And then there was data hygiene

This week the US celebrates all things direct marketing at the DMA’s annual conference (#andTHEN16), this year held in LA.

Unsurprisingly data has been high on the speaker agenda with almost everyone making the point that not every piece of data is valuable, it’s what you do with it that counts! This is of course true and will become more so in Europe after the introduction of GDPR in 2018. However, it is also worth making point that when it comes to data it is sometimes what you don’t do that undermines its value.

The much quoted statistic that a customer database decays at a rate of two to three per cent per month is completely accurate and if an organisation fails to maintain its customer records by the end of the year a third of the data could be wrong. This is because people move house, change their phone numbers, alter their email addresses, pass away etc.  At a time when omnichannel marketing and single customer view are crucial for building customer relationships if the bedrock of these campaigns are flawed the error continues up through the food chain and can end up costing an organisation dear in both wasted marketing costs and brand damage.

Data hygiene is not at the sexy end of data science and analytics, so it is unlikely to take centre stage at &Then16 - although we have high hopes for Kobe Bryant later today – but just in case he doesn’t include it in his speech  we just wanted to remind delegates about the importance of data maintenance. Not every piece of data is valuable, but it can become incredibly costly if it isn’t well looked after.