Tag Archives: Data as a Service

The Age of Engagement Depends on Great Data



The Age of Engagement

It’s been a while since we were able to connect. We tried to reach you recently regarding a recall on your 2013 (car make and model removed) that you leased from our dealership. Please confirm your address and phone number and contact us to make an appointment for the recall replacement.

Address: 13506 Crestview Circle, Raleigh, NC 27601

Phone: 918-908-7755

Thank you!

Local Car Dealership

My wife recently received an email just like the one above to her personal email address, which provided us with a good laugh. See her name isn’t Warren, it’s actually Lauren…and this isn’t her phone number or our mailing address. However, the contact information was close and the details about our vehicle were correct. Couple that with the fact that the email is from the salesman that we leased our car from, and we realized that something terribly wrong must have occurred when the dealer typed our data into their contact database at the time we leased the car.

While Lauren has comically always received mail addressed to Warren, it’s usually been junk mail and not about a safety recall to one of our cars. As I’m sure you can imagine this was a less than stellar experience with a brand that we love. However, it reminded me about the various keynote presentations that I heard last week at Informatica World and inspired me to write this post.

For those of you that were able to attend Informatica World 2015 last week, you likely learned all about The Age of Engagement and how your customers expect you to interact with them. There were several presentations showing how each of the product groups enable you to effectively engage with your customers and how at the heart of this Age of Engagement lies accurate data.

Whether it’s getting someone’s name right or storing an accurate address, having clean data is a requirement to be able to improve your relationship with your customers in this new Age of Engagement. I’d like to offer you three quick steps to start getting this right and begin your customer interactions.

Verify Your Customer Information

Whether you’re using an MDM solution to have a single view of your customer or verifying their contact data at the point of acquisition, technology can make having clean data simple. With the great tools that are available today, you can easily know that your customer’s name isn’t Warren. You can also verify each individual part of the customer contact record. For example using our Address Verification service will ensure that you have the accurate mailing address for each of your customers throughout the world. Using our Email Verification service will verify that the email address that your customer gave you is accurate, in real-time at that moment, directly with the domain. Also, using our Phone Validation service, you can confidently know that your customer’s phone number is accurate, if it’s a mobile or a landline phone, even what time zone it’s in (so that you don’t try send them a message in the middle of the night). These easy to use services will take the most critical components of the contact record, verify their accuracy, and give you the confidence that you’ll be able to connect with your customers.

Create a Better Message

Now that you know that you can confidently connect with your customers, it’s time to create a message that will resonate with them. You could utilize a product or customer MDM solution to pull in data about your previous customer interactions such as their accurate name, the product that they bought, and when they bought it. You could also append additional data elements from external sources to more accurately segment and target your audience, and even personalize the message for both B2C and B2B customers. For example, you could leverage our Business Data Enrichment service, fueled by Dun and Bradstreet, to learn all about your B2B customers and their businesses to craft the perfect message to use in your engagement efforts.

Start the Conversation

Once you know you have accurate contact data and you’ve crafted the best message to your customer, it’s time to actually reach out to them. In the history of customer engagement, there have never been more options available to us in order to reach our customers. While every customer might have a different preference for how they want to be contacted, one surefire way is to leverage the mobile channel. SMS text messages sent to your customers are quick and interactive. By 2017 Portio Research estimates that nearly 2 trillion messages will be sent from businesses to their customers throughout the world. If mobile isn’t a channel that you’re considering, maybe it’s time to start thinking about adding it into your engagement plans.

By verifying that you have clean data and have created a great message, engaging with your customers has never been easier than it is right now. Start the conversation and improve the relationship that you have with your customers today.

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Four Steps Email Marketers Should Take Before Using Old Customer Data

Customer Data

Using Old Customer Data?

A crowd of people gathered around a cornerstone of a building in Brooklyn. They could barely contain their excitement that October day in 2014.

A time capsule from 1950 was about to be opened, revealing mysterious contents. No one knew what to expect. Historical treasures? Letters from the past? Maybe even gold bars or valuable collectibles? The crowd strained to hear what officials would announce to the crowd as they opened the container.

“It’s all full of mud!” the city officials exclaimed to the crowd, as the box was unearthed and opened. Photographers clicked away at the mottled contents. While underground, water and dirt had crept in to the metal box, leaving the crowd in 2014 with not much to see but oxidized orange sludge.

A few illegible newspapers, ruined microfilm, and a coin were found, but the contents were roundly considered a bust.

Email marketers must feel much the same excitement mixed with uncertainty when they receive old contact lists to open up and add to their email lists. This is a scenario many email marketers face.

This kind of legacy data could come from various circumstances:

  • One company joins another, and submits legacy data that could be fruitful, but most likely needs attention and management.
  • Unused legacy data starts looking more appealing to re-use around peak sales times, when every email that goes out could spell more sales.
  • A new member of the sales team submits new contacts that have never been added to your database.
  • An existing business unit’s data is combined with yours due to new processes that remove data silos for full integration across your organization.

It’s not something that happens all of the time, but eventually in email marketing, you may have to decide how to handle legacy data.

Whatever the source, legacy data needs your attention to derive value. Just as the archivists who opened the 1950s time capsule remarked that a little waterproofing could have gone a long way, your data needs care and management so it won’t risk your existing email marketing programs. Contacts that are on one of these legacy lists could easily have changed their email addresses, or forgotten they were ever on these lists in the first place.

Step One

Here is the one part of this blog post that you should not skip over: The first thing you should do is explore the actual sources of this legacy data. If the sources indicated that these email addresses were opted-in initially, then you can proceed with the next steps listed below.

If you cannot find any evidence that these contacts ever opted in to email communication (perhaps the list was purchased before you were ever involved), definitely leave that data alone.

Moving forward with any kind of contact to these email addresses could be a violation of the US CAN-SPAM act, or the newer Canadian CASL law. Sending to even one of those old email addresses could greatly hurt your email marketing efforts as whole.

Once you know the opt-in status of your legacy list, the most important things to consider with legacy data are validation, cleansing, and opting in these contacts anew.

Step Two

Email list cleaning helps remove invalid email addresses (especially when 30% of email addresses change on most contact lists year over year). This is done through email validation, a 4-step process that checks for email standards in the address and determines if a domain name and username both exist. By validating your contact lists, you avoid a high bounce rate, which can hurt your overall email marketing efforts by bringing down your sender reputation.

Step Three

Using email hygiene to perform list cleaning will remove any possible threats to your sender reputation. Email hygiene works as a forensics unit for your email contact lists. It lets you find suspicious email addresses so you can remove them – before contacting them. This kind of bad contact data is especially likely to show up in legacy data.

You should do these two steps – email list cleaning and email hygiene – first, before you ever email these legacy contacts.

Step Four

Finally, use some creativity to send these contacts an email asking them to opt back in. It is best to send these out in small batches over time, instead of all at once. Any contacts who do not respond should not be contacted any longer.

Obviously, all of these steps will drastically reduce the number of contacts on your legacy data list. However, contacting these previously opted-in email addresses without taking any of these steps is not wise. Many of them are likely to report you, because they will not have opted in to your communications, or won’t remember doing so.

Don’t be disappointed like the openers of the time capsule, who were let down when nothing too exciting was found. Follow these steps to bring down the risks that legacy data can create, and you can find value.

Every email marketer needs to know how to protect their organization’s sender reputation and reduce the bounce rate for better customer communication. Phone numbers and mailing addresses are also key pieces of the contact record that need to be verified before they are used and on an ongoing basis.

How does that work? To learn more about validating your contact data in real-time and using it to communicate with customers in the channels they prefer, attend this live webinar coming up on May 21. Informatica Data as a Service representatives will be showing you each step to reduce costs, reach more customers, and manage your data quality.

Webinar May 21 at 2 pm EST: Register Now
Achieving Great Customer Communication with Data Quality and Mobile Services


Posted in CMO, Customer Acquisition & Retention, DaaS, Data Quality, Informatica Events | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

New Partnership Helps Build Stronger Total Customer and Supplier Relationships

Data is extremely valuable to any B2B organization that puts the customer at the center of everything. Over 60% of B2B marketers use data targeting and segmentation, according to a survey by Salesforce and LinkedIn.

The benefits of having real-time actionable insight about a potential partner or customer range from better marketing & sales, reducing risks from suppliers, and better data quality across the organization. But it can be difficult to gain a full view of a potential customer or business partner to realize these benefits. Not only is data difficult to obtain, it changes all the time – according to D&B’s research, 8 businesses change names every hour!

Today, at Informatica World in Las Vegas, we are announcing a new partnership between Dun & Bradstreet and Informatica Data as a Service to bring customers new Business Data Enrichment services to solve these challenges. Dun & Bradstreet is a company well-known for providing business data to 90% of the Fortune 500. Founded in 1841, D&B captures more than 5 million business record updates every day, adding to the 240+ million business records it retains.

This new partnership helps Informatica customers break down the barriers between them and their clients or potential partners for powerful insights that drive new growth throughout the business. The benefits of Business Data Enrichment include gaining a holistic view of business relationships, closing more business with better audience targeting, supply chain optimization with total supplier relationship management, and data-driven segmentation, messaging, and personalization.

Almost every business has suppliers and partners, and these can create risk. Being able to reduce that risk is extremely valuable, and D&B and Informatica help organizations do just that. Use Business Data Enrichment to research a possible partnership or other business transaction by determining past payment histories and better understand the likelihood of payment remittance. Make better business decisions by reducing risks, using verified financial profiles and histories about a potential supplier.

customer dnb-daas

[Click to enlarge] An example of supplier details, including risk profiles and contact information based on real-time data.

Informatica Data as a Service takes D&B’s powerful data and harnesses it, so it can be easily and quickly integrated with any business process or application via APIs. This integration includes the Informatica Intelligent Data Platform and core applications, like MDM, Total Supplier Management, Data Quality, and Data Integration. Read more in this datasheet for all the details (PDF).

Business leaders from marketing, sales, procurement, and information technology alike benefit from these new services, since they are easy to integrate within existing processes and applications with no ongoing updates or maintenance needed.

Get a better understanding of your customers with Business Data Enrichment from Informatica, named the #1 industry leader by Gartner analysts in the areas of data integration and data quality. Contact us now to learn more.

Read more in this blog post on the Dun & Bradstreet website.

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“I’m Sorry – You have the Wrong Number.”

customer phone number

Eliminate Invalid Phone Numbers from Your Database

The big news out of my hometown, is their battle over the past few weeks to be named Kraft’s Hockeyville — a competition to find the biggest ice hockey town in the United States. Johnstown, a former steel city in Western Pennsylvania — famous for the movie Slapshot, has made it to the final round. The community has been encouraging each other to cast their votes through every means necessary. They have been using social media posts, email blasts, and are even calling local hockey enthusiasts, which is how I heard about this competition — by mistake.

Earlier this week I received a call to my mobile phone asking me to vote in the competition. However, the person on the other end was looking for someone named “Tyler” – apparently a frequent shopper at a local sporting goods store not far from where my parents live.

When I moved away years ago, like so many others, I never changed my mobile phone number. I still have a Pennsylvania number even though I live in North Carolina now. The local sporting goods store called to reach “Tyler,” someone they knew was interested in hockey based on his purchasing behavior. When they couldn’t reach “Tyler” with the inaccurate phone number that they had in their system, they changed the final digit by one and contacted me instead. While this isn’t a great way to source a better phone number for your customers, it made me think. What if this call was more critical? What if it was urgent that this company reach “Tyler”? What if “Tyler” was waiting for this phone call? Talk about a negative customer experience!

A Missed Call, a Missed Customer Opportunity

This brings me full circle to our newest product offering, an update to our Phone Validation product that verifies phone numbers throughout the world. For telephone numbers in over 240 countries and territories, the Phone Validation offering from Informatica Data as a Service will ensure accuracy, identify the phone type (mobile, landline, free, VoIP), as well as the phone carrier (such as Verizon, AT&T, or Vodafone). The service will also identify geographic data such as locality information including time zone – so that you don’t call “Tyler” in the middle of the night to encourage him to vote.

The real power of the Phone Validation service comes when it’s combined with our Email Verification and Address Verification services to validate all of the most critical components of a customer’s contact record. This Contact Record Verification service can be easily implemented anywhere that contact data, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and postal addresses, are acquired or stored. This will ensure that when you try to reach a contact in an urgent situation that you can reach the right person, the first time – without fail.

Does Your Company Reach the Right Customer, the First Time?

To learn more about our Phone Validation and Contact Record Verification services, check out this informative webinar recording.

Oh – and good luck to Johnstown. You have my vote, and I’ll be interested to see this weekend if you bring home the prize to Flood City!

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The One-Word Change That Can Make Retailers See Things Differently

Is 2015 the year retailers start seeing operations differently, simply by changing one word?


The One-Word Change That Can Make Retailers See Things Differently

It’s happened before. Years ago, we used to say “multichannel” when referring to customer touchpoints across many different platforms. The new buzzword is “omnichannel,” which focuses on all customer touchpoints working as one to appeal to digitally-connected consumers. Omnichannel provides a cohesive brand experience that helps create customer loyalty and communication.

For 10 years, STORES Magazine has been making insightful predictions about the retail industry. This year, STORES predicts that leaders in the retail industry will stop saying “ecommerce” and just call everything, in all channels, “commerce.”

Would you see your operations differently if you were to call everything “commerce,” instead of breaking out each channel by where the consumer makes a purchase?

The “e” in “ecommerce” stands for electronic. But retail order fulfillment cannot always be electronic, nor can all customer service be electronic, or your supply chains, or every channel. Ecommerce as we define it today is growing, and while its growth is often a favorite topic in the retail industry, it’s just part of the picture. In the US, $10 out of every $11 is spent by consumers in-store, according to e-Marketer.

Keep in mind that it’s the growth of ecommerce that gets the attention of retail industry leaders. Because of this growth, do you see ecommerce becoming a bigger part of your business and your revenue? You would not be alone in this expectation. Online retail sales in the US will reach $294 billion this year, and by 2018 are projected at $414 billion, according to Forrester Research’s US eCommerce Forecast published last May.

Retailers will plan to focus on ecommerce more and more as its growth – and importance to revenue – continues. What retailers may not be ready for, especially retail marketers, is that a plan to focus on ecommerce is by definition a plan to focus on data quality. Ecommerce is driven by customer communication. Retailers successfully drive sales via email marketing, SMS mobile messaging, and direct mail. Response rates to this communication drive the success of ecommerce by driving sales.

For example, email marketing triggers mobile purchasing more than any other communication method, including social media, app traffic, and paid search, according to a 2014 Custora report. The same report found that over one-third of all visits to ecommerce websites originate from mobile devices. Valid mailing addresses ensure that a customer’s order arrives on-time as expected, which is important when same-day delivery is becoming a bigger and bigger way for retailers to stay competitive.

A customer’s email address, phone number, and postal address lead retailers to a better understanding of that customer. Better communication that leads to loyalty and revenue starts with contact data that is valid and reliable.

All retailers know the value of acquiring and retaining customer data. Keeping that information correct and up-to-date is an ongoing challenge, however. Verifying and correcting customer contact data using a real-time service that is reliable, up-to-date, and authoritative on data quality is essential for retailers to succeed in growing revenue through ecommerce.

To learn more, join Informatica’s Data as a Service and Retail experts Thomas Brence and Donal Dunne in this recorded webinar.

Watch now.

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Getting Personal with Data as a Service (DaaS)

Getting Personal with Data as a Service (DaaS)

Getting Personal with Data as a Service (DaaS)

Last week, I spent three days at Retail’s Big Show hosted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in New York City. This annual event gives retailers the opportunity to network with their colleagues from all over the world. In addition, they get the chance to interact with technology vendors that can help them improve their business.

From marketing automation to analytics software, there were countless technology offerings showcasing how to best assist the modern marketer in making every customer interaction personal. Throughout the week, I had numerous conversations with retail professionals about the importance of personalization in marketing and what it means to their organization’s future plans.

At the heart of their plans was the need to understand the data that they have today, and how to verify the data that they will inevitably acquire in the future. If it’s accurate, if it’s reliable, if it’s complete – customer data can fuel your ability to engage and interact.

The data driven marketer derives insight and ultimately provides a personalized experience by leveraging this valuable data for each customer.

And why is this important?

Well, according to McMurrayTMG, 78% of buyers believe that organizations providing a personalized experience are interested in building good relationships. But it all starts with accurate data.

Knowing who your customers are, how you can contact them, and what they are interested in are essential in order to engage with your customers. With the abundance of data available today, you have to figure that if you aren’t ensuring that your customer interactions are personalized, then your competitors are gaining ground. Every interaction, every correspondence counts towards a positive perception as well as increased sales and customer satisfaction.

By fueling your interactions with Data as a Service (DaaS) for accurate customer data, you will ensure that your customers have a personalized experience with your brand and ultimately accelerate your business.

Posted in CMO, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customers, DaaS, Data Quality, Retail, Total Customer Relationship | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Data as a Service will ensure that 2015 will be known as “The Year of the Customer!”

Data as a Service

Customers are at the center

Not so long ago, customers were simply faceless names and transactions understood through disjointed sales data and potentially inaccurate contact information.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen companies across industries make remarkable business transformations to become customer-centric organizations. These companies understand that customers are no longer loyal to brands or products alone. Instead, they’re loyal to companies who provide the optimal, most personalized customer experiences.

By understanding more about their customers, their interests, and their interaction preferences, organizations can ultimately encourage increased sales and usage of their products and services.

As we begin 2015 and predict what the next trends will be, I believe that this year will finally be the year that customer centricity becomes the norm — and effective management of data will play the most critical role to date in getting companies to reach their customer centricity goals.

But it won’t necessarily happen overnight. So how should companies get started with this effort?

“A requirement behind customer centricity is the ability to understand customers at a fairly granular level and to be able to identify the customers or the segments of customers who are valuable from the ones who aren’t,” writes Peter Fader (Co-Director of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania). “If you can’t sort out your customers — if you can’t look at them and know who is good and who is bad — then you can’t be customer centric. That’s step one.”

More and more companies are working through strategies for what Peter Fader describes as step one. They understand their data, and explore ways to utilize this information to gain valuable insights. For example, consider the advancements that Citrix achieved (read more in this case study). By better understanding their customer data, they saw a 20% improvement in lead conversion.

The organizations that have a better understanding of their customers are leading the way by utilizing technology to ensure data accuracy. If their contact data (address, email, and phone) is correct, then they can effectively reach that customer without fail. If their contact data is poor, connecting with customers becomes impossible and can ultimately impact their ability to compete.

Companies like BCBG understand this and are utilizing data quality services to reach up to 15% more customers (read more in this case study).

As companies continue to understand their customer data, they’ll look to fill in the gaps. Sometimes, these gaps are obvious. If a customer’s contact profile has a hole in it – for example a missing phone number – it becomes clear that the hole must be filled.

Utilizing Data as a Service enrichment and validation capabilities, organizations have the opportunity to clean up missing data without wasting a high value customer interaction to ask for their phone number. Instead, they can spend their time selling to this customer.

In addition to filling the contact profile gaps, Data as a Service subscription data is also a great way to expand the view of the customer and learn more about them. Companies can enrich their customer profiles with demographic information or industry data to round out their customer profiles, further supporting their customer-centricity goals.

In 2015, we will see companies utilizing their customer data to form a deeper connection and ultimately increase sales. The habit of “Speaking at” customers will fall by the wayside of true engagement. If customers are the lifeblood of an organization, then, in 2015, we’ll see more and more companies leveraging Data as a Service to increase customer loyalty — and ultimately fuel business growth.


Posted in Customers, DaaS, Data Quality | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Thanksgiving the Most Data-Driven Holiday?

Is Thanksgiving the Most Data-Driven Holiday?

Thanksgiving: The Most Data-Driven Holiday?

Turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie… and lots and lots of data on the side. Thanksgiving has to be the most data-driven holiday we have. After Black Friday, we will see a slew of reports and headlines describing how the retail industry’s sales performed.

What are retailers all abuzz about right now as we get closer to the Black Friday / Cyber Monday dates?

This year, retailers are using between 31-50% of their online marketing budget on holiday-related efforts alone, according to the National Retail Federation.

The NRF also projects that almost 20% of the retail industry’s annual sales will come from the holiday period.

This sounds like so much pressure, any retail marketer would crack like a chestnut under it. What’s a marketer to do? Here are some tactics and results around peak season holiday marketing.

Segmentation is a great way to see a big lift in sales. If you have the data to understand your customers and identify emerging segments in your market, you can find new business and directly target it with specific messaging. One recent case reported by Target Marketing Magazine showed a 40% year-over-year sales increase from a new segment that was identified and targeted with tailored messaging. Learn more about getting the most from your customer data in this white paper, “Data Quality Management: Beyond the Basics.”

Know your email sender reputation. You spend so much effort getting the right message out via email marketing with the right timing over different days leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Green Monday into December. But a poor email sender reputation can lead to those efforts being blocked or sent to the junk folder instead of to your customers. Global retailer BCBG proactively avoided this, using data validation and cleansing techniques to send their sender reputation sky-high (which you can read more about here.) Don’t let a bad sender reputation limit you during the holidays — especially when it can take up to 15 days to fix a major issue like this. Find out more in this short informative video, “Email Sender Reputation: What Does it Mean to Marketers?”

Everyone, positively everyone, is talking about mobile. Practically every article you come across on the subject of retail industry sales around the peak season holiday mentions mobile in some respect – for very good reason. Shoppers take their phones and tablets shopping with them to compare prices, look for deals, and research their purchases beforehand. The NRF reports that 7 out of 10 retailers they surveyed are putting major investments into their mobile-friendly websites. A well-timed SMS message to your customers with a special deal just for them could work wonders. You can take advantage of the huge popularity of SMS mobile messaging in just a few steps. See how in this SMS Quick-Start Guide created for marketers like you.

Posted in Customers, DaaS, Data Services, Retail | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2012 Cloud Integration Predictions – Data, MDM, BI, Platform and IT as a Service

I spent last weekend reading Geoffrey Moore’s new book, Escape Velocity: Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past. Then on Sunday, the New York Times published this article about salesforce.com: A Leader in the Cloud Gains Rivals. Clearly “The Big Switch” is on. With this as a backdrop, the need for a comprehensive cloud data management strategy has surfaced as a top IT imperative heading into the New Year – How and when do you plan to move data to the cloud? How will you prevent SaaS silos? How will you ensure your cloud data is trustworthy, relevant and complete? What is your plan for longer-term cloud governance and control?

These are just a few of the questions you need to think through as you develop your short, medium and long-term cloud strategy. Here are my predictions for what else should be on your 2012 cloud integration radar.  (more…)

Posted in Big Data, Business/IT Collaboration, CIO, Cloud Computing, Data Integration, Data Migration, Data Quality, Data Synchronization, Master Data Management, PaaS, SaaS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cloud-Enabled MDM Comes of Age: Cognizant Delivers First SaaS Solution Built on Informatica MDM

The industry’s first cloud-based solution for master data management (MDM) has arrived, signaling the emergence of a new architectural model for MDM that can offer rapid time to deployment without substantial capital expenditures.

Cognizant, a leading provider of IT and consulting services, is rolling out a solution called Cognizant MDM-in-the-Cloud for Life Sciences. Built using Informatica MDM at the core technology, it’s designed to help pharmaceutical and medical device companies to realize a complete, accurate view of monetary gifts and in-kind transfers made to physicians, including gifts, entertainment, consulting fees, meals, research funding, and more.


Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, CIO, Cloud Computing, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, IaaS, Informatica 9.1, Master Data Management, News & Announcements, PaaS, Partners, SaaS, Vertical | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment