The evolution of the customer lifecycle

December 17, 2013 by Erin Haselkorn

How many of us have been taught about the marketing funnel over the years? We have all learned about gaining initial interest, moving a prospect through a series of stages to eventually convert them into a customer. But, the rules are changing. Marketing today is rewriting the rules and focusing on the customer lifecycle.

The marketing funnel has transformed into a continuous engagement, which doesn’t just stop at a sale. Marketers now need to understand their customers, how to impress them and what to communicate to them, at what time and through what channel.

The key to gaining those intelligent continuous interactions is customer insight. In today’s world of numerous channels, marketers rely on data to better understand their consumer.

As companies take in an abundance of data across multiple systems and databases and at a more rapid rate than ever, it is important that they monitor data quality. Data insight is only as good as the base information contained within an organization’s database.

Unfortunately, marketers show a lack of confidence in their data. According to a recent Experian Data Quality survey, organizations on average believe a quarter of their customer and prospect data might be inaccurate in some way. That level of inaccuracy is primarily due to human error.

To improve upon data accuracy, marketers need to take several steps to eliminate human error.

  • Clean existing information – a lot of databases contain inaccurate or outdated information. Be sure to correct what basic errors you have, like a bad street address or an email formatting error, then drive operations to information when interacting with consumers.
  • Track data errors from campaigns – marketers have a great resource to check the accuracy of contact information, their campaigns. If you are not already tracking returned mail or email bounce rates, be sure to do so. Those can give you an idea of the quality of information contained in your database.
  • Put processes in place to prevent data entry errors – many individuals enter information through a variety of channels, allowing for a great deal of error that can occur. Put software in place to prevent unnecessary errors and ensure information is accurate upon entry.
  • Regularly run cleans on your database to remove duplicates – the marketing database frequently experiences duplicate entries as more information is appended from other data sources. Be sure to scrub the database regularly to consolidate records and ensure a single customer view.

Relevant insights and accurate information help marketers ensure better interactions with consumers. To find out more information on how you can improve your data hygiene, watch our webinar entitled ‘Building a data hygiene toolkit’.