April 27th, 2020

Why Economic Uncertainty Makes ‘A Little Bad Data’ a Really Big Problem

To say that this year’s business performance may not be what you expected is likely a massive understatement. This uncomfortable state of economic uncertainty is not likely to abate any time soon, which means it’s never been more essential for marketers to seize control where possible. And two areas that are crucial to manage with authority right now are, for one, being sure you’re connecting with the right customers, and two, marketing to them in the most efficient and effective way. 

As you assess what your business might look like in the fast-changing months ahead, you must understand which touchpoints are best to invest in -- and not -- both to reach your customers and to protect your marketing investment. Good data is the key to unlocking these insights.  To mitigate the negative impact on your bottom line today, you need to know if your customers are still buying, and how their purchase behaviors have changed. And to protect your business in the months and years ahead, you need to establish and maintain a meaningful place in your customers’ hearts and minds, now and for the long term. We want to provide you with that same kind of leadership and support. Neustar has been in the data business for a long time and we’ve seen our clients through many challenges. We know  that during challenging times, your customers will remember your actions and how you made them feel. We are here to partner with you to make sure you have the insights you need to give you the confidence that you’re able to deliver the best possible outcomes. 

In today’s world, we rely on data for everything. Enduring businesses will be defined by a consistent stream of smart decisions based on the right information. This makes data and customer intelligence among the most valuable assets any company can hope to have. So, when the stakes are high, you must ask: “Is our data good enough to base sound  business decisions on?”

Knowing and being able to recognize your customers and prospects for appropriate engagement that are efficient, effective, and ethical --with the right message in the right channel - starts with having the right data.

People want us to see them, understand them and connect with them – in a privacy-friendly way. Now, more than ever, that’s crucial. But it’s difficult to do if the data in your CRM or CDP isn’t accurate and up to date.

Why does “a little bad data” matter? Let’s look at a couple examples:

Most businesses today face increased call center and chat activity You must  be  able to rapidly identify your customers and prospects and route them to the most appropriate representative, with the most relevant and accurate information you have about them (whether they are contacting you on a number or device you already know, or especially if it is one you haven’t seen before). Not being able to deliver that kind of frictionless experience -- especially during a time of heightened stress -- may lead to negative brand perceptions and potential long-term loss of business.

Managing outbound engagements is essential to ensure you engage with customers at the times and using channels that work best for them. Everyone remembers the annoying telemarketer who would call during dinner. In the current environment, nobody wants to be “that guy.” You want to understand and know your customers so when you do reach out, it’s with a genuine offer to help that’s relevant to them, whether that’s with an automotive offer to skip a payment, a financial services offer of a complimentary portfolio review, or a retail offer for a discount. Customers may not know why you’re so easy to work with, when others aren’t, but that invisible reduction in friction will improve their affinity towards you, well beyond the short term.  


What should you do?

First, assess the health of your data to identify dirty or bad records. You can accomplish this in many ways: review marketing campaign performance, forensic work on data usage and success, etc. But we recommend starting with a data health assessment. It will save you a lot of time and fast-forward you to the important part – How accurate is your data?  – so you can determine what to do about it.

If you have data inaccuracies, you need to fix them so you can  deliver meaningful customer experiences. Only accurate data can help you know what insights to use as a source of truth, as well as how that source of truth will be interrogated.

Collecting and maintaining an accurate view of the customer and their identity is harder than ever. So, too, is understanding what capabilities you need to get the results you want. Traditional data providers, for example, manage contact data, not identity. Contact data doesn’t tell you who owns the identity or even if it’s been verified. Simple data standardization and normalization services will do this. You need identity resolution services that will  alert you  to wrong data, and can help you to make it right.  Ideally, you also want to receive alerts to data changes that will impact your CRM, like when a customer moves or changes their phone number. You also need to be able to fill gaps and gain additional insight through behavioral attributes.

Finally, your CRM system needs continual review and refinement to ensure that data is both relevant and usable to the groups who depend on it. Marketing performance around addressability and deliverability is a good performance metric for how healthy your CRM is.   

The ability to deliver relevant experiences that make customers feel best, especially in challenging times, is the stuff of magic. The sleight of hand necessary to deliver these kinds of results, for your customers and your business can only happen if your data is ready to help you pull it off. 

To learn more about how Neustar can help with your customer data, click here 

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