by Tim Hamill F IDM | Director at Data Ketchup Ltd, Data Ketchup Ltd | May 03, 2017 Ever feel like this? Everyone is talking about it. You know it exists and that your customers are supplying it. It is in your company somewhere. Nevertheless where is it when you need it? Are we doing the right things? In sales and marketing who are we targeting and why? To what impact? If any of these questions are in your mind it may be worth starting by reviewing your company data plan and ensuring that the following areas are clear, and that staff working with data have the necessary knowledge. Defining data Data is the cornerstone of marketing. Every business process requires data in some form, most of it personally-identifiable information. It is important to define, understand and managing that data in the right way to deliver better performance, whether in marketing, sales or customer service. What data are we collecting and why? For what value? Many companies have a staged data collection process so they don’t scare customer by asking for everything at once and a way of keeping it fresh and in date. Ask What customer data do we have? How do we get it? Importantly why do we want each bit of information? Data Quality Data quality is important in both respecting your customers, reducing waste and ultimately improving ROI. Having best practice data quality processes in your business will improve all of these key measures. Communicating with customers and getting information wrong, or not respecting the relationship you have with each and every customer can be damaging to brand, trust and future sales. Ask What does good data quality look like and are we at this level? If we have any poor data how can we prevent it at source? Data Management It is important to ensure that data is managed effectively and that there are processes in place to make it usable. It is equally important that these processes are clear and understood by all employees that work with customer data. Ask Do we have clear steps to ensure that data is maintained at a high quality? Does everyone understand and know these processes? Data Segmentation and predictive modelling Now we have good clean data it is important to appreciate how segmentation can support marketing effectiveness and how we might be able to understand our customers and prospects better. Producing targeted and relevant communications that appeal to similar customer types will reduce our costs and make our marketing more effective. Ask Have we segmented our customers and does this insight support our marketing activity? Data Security Everyone in business who is involved with data must understand the core principals of data and information security. The cost and damage to your business of getting it wrong can be very painful both in terms of financial penalties and loss of reputation and confidence in your brand. Getting it wrong here will undo all of the great work being done in the previous headings. Ask Is everyone across the business clear about their role and responsibilities when it comes to data and its security? Do we have a data security plan and is it clear, understood and up to date? What would we do if we had a data security breach? If you need help with any of these steps or would like to upskill employees, a good place to start is the IDM Award in data Management. The award proves your businesses professionalism and commitment to data security and management by getting these business critical processes right.