Wednesday, January 18, 2017

DATA QUALITY - Anatomy of an Email Inbox - Jan 18

DATA QUALITY - Anatomy of an Email Inbox - Jan 18

Some people call me a bit nerdy for a marketing executive and I think that is probably true.  I started
my career in market research and data analysis and it has carried through.  I have always been a bit of a whiz at using excel and data tools and have had the opportunity over the years to architect and heavily use data warehouses, data marts and large databases of information to mine insights and create strong analytics that inform actions.

Part of email marketing and CRM is leveraging this data for content and experience personalization. In order to do this well, it is imperative as marketers that we know and understand the data we have access to and insure we are using it correctly and effectively.

This typically isn't a top focus for marketers and is often left to the IT teams.  However, I have found that while these teams are good at setting up and building databases, they often don't have the insights on how that data is used.  Therefore it is imperative that marketers have a strong partnership with their IT support teams and insist upon and have input to things such as data dictionaries, field descriptions, field and data relationships and options.  Help your IT partners understand how you want to and plan to use the data they house for you and both of you will be more effective.

Here's a simple SOUR email that portrays how things can quickly go awry if you don't think things through and watch your emails in detail for things that sometimes you can't anticipate.

I have been spending the winter in Florida and was at my mom's house in South Florida for the holidays and realized I was out of the flea medication I use for my dogs.  I normally order from 1800PetMeds and have been a long term user.  So, I went in and ordered what I needed, but instead of having it sent to my permanent home address, I had it sent to my mom.

What Happened
The PetMed system somehow replaced my name with my mothers name when I input the new shipping address.  Now, both the personalized emails and the website experience are addressing me as "Jean" instead of "Sharon."

While I commend PetMed for a good job of both web and email personalization, they have missed the mark in terms of how their data is being updated and stored.  An example of someone who does an excellent job at that is Amazon.  My daughter and her boyfriend use my Prime account and so often we are all ordering different things at the same time with multiple billing and shipping options.  We have 13 different options in our address book and almost as many billing options.  They successfully allow us to manage all these and keep the data organized in our account.


-  Try to think of all the alternate ways people might order from you and make sure your database can handle it. 
-  Have an audit process to check accounts and emails for anomalies and changes that can inform your teams of potential data issues like the one I experienced with 1800PetMeds.
-  Insist upon good data documentation for the data you have and use.
-  Build a strong partnership with your IT teams so they understand what you are trying to do.

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