B-to-B Insights: Think Small Data
When I was in school, there was a guy on our basketball team who could dunk like it was nobody's business. Left hand, right hand, two hands behind his head, you name it. He also had the unfortunate habit of dribbling the ball off his foot and ricocheting it across the court. He sat the bench.
Many companies that jump into big data projects are like this hapless basketball player. They're trying to dunk before they even know how to dribble. Effective big data projects start with the fundamental element of data hygiene.
Clean and connected data, especially in a B-to-B environment, is essential. In fact, if your existing data is clean, you'll often find that small data — e.g., what you already have available — does the job just fine.
B-to-C retailers have it comparatively easy when it comes to data hygiene. Though some wealthy customers have more than one home, most consumers have a single residence that can be confirmed through National Change of Address (NCOA) and Delivery Point Validation (DPV). With a consumer mailing, if you're accurate on both of these counts, chances are your piece is landing in the correct mailbox.
B-to-B retailers have it a little tougher. Sure, NCOA and DPV apply to any business address. You can get your piece to the correct mailbox. The real problem starts once your mail piece enters the maze of corporate America. How do you ensure that it will get routed to the correct person?
Don't Forget to Clean
Data hygiene projects can seem overwhelming. They can be expensive, and in the end you have exactly what you started with — your own data. But what a difference clean data makes! You'll see improved deliverability rates and more accurate information on who is responding to what. You'll make better informed decisions on what to mail to whom. This information translates into more efficient mailing efforts that both save and make more money.
Here are key data points that are essential for improved mail deliverability for B-to-B retailers:
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.