Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Down in the Data Dumps

Data drives marketing. Without good data you got nuthin’. So having good, clean data is vital to having great results from your marketing. Strange isn’t it, then, that so many people spend so little effort to clean their data.

And yes, I’m talking to you. Lest you get cocky about how good your data is, consider these abysmal statistics:
  • 23.6% of all mail sent in the US is addressed inaccurately (USPS). At Paul&Partners we routinely NCOA our client’s data (ie run it against the National Change of Address databank). It’s amazing how much can go so terribly wrong in three little lines. Yet anyone who has ever had an NCOA knows there are 49 reasons why an address can fail. Failure should not be an option when a fix is so cheap and easy.
  • And it isn’t getting better. The quality of US addresses decline by 17% each year (USPS). So you don’t learn from your mistakes, huh? You keep sending out marketing materials to bad lists. That’s the classic definition of insanity: Doing the same thing and hoping for different results. ‘Nuf said.
  • Internal duplication rates of up to 20% are not uncommon (Dun & Bradstreet). Unless you’re as wealthy as Croesus, sending out duplicate messages is just plain stupid. Assuming you’ve got a limited marketing budget, wouldn’t you want to send your message to as many people as possible? Why irritate one person with two messages when you can irritate two people with your message? The very thought makes me irritable, too.
  • 42% of businesses make no effort to measure data quality (the Information Difference). 42% of you are staking your future on what is effectively a blind data date. You don’t ask and you can’t tell. Just think how much higher your ROI could be if you were approaching someone who wanted and needed what you had to offer. It’s simply common sense. But as someone wisely said, common sense is so uncommon.
  • US businesses waste more than $600 billion each year due to defective data. (TDWI)
    Let me count the ways: wasted postage, wasted printing, wasted labor, wasted click charges, wasted deployment fees. Squandered opportunity, over and over again. My Puritanical ancestors are spinning in their simple pine boxes.
C’mon guys. Get with the program! Reclaim your share of that $600 billion. No matter what vehicle you are using to distribute your marketing materials—whether by mail or by electrons—if it’s not going to the right people, you are wasting money. Your money.

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