Tag Archives: marketing leaders

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

 

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

The Missing Connection Between Big Data and Great Insights for Data-Driven Marketers

I found a truly cringe-worthy article today that shows what popular websites looked like more than a decade ago and what they look like today. Looking back to what was cutting-edge in 1996, or even 2006, is as bad as fingernails on a chalkboard compared to the modern homepages of popular sites today.

The Missing Connection Between Big Data and Great Insights for Data-Driven Marketers

The Missing Connection Between Big Data and Great Insights for Data-Driven Marketers

These websites are still well-used today, staying with the times and leading the way we design digital experiences. The key was change over many years of research and understanding of user experience. These sites stay modern, adapting to different web-enabled devices and experiences that the end user will encounter. Common among them are beautiful imagery, clear calls to action, and a sophisticated understanding of what people want on a homepage.

Can you imagine if any of those sites had stayed the same and never changed? We would not be using them today if that were the case. Their popularity would wane. Change is never easy, but it is usually necessary to stay relevant.

Web designers in 1996 could not imagine what the internet would be like in 2015, although they would probably agree there was a lot of potential. A modern equivalent is the implications of big data throughout the enterprise.

Data-driven marketers today are wondering how they can gain insight from big data. The answer? The ability to change is the connection between big data and insight. Data-driven marketers today know that their roles are changing: 68% of marketers think that marketing has seen more changes in the last two years than it has in the past 50 years, according to a recent survey.  The changes are due to a renewed focus on customer experience within their jobs, and the need to use big data to improve that experience.

Big data should drive insights that change businesses, but is the real reason marketers aren’t sure about how to use big data tied to the change that it requires? Leading change in an organization is never easy, but it is definitely necessary.

What insights do you want from big data, and what value can you derive from them? If your reason for using big data is customer behavior insights, how will knowing how a customer behaves influence any changes in your approach?

The National Retail Federation recently reported that retailers say these are the three top reasons for using big data in a survey:

  • Analyzing customer behavior (56 percent)
  • Bringing together different data sources (49 percent)
  • Improving personalization (48 percent)

What are your reasons for using big data?

Data-driven marketers can drown in too much information if they look at massive datasets without a question in mind that they want to answer. The question being asked often implies that a business must change to stay modern and relevant to its customers. Could concern over a need for great change be the roadblock to data-driven marketers who could be using data for valuable insights?

Big data has gotten a lot of buzz in the last few years. Data-driven marketers can move the big data concept from fuzzy, unrealized potential to a major part of how their business operates successfully.

Learn more in this white paper for marketers, The Secret to a Successful Customer Journey.

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Hospitality Execs: Invest in Great Customer Information to Support A Customer-Obsessed Culture

I love exploring new places. I’ve had exceptional experiences at the W in Hong Kong, El Dorado Royale in the Riviera Maya and Ventana Inn in Big Sur. I belong to almost every loyalty program under the sun, but not all hospitality companies are capitalizing on the potential of my customer information. Imagine if employees had access to it so they could personalize their interactions with me and send me marketing offers that appeal to my interests.

Do I have high expectations? Yes. But so do many travelers. This puts pressure on marketing and sales executives who want to compete to win. According to Deloitte’s report, “Hospitality 2015: Game changers or spectators?,” hospitality companies need to adapt to meet consumers’ increasing expectations to know their preferences and tastes and to customize packages that suit individual needs.

Jeff Klagenberg helps companies to use their data as a strategic asset

Jeff Klagenberg helps companies use data as a strategic asset and get the most value out of it.

In this interview, Jeff Klagenberg, senior principal at Myers-Holum, explains how one of the largest, most customer-focused companies in the hospitality industry is investing in better customer, product, and asset information. Why? To personalize customer interactions, bundle appealing promotion packages and personalize marketing offers across channels.

Q: What are the company’s goals?
A: The executive team at one of the world’s leading providers of family travel and leisure experiences is focused on achieving excellence in quality and guest services. They generate revenues from the sales of room nights at hotels, food and beverages, merchandise, admissions and vacation club properties. The executive team believes their future success depends on stronger execution based on better measurement and a better understanding of customers.

Q: What role does customer, product and asset information play in achieving these goals?
A: Without the highest quality business-critical data, how can employees continually improve customer interactions? How can they bundle appealing promotional packages or personalize marketing offers? How can they accurately measure the impact of sales and marketing efforts? The team recognized the powerful role of high quality information in their pursuit of excellence.

Q: What are they doing to improve the quality of this business-critical information?
A: To get the most value out of their data and deliver the highest quality information to business and analytical applications, they knew they needed to invest in an integrated information management infrastructure to support their data governance process. Now they use the Informatica Total Customer Relationship Solution, which combines data integration, data quality, and master data management (MDM). It pulls together fragmented customer information, product information, and asset information scattered across hundreds of applications in their global operations into one central, trusted location where it can be managed and shared with analytical and operational applications on an ongoing basis.

Many marketers overlook the importance of using high quality customer information in their personalization capabilities.

Many marketers overlook the importance of using high quality customer information in their investments in personalization.

Q: How will this impact marketing and sales?
A: With clean, consistent and connected customer information, product information, and asset information in the company’s applications, they are optimizing marketing, sales and customer service processes. They get limitless insights into who their customers are and their valuable relationships, including households, corporate hierarchies and influencer networks. They see which products and services customers have purchased in the past, their preferences and tastes. High quality information enables the marketing and sales team to personalize customer interactions across touch points, bundle appealing promotional packages, and personalize marketing offers across channels. They have a better understanding of which marketing, advertising and promotional programs work and which don’t.

Q: What is the role did the marketing and sales leaders play in this initiative?
A: The marketing leaders and sales leaders played a key role in getting this initiative off the ground. With an integrated information management infrastructure in place, they’ll benefit from better integration between business-critical master data about customers, products and assets and transaction data.

Q. How will this help them gain customer insights from “Big Data”?
A. We helped the business leaders understand that getting customer insights from “Big Data” such as weblogs, call logs, social and mobile data requires a strong backbone of integrated business-critical data. By investing in a data-centric approach, they future-proofed their business. They are ready to incorporate any type of data they will want to analyze, such as interaction data. A key realization was there is no such thing as “Small Data.” The future is about getting very bit of understanding out of every data source.

Q: What advice do you have for hospitality industry executives?
A: Ask yourself, “Which of our strategic initiatives can be achieved with inaccurate, inconsistent and disconnected information?” Most executives know that the business-critical data in their applications, used by employees across the globe, is not the highest quality. But they are shocked to learn how much this is costing the company. My advice is talk to IT about the current state of your customer, product and asset information. Find out if it is holding you back from achieving your strategic initiatives.

Also, many business executives are excited about the prospect of analyzing “Big Data” to gain revenue-generating insights about customers. But the business-critical data about customers, products and assets is often in terrible shape. To use an analogy: look at a wheat field and imagine the bread it will yield. But don’t forget if you don’t separate the grain from the chaff you’ll be disappointed with the outcome. If you are working on a Big Data initiative, don’t forget to invest in the integrated information management infrastructure required to give you the clean, consistent and connected information you need to achieve great things.

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Posted in Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customers, Data Integration, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Master Data Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment