How Dirty Is Your Data?

 In Data

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Excerpt sourced from Forrester May 2018 Report: How Dirty Is Your Data?

As consumers’ privacy concerns grow, marketers must rethink their data practices. Today’s data governance practices — the rules that guide what consumer data a company collects; how it stores, transfers, and manages that data; and how it uses and disposes of that data — are nebulous at best and dangerously misguided at worst. Marketers must redefine how their organizations treat customers’ personal data.

Strong data governance can prevent privacy infractions.

US online adults tell us they don’t trust organizations to respect their privacy — in fact, 43% say they’re likely to cancel an online transaction if they see something they don’t like in the privacy policy (Source: Forrester Data Consumer Technographics North American Online Benchmark Survey Part 1, 2018). We find that most incidents of data misuse are the result of misguided attempts to improve marketing effectiveness with overambitious use of available data. For example, Gillette’s campaign that welcomes men on their 18th birthday to its line of shaving products has also erroneously targeted women of all ages. The only thing that can prevent these mistakes and help retain consumer confidence is a rock-solid, organization wide data governance policy.

According to Forrester's Data Consumer Technographics North American Online Benchmark Survey US online adults tell us they don’t trust organizations to respect their privacy — in fact, 43% say they’re likely to cancel an online transaction… Click To Tweet

A marketing data governance policy should address 5 key issues:

1. Failure to strategically curate data capture

Throughout the information age, conventional wisdom has been to capture everything; as data continues to proliferate, though, this becomes both impractical and inappropriate. For example, most online services — like music streaming or file storage — shouldn’t require a physical mailing address if customers are paying with PayPal. Likewise, mobile apps should only collect information about customer location when it’s relevant to the app’s utility. Marketers need to pay attention to what’s actionable, appropriately collected, and clean.

2. Failure to define and abide by “appropriate use”

In some cases, companies may have a valid business reason for collecting a data point — a cable provider capturing the presence of a child to prevent adult content delivery, for example — but may then utilize that data for inappropriate marketing uses. In other words, just because a consumer is willing to share certain data doesn’t mean that marketers can use it for other, frequently unapproved, purposes. Companies don’t define how they use customer data well enough in their privacy policies, and this leaves them wide open to scrutiny.

3. Failure to revalidate data

When’s the last time your firm gave customers a chance to correct or delete the data you store about them? In most organizations, the answer is “never.” Sephora, the cosmetics retailer, does a terrific job of this; every January, it sends customers an email asking them to update or correct personal information, interests, and contact preferences. Most companies don’t, and as a result, they sit on stale and often incorrect customer data.

To see the remaining 2 key issues download the entire Forrester May 2018 Report: How Dirty Is Your Data?

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