With an estimated 40 million people moving throughout the U.S. every year (9 million of which do not leave a forwarding address), 1 in 100 getting married, and 1 in 200 getting divorced, having customer information that is verified and current is more important than ever. This means that for all of company "X's" time and money spent on name and address collection, this data could be completely obsolete within 12 months. These changes also reflect potential lifestyle and buying habit changes within an existing customer base. Try building an effective campaign management solution with outdated data? Sending a "house file" out to be cleaned periodically is not good enough either. Your data must be integrated across the entire organization for maximum effectiveness.
Here are some test questions: Can your existing system accurately identify a customer that begins shopping with a new credit card and billing address? Did he/she get married? Is there already an existing customer at the new billing address? Will you now market to 2 individuals within 1 household reducing response rates and increasing costs? This is but one example how your existing data becomes a liability rather than an asset. Being able to track these changes allows companies to more accurately predict future buying habits of its customers.
Being able to predict buying habits means meeting customer expectations. By now we all know that customers expect you to keep detailed records of every transaction, phone call, online purchase, store purchase or return. They also expect you to make recommendations based on this data. Why then would you offer coupons on "extra lean ground beef" when you should know they are vegetarian? The answer; dirty data.