One area where businesses continue to see significant budgetary waste is around inaccurate contact data - that's why address verification software is so important.
Of course your company doesn't do that. No reason at all for you to be reading this, right?
In August 2010, Experian QAS conducted a survey to better understand contact data perceptions, cleansing practices and accuracy levels. The report, "The Impact of Contact Data Quality," does a good job reviewing current thoughts on contact data quality and gives quality advice on how to clean and maintain company database. According to the survey, "nearly two out of three businesses find that between five and thirty percent of their marketing budget is wasted annually as a result of bad data."
Excerpts on six best practices for cleaning and maintaining your database:
Understand Your Database. In order to implement a data quality strategy, organizations need to first understand common errors within their database. Review contact data to determine common errors within the data, as each business has its own set of challenges. While the survey revealed that incomplete or missing information is common, a business may see records that are consistently missing area codes or secondary address information.
Officials of Joyent have recently put together a study titled "Performance and Scale in Cloud Computing" where they discuss, among other things, misconceptions concerning cloud computing performance.
In a typical corporate network data center, they says, "Servers, storage, and network switches perform together to deliver data and applications to network users." Under this IT scenario, according to Joyent officials, applications "must have adequate CPU and memory to perform, data must have sufficient disk space, and users must have appropriate bandwidth to access the data and applications."
Whenever IT administrators experience performance issues under this scenario, they usually resolve issues in the following way:
Poor application performance or application hosting hang-ups.
Usually, Joyent officials say, "the application is starved for RAM or CPU cycles, and faster processors or more RAM is added."
You've heard of Ciena, a seller of communication network infrastructure, associated software, and professional services. They wanted to drive better performance and alignment across its sales and marketing organizations.
To make it work, sales and marketing relied on seven different systems to manage lead conversion, sales assets, customer data, forecasts and other activities. Marketing lacked the data to make informed decisions based on which campaigns generated the best leads and produced the greatest return. Not a great situation.
Plus the company needed to track all of its customer touch points to cultivate leads and plan efforts, and sales reps had difficulty finding relevant materials in a traditional document management system. Marketing and product management had no insight into which tools and content were used or deemed valuable by the field.
So Ciena wanted a single, easy-to-use platform that sales and marketing alike would embrace, and to that end deployed Salesforce CRM Sales and Marketing to 180 users to consolidate all global campaigns and deliver leads consistently to sales on one platform.
Industry observer Barbara Thau recently reported on Pier 1 using a new Infor CRM tool to ensure, among other things, that denizens of Manhattan don't get e-mail blasts imploring them to buy outdoor furniture.
The home décor merchant has been using CRM since 1998, Thau said, "as a tool to analyze and gauge its outbound marketing efforts, including newspaper advertisements, direct mailers, e-mail marketing and online banner advertisements."
Brian Murphy, customer database manager for Pier 1, noted that "merchandising departments use the data to understand what people are buying together -- a market basket type," adding that Infor CRM Epiphany is designed to help companies run marketing campaigns that match up with shopper preferences, integrate marketing across a variety of channels, provide customer insight to boost sales productivity and manage marketing and sales resources more efficiently, Thau reported.
"But while 80 percent of the things that we needed to do worked perfectly for us," the product had its limitations, Murphy told Thau.
"Pier 1's objective was to have access to data all over the organization and put it in the hands of the marketers," said Jackie Palmer, senior product manager for Infor CRM. Pier 1 has more than 1,000 stores, and according to Thau, "has zeroed in on marketing as a key facet of its growth strategy." That means, Murphy told her, "more targeted marketing, a better understanding of who the consumer is, and how we can take market share from competitors. How can we sway our customers to pick our merchandise over some others?"