Becoming data ready

Tidying your data for direct marketing automation

You’ve probably heard the adage information is power. If you’re like me, you would have brushed it off as hyperbole but in our current world of technology and automation information really is power. To connect with customers in a personal way brands and businesses need accurate information. From a direct marketing perspective accurate information results in having the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Having accurate information on customers always begins with sound data.

There are various tips and tricks as to how you should go about tidying up your data. We’ll mention a few of these as we go along, but the most important thing is to start like you mean to go on.

1.       Create a data plan

Identify where your data is going to come from. Most of us treat data as an added bonus – something we find ourselves owning but we don’t know where it came from. If you don’t know where your data comes from you have no chance of using it to engage with your customers. The two ways to source data are to purchase it or gather it.

2.       Be clear about your purpose

Why are you gathering data in the first place? Data can only be used for the purpose you have gathered it for. If you’re unclear how you are going to use the data you gather, your customer isn’t going to want to give it to you.

3.       Communicate your purpose with your customer

You might understand why you are collecting data on your customers but if your customer doesn’t understand then you’re bound to have troubles. If your customer doesn’t know why you’re collecting data on them then you can’t do it. Simple.

4.       Get rid of the question marks

We all have data hidden away in a database that we have questions marks around. ‘Did they really agree to our weekly email blast?’ If you’re unsure then just get rid of it. Uncertainty around data leads to uncertainty around what you can and can’t do with it.

5.       Store your data securely

Data storage and data security go together. Your database becomes your central point for all automated marketing activity. There are plenty of database options that allow for safe storage of your data. Your choice of database will impact your ability to automate your direct marketing activities so find a database system that will enhance your direct marketing rather than create road blocks in the future.

Becoming data ready is the first step in a multi-channel marketing approach. Once your data is accurate you’ll be able to turn your data into information on your customers.