Data Services Drive Growth
Data is the bloodline for an organization. When healthy, it drives operational efficiencies, ensures accurate and actionable insights and can be used to optimize the customer experience. However, data also challenges the organization: $3.1 trillion is the yearly cost of poor quality data in the U.S. alone - a shocking figure. For those who deal with data, the impact bad data can have is serious and crippling.
Print service providers (PSPs) understand the impact of bad data and have been leveraging data quality tools for decades to overcome it. In the printing industry specifically, the demand for data quality solutions was driven in part by regulations enforced by various postal authorities to reduce the amount of Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) mail to help drive down costs of mail delivery, and in part by the industry’s desire to reduce its own operational costs associated with return mail and duplicate pieces.
However, PSPs’ customers don’t necessarily understand the effects of data quality. The quality of the data they receive from customers can be summed up as, all over the place and at times, it gets messy. There are customers that are always going to present data issues because of how they manage their data at their own organizations.
PSPs are not the data owners, but they do need to be able to process it efficiently. That means time, money and resources are spent to optimize their own data automation processes. As a result, PSPs have developed significant expertise over the years in transforming customer data to meet the quality and standards needed to ensure operational efficiency and excellent results. With their familiarity with data management, PSPs are in an exceptional position to leverage these skills to create additional value to the organizations they service.
Enterprise marketers lack the level of data sophistication PSPs have developed. During a recent survey, marketers were asked, “What are the most critical challenges to achieving data-driven marketing success?” The top answers were data management basics: data integration, data quality and enrichment. Marketers’ main data-related challenges are obstacles that PSPs can help them overcome. And marketers are generally open to the idea of outsourcing and service partnerships in today’s complex marketing technology landscape, especially in areas where they lack the needed skills or technology.
Unfilled Desire for Clean, Consolidated Data
With each passing phase of a customer’s journey through discovery, evaluation, purchase and experience of a company’s product or service, the customer may be leaving different breadcrumbs of data as he or she interacts with the organization. Data is being collected online, through social channels, call centers, mobile devices, via sales and marketing efforts, and third parties. The result is that the organization often relies on a complex mix of scattered data. Bits and pieces of the complete customer picture are scattered across the organization with differing levels of quality.
According to an InfoTrends study, 80% of marketers surveyed realized that a data quality strategy is critical for their customer and marketing databases. However, more than half of those companies surveyed did not have regularly enforced data management best practices. In a CMO Council survey, only 13% of marketers felt there was a data strategy in place that the entire organization understood and was working toward.
Help is needed. Without an accurate and complete view of the customer, organizations struggle to understand preferences, tailor communication, respond to customer needs quickly and, ultimately, optimize the customer’s experience.
The Holy Grail of Customer Understanding
Creation of a personalized experience has been referred to as a “holy grail” when it comes to customer experience, communications and marketing collateral. Marketers experience a huge lift when data is used to personalize the message. Data enrichment deepens reach and the understanding of the customer by leveraging additional internal and external data sources to append additional data attributes, allowing for a more complete view of the customer.
Leading types of data enrichment include augmenting with additional contact, demographic, financial, interests and hobbies, lifestyle and life event data. Marketers’ desire to know more is backed with a data enrichment strategy.
However, most marketers are not executing the strategy alone. According to the InfoTrends study, the majority of the companies were leveraging a third party to perform data enrichment services with a substantial total spend of $8.5 billion and a mean of $1.5 million.
The Opportunity for Print Service Providers
According to InfoTrends, these data services represent a double-digit growth opportunity with the highest propensity to outsource data services within the mid-market firms employing fewer than 5,000 people. Marketers’ willingness to outsource is blended beautifully with the need for a partner with expertise.
Marketing agencies are already stepping up to fulfill these data-driven needs, but with PSPs’ long and deep experience in data management, they are in a perfect position to capture a share of this opportunity by participating in the data value chain. There is an opportunity for PSPs to transform their data savviness into service offerings that overcome the challenges so many marketers face in dealing with customer data: integration of disparate data sources, improving data quality and providing data enrichment.
These are classic data management problems easily solved with expertise in data profiling, standardization, cleansing, matching and merging the disparate sources of customer data into an accurate and complete single view - expertise print service providers can offer.
Corrie Brague is director of product marketing management for Quadient, formerly GMC Software. She leads the product marketing management team and helps to drive the direction of both mailing and data quality solutions based on customer and market insight. Brague has more than 19 years of experience in data quality and mail automation software solutions, having worked at Firstlogic, Business Objects and SAP in various roles, including software engineering, development management, program management and product management. She has co-authored two books on enterprise information management, contributing expertise in data quality, ETL (extract, transform, load) and information governance.