Data Management – Best Data Practices
Arguably your data is your most valuable business asset and it’s essential to have a range of data management solutions in place to safeguard your data.
What is data management?
Data management is the end to end process of managing your data from collection of the data, holding the data, cleaning the data to using the data. Effective data management will see the replacing, modifying and deleting of inaccurate, incomplete and inconsistent data. These inaccuracies will almost always have been created by human error usually at a data entry point or when transferring data from one system to another. Whilst processes can be in built at a point of data entry to validate data, us humans will always find a way to inadvertently or deliberately circumventing these checks. We’ve all heard the expression ‘’rubbish in, rubbish out’’ and this is never truer than when dealing with a Customer Database.
Why is data hygiene important?
Being able to accurately target groups of your most promising customers and prospects, enabling you to focus your resources and save costs, is one of the major benefits of investing in a Customer Database. To ensure you continue to get the best from your investment you need to ensure the data you hold is kept up to date. If you get your data management right it’s easier to implement effective Direct Marketing and Database Marketing campaigns using Data Analytics and Data Segmentation.
How will data management benefit me?
Unless you have an effective data management programme in place, your data will gradually decay and become at best unreliable and at worst inaccurate and misleading. Using inaccurate data to base management decisions on is not only ineffective but could lead to costly mistakes.
Accurate data enables you to personalise your customer and prospect communications making them relevant and engaging which in turn creates an experience that inspires the customer to purchase from you.
An objective with any Customer Database is to hold a single view of the customer. This can only be achieved with the regular identification of duplicates within your data. Many duplicates can be identified at the time of loading using exact match and sounds like matching but often data requires a deep dive to identify duplicates that are obvious to the human eye but not to your data processing. These duplicates may result as a consequence of data cleanse and updates.
Postcode Address File verification
Re-formatting your data to Postcode Address File standard (PAF) maximises your address matching success rate and ability to de-duplicate records. Clean data enables you to take advantage of any postal discounts and carry out accurate location analysis. Royal Mail update the PAF file twice a year which includes postcode changes and the addition of new postcodes. To ensure your data remains accurate we recommend PAF validating your database after each update.
Identifying inaccurate or corrupt records within a database can be performed as a batch process when loading data or interactively with data management tools. There are always exceptions and after each process there will be a group of annoying records that don’t fit your database structure and can cause data analysis errors and anomalies. They invariably need researching and checking before updating to create clean and accurate data.
Dawleys Business Intelligence provides secure online access to your data in a graphical format. Data is analysed to produce easy to understand charts and graphs. Data can be updated daily and access provided 24/7 so that you can view the data when you want to see it. No more waiting for analysts to send you a spreadsheet.
By clustering your data you can identify groups of customers or prospects that exhibit similar attributes and likely to react in similar ways. These clusters can be put into Segments on your Customer Database which you can target with direct marketing activity and track the results for effectiveness. Segmentation is also used to trigger targeted communications to reward or acknowledge behaviours that you want to encourage and behaviours that you want to change. When used in conjunction with a communications programme segmentation is a powerful direct marketing tool.
Useful information, to update your customer interests and propensities to purchase, can be gathered from regular customer surveys either via emails with links to a survey, embedded into your websites or via direct calls and mailings. Analysis of the responses provides you with customer insight. The data can then be added to your Customer Database to drive future campaign activity.
For your key customers and top prospects you may wish to carry out a deep dive to verify and clean your data. This can be carried out by skilled research agents and desk researchers.
One of the hottest topics around is data security. When looking for companies to work with and who are going to handle your data, always look for companies that are ISO27001 Information Security Management System compliant. ISO27001 is the international best practice standard for information security covering three key information security areas; people, processes and technology. Companies holding ISO27001 are independently audited and conduct regular risk assessments ensuring the ongoing integrity, confidentiality and availability of information.
It is important to note than any data management activity and processes must be GDPR compliant.
How can Dawleys help you
Dawleys have a range of compliant data gathering solutions to help manage your most valuable asset. From the building of database solutions, integration with websites and data systems, disaster recovery and data management Dawleys have a range of end-to-end solutions to help you. Working in the data industry for over 27 years our solutions are tried and tested and we work with many blue chip companies to help keep their data accurate and relevant.
Dawleys are ISO27001 Information Security Management System compliant. ISO27001 is the international best practice standard for information security covering three key information security areas; people, processes and technology. Companies holding ISO27001 are independently audited and conduct regular risk assessments ensuring the ongoing integrity, confidentiality and availability of information. Dawleys are also Cyber Essentials registered. Cyber Essentials is a UK government scheme encouraging information security good practice.
What does it all mean? Dawleys Business Intelligence provides secure online access to your data in a graphical format. Data is analysed to produce easy to understand charts and graphs. Data can be updated daily and access provided 24/7 so that you can view the data when you want to see it. No more waiting for analysts to send you a spreadsheet.
Raw data has to be turned into an electronic format before it to be loaded into your customer database. Dawleys can assist with web form design, data validation tools and datacapture services to help you get your data into the correct format for loading into your Marketing Database. Dawleys analytics team can assist in defining clusters and segments and the development of a behaviour triggered communications plan. The tracking of segments can be built into your Dawleys Business Intelligence reports for you to quickly monitor the effectiveness of your direct marketing activity.