and other data sources into the same pool. Marketers need the ability to consolidate and clean their customer data to create a single, comprehensive customer view. Without this, organizations lack the depth of insight and accessibility to information that is required to gain a true understanding of the customer.

So it’s a given that data quality is essential to achieving a single customer view. Thirty-four percent of companies maintain accurate data for this purpose, according to a recent Experian Data Quality study. However, organizations fall short when it comes to data accuracy; respondents cited that on average a quarter of their data is wrong. That level of inaccuracy causes wasted revenue, problems with loyalty and customer engagement programs, as well as issues in generating business intelligence.

The biggest cause of inaccurate data is human error. With data coming in from so many different sources and moving through so many different hands, it is not surprising that human error is the leading cause of inaccuracies. And while errors occur across all channels, those entered through the organization’s Website and within the call center are most prevalent.

There are a number of steps a company can take to help eradicate bad data, including consolidating data sources and improving searching technologies. To read more about Big Data challenges – and learn some tangible solutions – pre-order the 2014 Digital Marketer Report today.