Kaizen, Japanese for "improvement", or "change for the better" refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes. Kaizen was original used by Japanese companies to improve manufacturing processes and ultimately the quality of their products. Popularised by the well-known management guru and statistician Edwards W. Deming, who introduced his statistical methodologies to top management of leading Japanese companies in the 1950s, !960s and 1970s. Through this on-going measuring and adjusting, extraordinary results were achieved, not only in manufacturing, but in product quality, service, sales and many other areas. The Japanese commercial invasion of the US and Western Europe in the second half of the last century is well documented. A great deal of credit is attributed to this never-ending process of improvement that transformed Japanese businesses and enabled low-cost, better-quality products and services.
This very same approach is the best way to create outstanding marketing data. You don’t need high-level statistical knowledge or complex time-and-motion studies of all your processes, but the simple act of regularly measuring marketing data and reviewing it will propel you to the top 5% of companies that take time to consistently improve data quality to achieve more sales and significantly improved marketing ROIs.
What is Outstanding Marketing Data?
Outstanding marketing data is data that meets the goals of your marketing strategy which is likely to maximise sales revenue, leads, lead nurturing conversions, cross-selling, up-selling, etc. Because of the importance of these numbers, they are measured and reported to senior management. The numbers are used to assess the contribution of these activities against targets, comparisons against past experiences and are used to forecast revenues. The analysis of these numbers allows you to improve your marketing results, Kaizen is already at work here – measurement and review is already happening here at senior management level.
Marketing results improve as you test, adjust, test, adjust, … , test, adjust all your campaigns. Through this constant process of improvements, your marketing campaigns deliver greater and predictable results.
Outstanding marketing data maximises the results from these campaigns. Let’s look at a simple scenario. You have an email campaign to drive prospects to attend an Exhibition (could be a seminar, a breakfast meeting, a webinar, etc.) Now assuming the email is targeted at your ideal prospects, you would like as many prospects to attend as possible. From the exhibition, you convert 1% of prospects into sales. If your database is missing emails for your ideal prospects, then 1% of these would convert to sales. You can calculate this value exactly – the value of lost opportunities directly attributed to not having the right emails.
In this case, outstanding data is having emails of the ideal prospect data. The more accurate and complete these emails are, the greater the marketing results will be.
What Marketing Data Should I Measure?
This depends on the type of business you are in, but if you send email campaigns then email addresses are important, if you mail direct marketing campaigns then postal addresses are important, if you have a telemarketing team, then phone numbers are important, and so on. Names and/or company names should always be measured and must be of good quality, nothing worse than poor data quality affecting your reputation.
In marketing terms it’s not only the number of companies or contacts, but how much data do you have of your target universe. You may have 100% contact data accuracy, but only 10% of the possible market availability. Measuring against target universes is also important.
When and Where to Measure Marketing Data
So, deciding what to measure is more or less easy to do, just match your marketing ROIs and target universe sizes to your data. The more difficult question is when and where should I measure this data. We need to understand how data behaves to answer this question correctly.
Firstly, data degrades over time. For B2B businesses contacts move, businesses change ownership, businesses terminate for varying reasons, etc. For B2C business, customers change address, change names through marriage, change telephone numbers and have multiple email addresses, and so on. Your data is worse today than it was yesterday simply because changes are occurring daily.
Secondly, data is sometimes entered in poorly. As human beings, we are all guilty of entering poor data, we may only enter some of the data or simply make typing mistakes. Whatever the reasons, the end result is poor data or missing data.
To get started, there are three key measurements projects that should take place:
1. Baseline Measurement – Create a measurement system as the base of what the data quality is right now. This could be simple as the percentage of valid emails present or the percentage of mailable addresses. See Acuate’s Seven Dimension of Data Quality for ideas on measuring data.
2. Data Entry Measurement – Create management reports that highlights the errors in data for individuals who regularly enter data as part of their daily job, such as, call centre staff, salespeople, support staff, etc. The reports should be reviewed once a month (or an interval that suits your business) and corrective action taken.
3. Degradation Measurement – Either through industry reference data or telemarketing campaigns you can determine the level of degradation in your data. Once known, you can remove the data that has degraded; ensure more data is entering into the database to replace the outgoing data. The idea is to increase the size and accuracy of your database over time.
By creating processes, reports and corrective actions for the above three measurements, significant improvement in marketing results will manifest. Applying Kaizen to these processes will accelerate you marketing abilities and give you that outstanding marketing data to fuel your business.