Don’t Call Me Shirley

October 9, 2016 | #ReIgnite

Sometime in 2015 (yeah, that recently!) I received an email from one of my banks. I have been and remain a client since 2001 when I worked for a brief time with the institution. To the point of the email – it was a misplaced call to escape the job market by taking a course as a make-up artist. Not the Hollywood Avatar type but the brush and powder on a lady, or some gent type. Ouch!!!

Well, to make the point, I have nothing against make-up artistes. My only problem was receiving this email from a bank that should know me well enough into our over 15 years’ relationship, asking me to ‘quit the job market’ when my transactions by them showed I was nowhere near desperate for a job. Did someone mistake me for Shirley??

The mailer called to mind the comedy, Airplane, voted in 2012 as number one in The 50 Funniest Comedies Ever poll.

Striker: “Surely you can’t be serious.”

Rumack: “I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley.”

There are always 2 sides of a coin but only one side holds the value of the currency. It’s a good thing to engage with customers via using mailers. The idea is to engage and be top of mind. It should warm the client up to the brand. The opposite could happen as well, where rather than a warm-up, a mailer makes you cold towards a brand. Consider a greeting that addresses a male as ‘Madam’ or some other off-the-mark item? Certain clients could be less forgiving.

To the matter, this could be a simple case of poor data quality or poor thought to the mailer. Perhaps there was no use of customer data or profiles in determining who the emails went out to, and the emails were sent out as a simple broadcast. Worse still would be that the mailers, and whatever other efforts at engagement were based on poor quality data. To think that these systems posit me as a 21-year old unemployed lady would break my heart.

Business decisions, something as simple as who to sell what to as a means of increasing profit must be based on data. Gone be the days of the thumb suck or shooting in the dark. That would be a complete waste of marketing spend. Imagine that mailer was sent to 10 million customers at a cost of $0.01 per customer? At a 50% fail rate, as in my case where it was an obvious miss, that would be a straight forward $500,000 loss, an errant waste of the marketing budget. Or consider the case of a wrongly routed shipping that fails to arrive at the client when expected and also costs the retailer more than the optimal shipping cost? Don’t even start me on trying to pass on the cost of the faulty shipping to the buyer. Really? Address verification should definitely be a better idea, right?

These are very simplistic cases. With data integrated across many different platforms into marts that drive marketing and related efforts, data quality health checks are an absolute necessity. Otherwise, that may well be money down the drain, or worse still even rubbing the customer on the wrong side.

Customer data correctness and enrichment are important functions within a business. It is absolutely essential that this effort receive the necessary attention, and that the right tools are put to use. There are a couple of these available for different use cases and just as varied budgets. Oracle Enterprise Data Quality comes to mind for the enterprise. 

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