…You can’t beat the system…

It was interesting to read the special report by Richenda Wilson (MW May 17), and particularly the thoughts of several contributors on the data that organisations capture on their customers.

I’d agree that there are still many firms that don’t collect the right data to understand customers, and consequently do not drive better contact strategies. These organisations seem to fall into two camps.

The first type rely on individual campaign managers deciding on the data to collect on a campaign-by-campaign basis. With the high volume of campaigns, and the short average tenure of marketing staff, it’s easy to end up with small pockets of data which never overlap enough to be usable.

The second, equally wasteful group adopt over-adventurous strategies and try to gather swathes of customer data. Customers are bombarded with lengthy surveys, or forced to complete arduous forms to register on a website. The danger of this approach is that it irritates customers, and on top of that, very little data is ever used.

Clearly, the best approach is to develop a clear data strategy to ensure that relevant and useful data is collected. Perhaps marketers should focus on developing a strategy today, or use experts to help them see their customers as individuals rather than a mailing list.

Roger Luxton

Head of consultancy

MarkIT Information Services

Newbury

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