THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA IN MARKETING
“Without a systematic way to start and keep data clean, bad data will happen.” — Donato Diorio Timing is important. Creativity is important. But what’s the be-all and end-all? Data. Always has been and always will be. If you are not targeting the right people at the right time, you are wasting your valuable marketing budget. It is of the utmost importance to maintain a strong and clean database to ensure that your marketing dollars are not being wasted on sending mail to the wrong people or place and those who are not in the buying cycle due to inaccurate, outdated or bad data. We are in an era where all marketing is data-driven — direct or not. Bad data kills marketing effectiveness. In return, good data gives your marketing efforts a higher effectiveness, thus ensuring a higher ROI. So, what can you do to ensure your data is the cleanest it can be? Simple: Cleanse. De-Dupe. Append. Repeat. That’s it. When you have a strong database, you are ensuring you are targeting the right customers in the right buying cycle.
With all this talk about data, we need to also discuss ensuring compliance and safeguarding customers’ personal information — a crucial compliance issue. Per the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the 1999 Gramm-LeachBliley (GLB) Act — a federal law — requires that companies and organizations take steps to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer data. To ensure and maintain compliance with the GLB Act, companies and organizations must take steps to safeguard customer data. Necessary steps to maintain compliance include: • Designate the employee or employees to coordinate the safeguards. • Identify and assess the risks to customer information in each relevant area of the company’s operation, and evaluate the effectiveness of current safeguards for controlling these risks. • Design a safeguards program, and detail the plans to monitor it. • Select appropriate service providers and require them (by contract) to implement the
safeguards. • Evaluate the program and explain adjustments in light of changes to its business arrangements or the results of its security tests. Going a step further, you will need to have an FTC compliance letter between your service provider and your client. This letter simply and clearly states that you are in compliance with the GLB Act and the FTC’s implementation regulations. Lastly, before you allow a direct mail or any other marketing company access to your data, ask to see their cyber-liability policy. Any reputable company will have insurance covering the security of your data of at least $1 million. There you have it. If you follow these simple best practices for protecting, de-duping and appending your data, you will not only ensure compliance, but also see a much higher ROI and utilize your marketing budget in the most effective way possible.
Alex Woodward is the senior vice president of The Ross Companies. He can be contacted at 866.618.8257, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.