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What rugby supporters tell us about data quality

by Davin Wilfrid

April 19, 2010

by Davin Wilfrid, Managing Editor, ERP Expert

The Irish Times has a neat article on the importance of data quality, using the Munster rugby club as an example. The club was mired in an endless cycle in which the team's sales (tickets, jerseys, etc.) were too dependent on victories. The trick, according to sales and marketing manager Glyn Billinghurst, was to "divorce the on-pitch performance from the revenues."

The plan of action was to foster better connections with the club's supporters through targeted campaigns. The key to success was high-quality data:

Quality of data and interaction is what counts for Billinghurst. The club sends out a number of “e-zines”, e-mailed newsletters aimed at targeted groups of supporters. Their success is not measured by the volume but by the number actually opened, a figure that regularly reaches 40 per cent, much higher than most businesses will achieve.

One carefully targeted e-zine was opened by 87 per cent of recipients.

Supporters that provide more personal information receive a more personalised service. If they give birthday details, for example, they automatically receive a personalised eCard and a discount voucher to be redeemed in one of the three Munster Rugby stores.

The result is a much larger database of customers and fewer errors (such as wiping an entire customer record when they opt out of one particular mailing). Munster is now able to get a clearer picture of its customers, and target their offerings accordingly. Billinghurst estimates the typical supporter may spend 25% more with targeted promotions.

At ERP Expert, we recently interviewed Jason McClain of Deloitte & Touche on the topic of data quality metrics. While many companies understand the value of a data governance strategy, too few of them really go through the effort to prove that their efforts are working:

“Data governance is something that sounds logical and sensible, yet many organizations find it difficult to value or judge the return on investment,” he says. “So what I’ve personally found successful is using metrics to really prove that your data is being controlled and maintained in a good fashion, that it’s not degrading. That right there can greatly improve the value of a good governance process.”

We'll publish our complete interview with McClain in the next week or so at our main page.

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