Eleven Rules for Managing Data
Establishing rules for database practices and reporting tend to be an afterthought for most businesses.
In credit unions, too, there are always fires that need attending while database practices tend to drop on the priority list.
Yet, problems within data are causing more distress and loss of profits than most other business practices, according to Target Marketing.
In today’s world, data is becoming among the most powerful marketing tools a business can have, and how data is handled and utilized can set a business apart from its competition. In this new environment, basic rules for database practices and reporting are essential.
Target Marketing suggests 11 “must have” rules for managers to keep in mind as they develop their own unique practices:
- Use data entry rules. Pay close attention to the relationship between how data is entered into your platform and how data will be reported. Think through the process of how the data may be used in the present and future.
- Reconcile data sets across two views. Perform basic quality checks on data by looking at summary metrics from two different data processes. For example, if you’re reporting on sales dollars, make sure the data dollars add up to what was actually deposited into an account for the same time period.
- Make quality control a priority. Where possible, automate quality control within the data. It’s easy to do with numeric data, as well as with dates and certain address elements. If a data element exceeds certain limits, it can automatically be rejected upon entry.
- Use a relevant software platform. Use a software solution for processing orders and/or information that’s proven for your marketplace and product assortment. It may save a few dollars to take orders on a platform that excels at accounting or fulfillment needs, but marketing efforts may eventually be hamstrung due to lack of data or visibility of the data.
- Consider how you will act on data. Don’t be conservative about capturing data, but be conservative about how much of it is reported at any given time. Manage time and resources when it comes to data reporting, and make sure there’s a path to using the data.
- Always test data when using data feeds. Request and test a sample of data before taking time to import or export it. This can save hours of work if the feed doesn’t process properly.
- Use key performance indicators as a guide to data practices. Every business and brand has something special that sets it apart and drives success. Figure out what that is and make sure to capture relevant data. Then consider options for reporting on this data in a way that can lead to action.
- Think outside the box. Brainstorm creative ways to dig into the data. As media channels keep expanding, “unknown” data is becoming a larger part of the marketing world. Think about how to make sense of this data and how to manage it in the future.
- Include listings and descriptions of data fields. When using data feeds or reporting, include a listing of the fields involved in the data as well as a description of those fields. While some things may appear obvious, avoid assumptions. When elements are clearly communicated, phone calls and emails seeking understanding of the data sets will be reduced.
- More data is better than less. There’s always a cost/benefit analysis that’s relevant to the value of collecting data. However, if the cost is not too great it’s good to have more data than less.
- Keep member data up-to-date. As new data arrives, either from the member or a service bureau, make it a priority to feed that data back into the software. It’s often easier to update data piecemeal rather than all at once.
© 2008 CUNA, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction is prohibited without written consent.