This series of articles provides an overview of TAFI, an acronym that states an organization’s marketing data must be Trustworthy, Accessible, Fresh, and Integrated to be actionable. This is the fourth article in a series of five, and its focus is on Fresh data. In my previous articles, I discussed my career prior to Dovetail as Director of Operations for an environmental company that did work in the petroleum industry. Even though that was over 15 years ago, we were concerned about Fresh data then too, but back then our word for Fresh marketing data was “Evergreen”.

I remember people in my old organization being concerned that we could not keep our data Evergreen. And they were right—keeping data Fresh/Evergreen was a significant organizational weakness. Our business was performing leak detection on underground gasoline storage tanks. We would pull data from several databases into files and use those files for various types of analysis, planning, and execution. A key part of our operations and marketing centered around how many tanks we were monitoring and for which customers. This is where Evergreen, or Fresh data was essential.

We had a major oil company customer that had 2,500 tanks eligible for monitoring, but we were only monitoring 1,500 tanks. To determine these quantities and who to contact, we used extracted data from several systems. We wanted to use this data to upsell our customers and bring the additional 1,000 tanks onboard for monitoring. Our customer was large and we communicated with numerous contacts across several regions via multiple channels. It quickly became apparent that as time passed, the classification of an active or inactive tank was not always correct. Our data had quickly become stale, and we had no idea how to keep it Fresh.

Additionally, we would also use our data to suppress current customers from our prospects, engaging in acquisition marketing. But this suppression data would sit on the shelf and become out-of-date. I remember our CEO saying in no uncertain terms that we cannot be marketing to existing customers because a) it made us look terrible, and b) there were downward price pressures in the industry, and if we marketed to a current customer, it was likely at a lower price than they were currently paying, causing a large problem.

As the head of operations, it was obvious to me that our lack of Fresh data was hindering and in some cases greatly damaging our acquisition and upsell efforts, in many ways the life blood of our company. It’s a truth of marketing and business: Fresh data is essential. As a database marketer, you need your marketing data to be perpetually current. Your marketing data must be updated and ready-to-use at all times. A Fresh marketing database is characterized by the following:

  • Updates to your marketing database system are performed frequently, most likely on a daily basis.
  • If you are like most organizations, Recency is the most important aspect of your RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary), and Fresh, updated data allows you to fully capitalize on how you market to recent purchasers.
  • Your marketing database effectively supports time-sensitive offers and promotions because you keep your data in a perpetually Fresh state.
  • Your Fresh marketing data provides a framework for your dynamic database marketing initiatives, allowing you to act with agility in your campaign deployment.
  • Automated lists and triggered campaigns are effectively supported and easy to enact because your Fresh data supports them.

Fresh marketing data is essential to your database marketing efforts. With the proper marketing database solution, your marketing data is always up-to-date, Fresh, and ready to act upon. Fresh is the third component of TAFI, and one of four key traits to attain and maintain actionable marketing data. The next article will discuss Integrated, the “I” in TAFI.

The next article in this series is The “I” Stands for Accessible Data.