Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap

Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap

In this guest post, general manager of data marketing firm Colourwise, Colin Fraser (pictured below) shows brands how to identify their data and use it to make cash registers sing…

Australian businesses receive a wealth of data from their customers through a variety of different communications channels, and all too often this data is either maintained poorly or it is not captured correctly in the first place. Businesses need to use their data correctly to help create communicate and engage with their customers better in order to a create a more meaningful relationship and provide greater brand recognition.


Being smart with your data begins from the first point of contact with your customer as they provide you with their details, but there are a number of key steps you need to take after this one to ensure you are getting the most from your data.

  1. What is useful data?

Identifying what type of data is useful to your business depends on the goals and objectives you have set. Identifying who your key stakeholders and target market are will give you an indication about what type of information they are likely to supply. To help solve this issue, use the goals and objectives of your campaign to indicate what is the ‘must capture’ data you needed in order to make your campaign a success, it will be different for every campaign. As a guide, it is recommended to obtain at least their full name, address, preferred contact email and mailing address.

  1. Capturing relevant data

The success of a digital, print and mail communication campaign can live or die by the data being used. For this to be successful you need to understand how to capture the relevant data you will need. A common issue that occurs when sorting data is that the quality of the data is incomplete, incorrect or irrelevant to your campaign. 

Social media offers business a great opportunity to capture data they would not proactively share with a business has changed how are able to capture data. If you are able to offer your customers an option to sign-up or lodge an inquiry about what you are offering through social media, this will open you up to a significant amount of useful data that is often very hard to capture.

  1. Sorting through data

Once you have identified your ‘must capture’ data, it’s important to create a system to sort through and maintain your data to ensure its integrity is upheld. The purpose of data cleaning is to ensure you are delivering pieces of communication to the correct target audience to ultimately result in a return on investment (ROI). For a direct mail campaign, having the correct data can equate in more targeted deliveries, meaning fewer send outs

and less ‘Return to Senders’, resulting in reduced costs. Many businesses will invest in a CRM system to help with sorting through their data, or alternatively outsource it to experts who are able to make data sorting a painless endeavour. 

  1. Making sense of your data

Once you have all of the data you need and it has been sorted, you need to be able to analyse and understand the story it is telling you. Making sense of the data starts at the very beginning of this process by identifying what useful data you need for your campaign, based on your goals and objectives. A good starting point to analyse your data is to overlay the data you have captured with that of your target audience. Through this, you should be able to identify any similarities or opportunities with both sets of information. 

Data is definitely overwhelming; but it makes good business sense to take advantage of all the benefits and possibilities it offers. Specialists in data solutions are able to analyse your data and determine the best methods and channels of communicating with your stakeholders, and can also combat certain data by analysing records that aren’t delivered, catching the correct data and delivering it back to the correct address. The experts’ job is to make data capturing, sorting and analysing simple, reduce the costs spent, and provide you with the opportunity to actually reach your target audience.

Customers are continually providing and businesses need to start using it effectively. Streamlining a process to identify, capture and sort through data is critical, especially for digital, print and mail communication campaigns. If you haven’t yet begun to effectively use your data in your marketing strategies, start integrating it into campaigns where you know who your target audience is and what it is you want them to do.

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Colin Fraser Colourwise

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