One of the interesting – and worrying pieces – of feedback we have been getting here at REaD Group during the Covid-19 crisis is around use of data hygiene products. As more and more businesses move on-line to reach and engage their customers, there seems to be a feeling that this removes the reason to clean the customer base.
The logic seems to be that if there is no mailing planned, and therefore nothing physical going to the address, then there is no need to ensure the person is still at that address, hasn’t moved or passed away. We have had this feedback from a university, a major retailer and a smaller charity.
I’m sorry, but I have some news for you – this isn’t a choice, it is the law!
Under section 5.1 (d) of GDPR, copied for interest below, the guidance is to ensure you keep any names and addresses you hold up to date. And not just because you might want to mail them or send something to them.
But don’t take our word for it, check with your compliance team.
Of course, there is a reason for this and it is about consumer trust. If I share personal details with you, I expect you to keep that information up to date. It is the least you can do really. As a consumer, I will try to share with you information on when my circumstances change but sometimes I will forget. So, using available tools to do so makes sense.
And that trust manifests itself in many ways, I will buy more from the brands I trust, that I believe are doing the right thing, that treat me in the right way.
Talking of brand, there is another side to this. One that is sadly very relevant right now and that is that some of your customers will have passed away. If you do not put measures in place to ensure you are screening your data to identify deceased contacts, could cause serious distress and brand damage. At REaD Group, we feel this is so important that we have created The Bereavement Register (TBR) Daily. TBR Daily allows you to match your data against the deaths that have been registered the day before to keep your data as up to date as possible.
So next time you find yourself thinking that you don’t need to clean the data that you hold – because you are currently not mailing – please think again! For your benefit and for the end consumer.
Relevant statement in the GDPR Article 5.1 (d):
Personal data shall be;
(d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay (‘accuracy’);
We are now well and truly embedded in the 4th industrial revolution. With the transformative development and adoption of technology has come the dramatic increase in the volume and importance of the fuel that drives that technology – data. Having been working in the data industry for more than 30 years, I have seen ﬁrst-hand the dramatic growth and impact that data is having on consumers and businesses.
The stats are staggering – IBM research from 2019 calculated that 90% of the data that exists today was created in the last two years and the IDC estimate that over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day at the current pace. Stop and think about that for a moment. That’s a phenomenal amount of data to collect, process and hold, however data savvy you are! And with this vast – and ever growing – volume of data comes greater responsibility. In the GDPR era, that responsibility has legal implications and the potential for business damaging ﬁnes and reputational damage.
The old adage ‘garbage in, garbage out’ has never been more true or more important for businesses. Good quality data means better business decisions, better marketing and more proﬁtable relationships. As a strong proponent of responsible data management and, transparency, I am talking to clients and partners every day about data quality and I am encouraged that this is now very much on the agenda.
Ultimately, the message is simple – treat your data assets with the respect and care they deserve and reap the many rewards.
By Chris Turner, Head of REaDConnect, REaD Group
Data Quality isn’t sexy. I’m under no illusions – and I won’t attempt to convince anyone otherwise! In the data world it has always been overshadowed by the much more exciting work conducted by insight and data analytics teams. Personally, when I think of ‘data scientists’ I picture individuals with futuristic-looking headwear concocting miraculous solutions and shouting ‘Eureka!’.
However, by ignoring the first step of ensuring that your data is up to date and accurate you impact on the success and profitability achieved by these subsequent (albeit more glamorous) data projects. No longer something to be put off or overlooked – data quality should be championed and recognised as the bedrock to campaign success!
As well as being fundamental to campaign performance, it is crucially now law to keep data up-to-date and accurate! Article 5.1d of the GDPR clearly states that:
personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay.
Since the Regulation’s implementation and the ICO’s ‘Your Data Matters’ campaign (designed to educate the public about its rights under GDPR), consumer expectations around data quality have never been higher.
Research finds that 72% of consumers expect companies that hold their data should get it right every time or most of the time. But what they actually experience is a different story, with almost half of consumers stating that companies get their data wrong sometimes or more often than not. [GDPR Impact Series 2018: Accuracy and Relevancy]
There is also the potential for costly brand damage to consider. An individual who has recently moved address and is still receiving the mail of the previous occupant will most likely be less than impressed and less likely to use the brand who is sending them inaccurate mailings. Furthermore, a bereaved family who are still receiving mailing addressed to a deceased relative will be caused unnecessary distress and anguish.
No longer a burden!
The important thing to remember is that data quality should be a priority for all companies, not just larger business. While in the past data cleaning often involved a lot of manual processes that took up a lot of time and resources, the entire process can now be automated. Easy to implement, cost-effective solutions that are delivered in real-time are now available, such as REaD Group’s REaDConnect.
25% of businesses say that accessing accurate data is a problem
The reasons for general data hygiene have never changed, and it is high time that businesses realised their obligation to comply with GDPR. More than this, however, this all ties into the underlying principle of the new Regulation: putting the customer first. It may not be sexy; it may not be glamorous – but data quality should now be top of the agenda. Clean your data and the rest will follow.
Contact us today for your free data quality consultation!
According to a recent dun&bradstreet report, The Past, Present and Future of Data, one in five businesses admit they have lost a customer due to incomplete or inaccurate data.
And this was identified as being a challenge across businesses of all sizes: 25% of businesses with over 500 employees, 32% of businesses with between 250 and 500 employees and 16% of smaller businesses (0 -10 employees) having lost customers as a result of using poor quality data.
That’s pretty damning stuff. Particularly when you consider that it costs anything from five to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain one. Even at the lower end of that scale, very few businesses can afford to be losing customers, revenue and sacrificing hard won LTV at that rate.
Data has undoubtedly become an integral part of how businesses function today, but it is essential to ensure that this data is the RIGHT data.
58% of businesses worry about the accuracy and completeness of their data [dun&bradstreet – The Past, Present and Future of Data 2019]
Continuing to market to the previous address of individuals who have relocated will waste precious marketing budget (which could be better allocated elsewhere) and risk losing contact with customers who may become lapsed as a result. The current occupiers of that property will also be far less likely to engage with a brand that is inundating them with a previous-tenant’s mail.
Similarly, failing to screen for deceased contacts in your database will also waste marketing spend – and more importantly will have the potential to cause distress to the families of those still being contacted. Why risk damaging your brand’s reputation? Furthermore, why risk inviting penalties from the ICO for non-compliance to GDPR Article 5?
In these competitive times, with consumers that are more demanding and less loyal than ever, losing customers due to inaccurate data is pretty poor business and, in reality, a very easily avoided reason to lose a customer!
As the memories of Christmas overindulgence and lethargic bliss begin to fade, we must begrudgingly turn our attention to the new year. Back to business. While the usual resolutions of healthier eating and gym memberships may, in some cases, not last till the end of the month, there is a certain resolution we recommend you make in 2019…and stick to! Quite simply – CLEAN YOUR DATA.
Data is the cornerstone to any campaign. By using poor quality data, you immediately put yourself at a disadvantage and this will have a knock-on effect to the rest of your marketing endeavours. Ensuring your data is clean and accurate from the start will provide the best foundation for all subsequent activity.
Not Just Good Sense, But Law!
One of the key requirements of last year’s new data regulation (GDPR) is that inaccurate data must be rectified and cleaned without delay – or deleted (Article 5(1)d). The primary focus for many companies in the lead up to GDPR’s implementation was understanding the legal bases for processing data, with the majority concentrating on consent. However, it has been very encouraging to see more and more businesses acknowledging their obligation to data accuracy.
We have it on good authority from some of the UK’s leading retail brands that data quality is high on the agenda for 2019:
‘‘to ensure we hold the most accurate and up to date customer data, as well as continuing to fulfil our obligations under GDPR and relevant mailing requirements.’’
Customer trust can be very difficult to cultivate. With a number of scandals surrounding data occurring last year this is more true now than ever. Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the data they share, and increasingly savvy when it comes to data protection law and their rights. In research conducted by REaD Group last year we found that more than 70% of consumers expect their data to be accurate [Source: Accuracy and Relevance – GDPR Impact Series 2018]. The tolerance for companies getting it wrong is decreasing all the time.
The risks of brand damage incurred from using poor quality data are huge. In the age of social media, headlines are no longer necessary for news to go viral – anyone with a Twitter account can now wreak untold damage with 280 words and a well-placed hashtag!
More than the prospect of brand damage, companies now have a duty to consumers to be transparent and responsible when handling their data. This is, after all, why GDPR was introduced. This responsibility extends to ensuring that data used for campaigns is accurate.
Unnecessary distress and anguish is caused by continuing to contact deceased individuals in your database – and will certainly make most people think twice about continuing to use your brand in future. Many consumers now consider it a given that companies make the effort to keep track of relocations and goneaways.
Unlike dragging yourself out of bed at silly o’clock for that early morning run or eating that quinoa salad (while your colleague demolishes that burger and chips) – data quality doesn’t have to be a struggle! With established and trusted data quality services such as GAS, TBR and GAS Reactive from REaD Group – available via a choice of flexible delivery methods to suit organisational and technology requirements, it is now achievable and affordable to optimise the accuracy of your data.
Start this year right – contact us today for your free data quality consultation!
By Jon Cano-Lopez
So, it is 184 days – or six months if you prefer – since The General Data Protection Regulation – aka GDPR – became enforceable.
In the run up to the enforcement date – and in the months following – there has continued to be a huge amount of uncertainty and misinformation around GDPR and in some cases some down-right panic mongering. The avalanche of re-permissioning messages in the weeks preceding May 25th was testament to a prevalence of some database damaging advice.
One data protection lawyer we know likened it to watching lemmings throwing themselves off a cliff!
However, despite the hysteria and here-say the threatened “GDPR data apocalypse” has not materialised. And as we reflect on 2018 and the period since “GDPR day” here are some reasons to be cheerful…
Embracing the spirit of GDPR
REaD Group have been consistent in our view that GDPR is a good thing for consumers – and for business.
And six months on, our view has not changed. In fact, we are even more confident that embracing the principles of the GDPR will only enhance direct marketing – increasing transparency and trust and leading to more positive, long term and profitable relationships between consumers and brands.
The Regulations are not about catching out businesses (who are doing the right thing!). They are about the enforcement of practices that should be in place anyway. Keeping your customers and their rights, privacy and preferences at the heart of your business and being transparent in how you are processing personal data will not only help to protect you from the risk of fines but also enhance your brand reputation, value and relationships. Ultimately, if you are doing things right, it will be reflected in your bottom line.
The Data Economy is thriving
And although the reference to data being the “new oil” has been somewhat over-used, there is truth in the concept. Projections from European Data Market Study for the growth of data economy are extremely positive, with the value of the data economy in Europe projected to be worth €739 billion by 2020.
The rise of the CDO!
Gartner have predicted that through 2019, 90% of large organizations will have hired a CDO.
Another indicator of the growing importance of data is the rise of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) – elevating data strategy to Board level. The appointment of a CDO in many organisations – and across diverse industries – indicates a growing recognition of data as a driver of value and competitive advantage. Data driven decisioning is increasingly becoming a business imperative.
Results from the latest IPA Bellwether Report also provide cause for cautious optimism, with total marketing budgets revised higher during the third quarter of 2018, extending the current period of growth to six years.
After an initial period of post-GDPR caution and inertia, there has been some signs of resurgence for direct marketing, with many businesses successfully utilising third party data and direct mail for acquisition marketing campaigns under the Legitimate Interest basis.
The industry view is also optimistic. In independently conducted research, over 78% of direct brands asked have projected equivalent or an increase in spend on data driven marketing.
Third party data – use it responsibly and reap the rewards
Well, we have been saying this for some time, but to borrow from the recently published DMA advice: Using third party data under the GDPR.
“There is nothing in the GDPR that prohibits the use of third-party data provided that it is undertaken in the right way, with the appropriate safe guards.”
The message is clear – and provides much needed clarity for marketers. The direct marketing industry should have the confidence and conviction to continue to use responsibly sourced and permissioned third party data to optimise the quality and value of their data and data strategy.
Plus, new ways of utilising open source data have provided more opportunities to target direct marketing to addresses – using postcode level data to send partiality addressed mail.
GDPR data quality obligations – don’t bury your head in the sand!
There is a growing realisation that the data quality obligations introduced by GDPR cannot be ignored. Article 5.1 (d) is clear – reasonable and demonstrable efforts must be made to keep all personal data held and processed by a business clean and up to date -or deleted.
Our independent survey indicated those who utilise data quality services appreciate “not having to worry about the accuracy of contact lists when launching marketing campaigns”.
And data quality is now being seen as a ‘must do’ to ensure compliance with GDPR, minimise wasted communications and limit potential reputational damage.
Rapid innovation in technology is also impacting positively on data driven marketing – with developments in DaaS, AI and machine learning delivering even greater opportunities for data optimisation, enrichment and real-time interaction.
Key take aways from the last six months? Businesses and marketers should see GDPR as an opportunity to be more responsible and accountable, to get their data and data strategy in order – get it right and the future is bright!
‘In a fast-paced world, today’s popular brand could be tomorrow’s trivia question.’ – The words of late PepsiCo Chairman, D. Wayne Colloway, have never been more relevant. For many businesses, the need to stay on the pulse and react to unforeseen or last-minute changes is crucial. Missing a beat can be very costly.
In an ideal world, every campaign would be meticulously planned and crafted, with a contact list that had been equally scrutinised with a fine-tooth comb. Sadly, very few are afforded such luxuries!
Undoubtedly, the level of reactivity required can alter drastically depending on the nature of a business. In some instances, we may be talking about a number of weeks, but sometimes it may be a matter of days, or even hours!
If we take, for example, the charity sector, and more specifically Disaster Relief Charities, it is imperative that the turnaround on campaigns is as fast as can be achieved. When funds are desperately needed, and lives are at stake, speed is everything.
The recent earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia left hundreds of thousands of survivors in urgent need of food, water and shelter. As soon as the news broke, many Disaster Relief Charities would have immediately begun putting together lists of supporters to appeal to for donations.
However, with the major overhaul in data protection law in May of this year (GDPR) there are considerations that must be taken in relation to the data being used for these campaigns. In accordance with article 5(1)d of the GDPR:
‘every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay.’
This potentially makes things difficult when putting campaign lists together when time is of the essence. If you need to send out a campaign urgently, you can’t afford to waste time waiting for an ad hoc data clean to be completed. This can often take up to 2-3 working days at which point the initiative has been lost and response rates can be lower.
Putting aside the risk of fines that might be incurred from contacting goneaway or deceased contacts under GDPR, a far more serious and harmful prospect is that of costly reputation and brand damage.
In response to these challenges, REaD Group have developed Data as a Service (DaaS) – a new real-time delivery model that provides access to REaD Group’s market leading data cleaning solutions, on demand. As data is cleaned in real-time, you can rest assured that data is accurate, up-to-date and campaign-ready at a moment’s notice.
Ensuring that campaign data is accurate and up-to-date is now required by law, but this doesn’t have to restrict reactivity when time is short. Whether you’re a disaster relief Charity responding to a recent event or disaster, a travel company capitalising on current weather conditions or a retailer making the most of current affairs – there is a need. A need for speed.
Contact us today if you’d like to know more about DaaS!
Marketers spend hours meticulously crafting the campaign message, creative and a compelling call to action. Then when it comes to the data to fuel the campaign – often the same attention to detail isn’t applied. Even the most creative campaigns can fail if the data is poor quality and inaccurate – containing gone-aways and deceased contacts or incorrect addresses for example.
Here are 5 really good reasons why data quality should be (at least) as important as the creative and CTA….
Keeps you on the right side of the GDPR data quality requirements
Keeping ALL of your data clean is also now law with the advent of the GDPR. Article 5.1d is explicit: you must keep data accurate and up to date or delete it!
Reduces the risk of brand damage – does your brand want to market to deceased contacts?
Marketing to the deceased is bad practice and bad news for your business, causing unnecessary distress to relatives and risking costly damage to your brand reputation. It is so easy to avoid by using a trusted data cleaning partner, so why risk it?
The better the quality of your data, the better it will perforM! good quality data will help you increase revenue, reduce costs and make better business decisions
The phrase “rubbish in, rubbish out” is well known and often used. It is also very true. Your data is a valuable, strategic asset and maintaining its accuracy and quality should be a priority across your business. It should not be seen as a one-off task but as an ongoing process of improvement. Research by The 451 Group, identified the top 5 benefits of good data quality as:
- Increased revenues
- Reduced costs
- Less time spent reconciling data
- Greater confidence in analytical systems
- Increased customer satisfaction
Your customers and prospects expect their data to be accurate
Recent research conducted by DataIQ and REaD Group confirmed that consumers expect the data held about them by brands they interact with to be accurate.
72% of consumers expect companies that hold their data should get it right every time or most of the time. But what they actually experience is a different story, with almost half of consumers stating that companies get their data wrong sometimes or more often than not! [GDPR Impact Series 2018: Accuracy and Relevance]
It has never been easier to achieve!
And while it has never been more important to your business to keep your entire database clean and accurate, it has also never been easier to implement and maintain.
With established and trusted data quality services such as GAS, TBR and GAS Reactive from REaD Group – available via a choice of flexible delivery methods to suit organisational and technology requirements, it is now achievable and affordable to optimise the accuracy of your data.
Download our handy infographic below!
By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group
Many have likened the impending GDPR to a data apocalypse and the end of marketing as we know it. Certainly, if you have been brazen enough to ignore the new regulation altogether and failed to prepare then it is most likely a ‘data hell’ that beckons. However, your actions in the final days before the changing of the guard from DPA to GDPR (and beyond for that matter) will determine whether it’s an apocalypse that awaits, or a nirvana.
There have been countless examples over the years of companies committing data blunders and ‘bad data’ seriously affecting consumer’s perception of a brand’s image. Indeed, research carried out in 2016 found that two thirds (66%) of consumers said that they would boycott organisations that continued to send mailings to a loved one that was deceased .
Given recent events surrounding misuse of data and growing unease and distrust from consumers around how their data is used, it seems likely that this figure will only have grown.
In 2014 a woman in California received a credit card offer from Bank of America addressed to ‘Lisa is a…(well, let’s just say a rather offensive word that rhymes with mutt…) McIntyre ‘. A photograph of the offending letter was shared on Twitter and subsequently went viral. While this is perhaps a fairly amusing example of inaccurate data backfiring – and luckily for the bank in this case Lisa saw the funny side – it certainly highlights the importance of ensuring that your database is clean before running a campaign.
Similarly, there is the infamous ‘Dear Rich b**tard’ incident, which has now passed into marketing urban legend. After doing my own research into the origins and validity of this story I discovered that this particular gem of a blunder was carried out by a small UK based company in the early 1990s. After a programmer classed poorly formatted data under the placeholder phrase ‘Rich B**tard’ this was never updated, resulting in mailings being sent out addressed ‘Dear Rich B**tard’. A small mistake to make, but one that could have been far more serious, and costly. Interestingly the company was later contacted by a prospective customer who was indignant that he had not been contacted in this manner as he felt that he qualified for such a title!
I remember a bank a few years ago who mistakenly mailed all of their suppressed records (including deceased and goneaway contacts) instead of suppressing them. As you can imagine they were inundated with complaints from angry consumers…but at the same time received an amazing response rate!? Rather than advocating this mistake, this merely promotes the argument for keeping track of relocated consumers and looking at new occupiers.
Perhaps one of the most distressing and horrific mistakes related to inaccurate data happened in 2014 to a recently widowed woman from Cardiff. After her husband passed away she was bombarded with mailings from her husband’s mobile provider demanding overdue payments and offering new tariffs and deals. Despite attempts to inform the company that her husband had passed away, the mailings continued and became less friendly in tone. Following three visits to a branch, on one occasion bringing her husband’s ashes and death certificate with her, the matter was finally resolved after a huge amount of unnecessary distress and anguish to her and her family had been caused.
This is an extreme example, but the brand damage and bad publicity such an error could cause is enormous – the coverage of the story was incredibly widespread at the time. But it could all have been so easily avoided.
With data cleaning solutions readily available, and with the advent of DaaS (Data as a Service) allowing data to be cleaned in real time, there really is no excuse for having data that is not accurate and up to date.
Article 5 (d) of the new Regulation states that data must be kept accurate and up to date or deleted. This is not something that is up for debate or a nice-to-have, but something that will be enforced in law. Failure to comply with this aspect of GDPR will result in potentially hefty fines from the ICO.
 Wilmington Millennium, The True Cost of Mailing the Dead: Brand Damage, 2016
We are now less than two months away from the day that has been striking fear into businesses across Europe (and beyond) for the best part of a year – 25th May 2018. However, there is a particular aspect of the new regulation that many have overlooked, assigned a low priority to or simply ignored. The regulation is a comprehensive document containing 99 articles in total, but Article 5 (Principles relating to processing of personal data) appears to have slipped under the radars of many.
GDPR Article 5 (1) (d) requires that data be accurate and kept up to date or DELETED. Once the implementation phase of GDPR ends on May 25th and the regulation is enforceable, this will be law – no ifs, ands or buts.
‘‘(…) personal data shall be:
d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;’’
There is no doubt that data has become an integral part of how many businesses function today, but it is crucial to ensure that this data is the RIGHT data.
Why lose customers and prospects altogether or cause your brand reputational damage by failing to comply with Article 5 when there is a simple solution? The truth is that data accuracy is no longer a nice-to-have but a necessity – it is something you MUST do.
The law is changing and GDPR takes a far stricter stance on data accuracy than its predecessor, the Data Protection Act; in addition to potentially incurring the wrath of consumers, failure to comply could result in a substantial fine from the ICO.
In the last 12 months the majority of businesses, and the media, have continued to panic and focus their attention on the consent aspect of GDPR, but the ICO is very clear that all clauses carry the same importance and weight. Hoping for the best and assuming that the term ‘reasonable steps’ justifies taking no action is naïve at best and arrogance at worst. Investing in a solution that ensures that data is kept clean and up to date on a regular basis, or even in real-time with Data as a Service products, is most certainly a reasonable step.
Recent ICO guidance confirms that postal marketing can be conducted using the basis of Legitimate Interest (LI) under GDPR. This will undoubtedly result in many more brands incorporating direct mail into their marketing mix over the coming year. It has therefore never been more important to ensure that postal data is accurate and up to date.
By continuing to market to the previous address of individuals who have relocated, you are not only wasting marketing budget that could be better spent elsewhere, but also losing contact with a customer that may subsequently become lapsed. Furthermore, the current occupants of that property will be far less likely to engage with a brand that is inundating them with a previous-tenant’s post.
In a similar respect, failing to screen for deceased contacts in your database is a similar waste of marketing spend, but more importantly one that has the potential to cause undue distress to the families of those still being contacted. Why risk tarnishing your brand’s reputation? Equally, why risk incurring penalties from the ICO for non-compliance?
It is not too late to take the necessary steps to ensure you are GDPR ready in relation to Article 5. Keeping data accurate by removing and keeping track of gone aways and screening for deceased individuals will not only be complying with GDPR, but also boost the performance of marketing campaigns and save time, money and resources by not marketing to people who will not receive the communication. Where GDPR is concerned, the message is clear – CLEAN it or LOSE it.