In a world full of more information than ever before, we need data management more than ever before. Progressive data management is a way to do just that, but what exactly does this term mean when it comes to direct mail? Essentially, progressive data management is much more than a buzzword thrown around across industry lines. It’s a way to help businesses understand the data they manage and store for their company.

Why would a company be more “progressive” about the way they manage their data? Simply put, they need a way to speedily implement and utilize the data they already have. Since businesses of all sizes are bombarded with more data than ever before, it’s essential that they learn how to make the most of this information if they want to stay competitive.

Our economy is a sophisticated place. The marketplace is rapidly shifting and evolving. Whether a business has access to quality information can make a major difference in how successful an organization is in this landscape. In Experian’s 2018 global data management benchmark report, they discovered that 95% of C-level executives believe data is an integral part of forming their business strategy.

We can all agree that data is becoming something that can be monetized as a business asset. In this guide, we’ll take a deeper look at what exactly progressive data management is and how companies can use it to push forward into 2019 and beyond.

progressive data management example
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The Goals of Progressive Data Management

As we mentioned above, progressive data management is a way to draw meaning and value from data that is collected within a business or industry. This data is used to discover customer and client needs and to make better business decisions.

The world is creating a massive amount of data. It’s hard to comprehend just how much data is out there, but we can put it in numerical terms. In 2010, there were 2 zettabytes of data created. By 2025, that number is expected to climb to 163 zettabytes. That’s a number that’s hard to even conceptualize.

Why focus so much on all of this data? Why are the tides turning now to make this data so important? First, the past way of managing and analyzing data was simply inefficient. Data wasn’t stored properly, and by the time it had been analyzed it was already obsolete. Progressive data management seeks to shorten the implementation process to make sure data is used in a timely, accurate fashion.

Next, progressive data management is goal focused. It helps companies focus on their business insights in a way that moves the needle forward. Data is not used frivolously. By improving the company’s focus on its long-term and short-term goals, there’s less scope creep when it comes to managing their own data.

Last but not least, businesses create better products or services. Because they have greater insight into their customers or clients, they know how to create things that better suit their needs. This makes the competition more fierce between organizations, but it also works better on the customer side.

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Direct Mail and Data Management

All of this is well and good for digital data, but what about physical, direct mail marketing efforts? Is data management only applicable to digital methods of marketing and digital customers? In short, no. Using those goals above, we can apply progressive data management in the same way.

For instance, data management allows direct mail marketers to better know their customers. Because you can successfully implement a campaign based on known data (ie. demographics like age, education, income, etc), there’s much more room for growth and success.

In addition, the data management system allows for a better way to manage this data and ensure it’s up-to-date, like updating old addresses. A direct mail campaign is only as effective as it’s accuracy of addresses. If you’re not using accurate addresses, you’re already at a disadvantage.

Factors Affecting Data Management

Let’s take a close look at the many factors affecting data management today for both direct mail marketing and digital marketing. While you could potentially create a never-ending list of things that have an impact on how and why we use data, these are the most relevant in today’s world:

  • The rise of the customer experience. As noted in the Experian study above, 60% of organizations agree that improving customer experience is one of their biggest reasons for collecting data. Creating customized campaigns is key to diving deeper into the user experience
  • The problem with human error. There’s a focus on AI technology when it comes to utilizing data simply because human error is the largest cause of data inaccuracies. As we said before, this can be catastrophic when it comes to the success of direct mail or digital campaigns.
  • Data belongs to business leaders, not IT professionals. In the past, the responsibility of managing data has fallen on IT personnel. Today, that’s shifting back to the business leaders, managers, and even everyday employees.
  • The breakdown of data silos. Similarly, “data silos” are quickly being broken down to make data more accessible to employees of all levels who can rely on it to make smarter decisions.
  • Regulation and privacy concerns remain a primary focus. Finally, changing legislation and privacy threats offer an opportunity for businesses to strengthen and refine their data management practices.
example of progressive data management
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Progressive Data Management Best Practices

Finally, we’ll identify best practices for using progressive data management in this day and age. While these methods are likely to grow and evolve in the coming years, it’s important to take any small steps today to keep up with industry changes.

Be mindful of security.

Of course, one of the most pressing best practices is to be aware of your security requirements. Data breaches are a serious concern no matter your business size. Even small and medium-sized businesses experience average losses of $120,000 per data breach. Investing in a backup system and training your employees about data security are both key practices.

Finally, don’t make the mistake of thinking security only applies to the digital world, either. Security in terms of data is essential for all types of data, including physical information for direct mail campaigns.

Ethically gather information.

Similar to security, you need to be ethical about how you gather information from your customers. You just have to look at Facebook to see why this is so essential to your business reputation. In addition, thanks to recent regulation changes like the GDPR compliance laws, it’s important to be careful.

Invest in smart management solutions.

Data management storage is usually referred to as customer relationship management (CRM). You can find a number of tools that are GDR and safety compliant, but you’ll want to make sure it’s a good fit for your business needs.

Verify your data.

If your data is inaccurate, it’s a waste of both time and money. Data doesn’t last forever. You’ll need to constantly find ways to source better, more valuable data, and you’ll need a strategy for verifying the data you do have. One common issue for businesses of all sizes is email verifications. You can learn more in this article about verifying emails. Performing a data audit needs to become a natural part of your data strategy.

The Future of Progressive Data Management

Data management isn’t new by any means, but it is changing quickly. The ways of managing and using data in the past are no longer relevant, and if you want to make an impact, you’ll need to learn these new ways to use data. What data do you use on a regular basis? What are your data goals?

From gaining customer data for physical mail outreach to managing your CRM, all of these pieces of the puzzle need to come together in a cohesive way. It’s time to join the 21st century of data.

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