By: Helen Parslow, Vice President of International Marketing at Validity
Building strong relationships and maintaining successful communications with customers is essential for every growing organisation. By gaining insight into consumer behaviour patterns through data management, businesses can modify procedures to better understand their target market. Customer relationship management (CRM), for example, provides organisations with the opportunity to profile individuals or groups and then effectively market to them, thereby increasing sales. In fact, according to recent research1, CRM software is now the biggest software market in the world, and is expected to reach more than $80 billion in revenue globally by 2025.
Throughout recent years, many organisations have battled with rapid changes in consumer habits and a need to stand out against competitors. For example, recent research has found that 672 per cent of consumers agree that online purchasing has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 91 per cent say they’re likely to continue purchasing more items online in the future. In addition, 88 per cent of consumers surveyed said authenticity is important when deciding which brands they support, with 50 per cent agreeing authenticity is very important to them. This research suggests that times have changed since the pandemic hit, and brands now need to find ways to resonate with customers in a more personalised way.
The solution to success
Within today’s digital age, organisations that want to fully engage with customers should approach data management as a priority which will drive continuous revenue for the business. The first step is ensuring all customer data is up to date by regularly verifying the validity of contact data, customer engagement and retention. It will come as no surprise that consumers regularly change physical addresses, phone numbers and email addresses due to changing jobs or businesses moving, merging, or closing all together.
Effective data governance is vital for organisations that hold customer data in large quantities. Data governance encompasses the people, processes, and technology employed to manage a business’ use of data. It is essential for a business to establish a standard for data that ﬁts its needs and processes, and a plan for enforcing and supporting that standard. Data governance will serve as the checks and balances for data flow, end user adoption, and the recognition and resolution place for technical debt. This is not exclusive to large organisations, small organisations can also complete the necessary steps for this approach. To be successful and drive value to a business, data governance initiatives must come from the top and should be an organisation-wide approach.
By investing in a data management platform, businesses can enhance almost every aspect of CRM. A digital platform will provide marketers with confidence in data verification and enable them to get in touch with customers via email and phone. Address verification also helps prevent errors when capturing contact data. By removing or preventing duplicate contact details, modifying data, and managing imports, brands can also keep on top of data maintenance and boost data management productivity. Digital platforms enhance operational efficiency and help organisations better understand the health of their customer data through analytics.
The importance of ethical data
Obtaining permission to use a customer’s data can often be a challenge for many brands. According to the Data & Marketing Association4, difficulties with data have increased from 10 per cent to 52 per cent for marketers, highlighting the importance of ensuring data quality and having the right tools in place to ensure data is compliant, correct, and complete. As society has become savvier towards how information is held, consumers want to have more control over what they share. In fact, according to a recent survey3 on current attitudes towards online personal data use and privacy, more than half of the respondents agreed that they were more concerned about their online privacy compared to a year ago.
The ethical use of data goes deeper than simple regulatory compliance. Enterprises adopting ethical practices of how data is collected, stored, or shared, can significantly enhance the overall customer experience. This approach includes securing clear and informed consent, safely storing data, and securing permission to use or share the data once collected. Some companies approach compliance from the perspective of fulfilling the minimum requirements of particular laws that apply to them whereas others take a more holistic view, looking at ethical data mining principles and the intent behind privacy laws to apply them across the board.
As society becomes increasingly familiar with technology, organisations are increasingly expected to adopt an ethical approach to managing customer data and provide a personalised experience for consumers. To maintain successful relationships with customers and enhance business operations, organisations should assess their marketing approaches and adopt data-driven strategies.