Bad data is wasted money, so I’m constantly amazed at the number of companies that do little to no authentication up front. When you do not validate customer information, you lose the opportunity to build a relationship past the first engagement. That is, quite often, where unreliable data starts.
To gain better information from your customers, create incentives based on what they want and need — and use those incentives to build a data-capture strategy focused on unique identifiers. Cellphone numbers make great unique identifiers, creating opportunities for real-time verification.
Many consumers have become accustomed to entering fake addresses or emails when signing up for rewards cards or discounts, but by using text messages to validate consumer information, retailers can gain authentic information immediately and then build out other data fields associated with the original purchase over time.
For example, if a customer buys online in response to a promotion sent via SMS, you have then verified that mobile number and captured at least one more reliable data point — a valid shipping address.
Marketers can continue to build out profiles for customers by developing routines that gradually merge new fields of data around the initial proven identifier.
Not knowing whether the data you have is legitimate is a slippery slope. While it is possible to retroactively sift through a database to identify what information is authentic and which is not, it can be a sophisticated process.
Marketers would be wise to find out where they are validating data and where they are not. From there, they can look to establish engagements that confirm customer information at each step, leading to better, more reliable data.
In this way, marketers can be sure that they are building trustworthy customer relationships.
Edward’s commentary was originally featured in Direct Marketing News’ eBook “Is Poor Data Quality Derailing Your Campaign’s Results?”.
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