Data quality has never been easy, but it used to be simple. Marketers defined quality as the completeness and accuracy of information in their systems. This reflected the simple goal of the marketing database itself, which was to create a central location holding all information about each customer. This unified view provided the foundation for all customer treatments, ensuring a consistent, coordinated experience across all channels throughout the customer lifecycle.

But marketing is no longer so simple. Companies now interact with customers and prospects in many situations where the individual is not tied to an existing marketing database record. These include anonymous website visits, social content consumption or creation, appearance at known geographic locations and membership in behaviorally targeted Web audience segments. Although individuals can sometimes be identified in those situations, the programs are valuable even when they cannot. Pragmatic marketers will, and should, continue to run them regardless of whether they fit the standard database marketing paradigm.

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