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OPINION: Postcard from data land

  Mark Roy, chief executive, Read Group Mark RoyGreetings from data land - where all is, I'm afraid, far from fine and dandy. B2B marketers and database managers may think they dodged a recent Eurobarometer bullet that delivered the stinging news that 64 per cent of EU citizens are baying - justifiably - about how their data is being (mis)handled by organisations. But considering, according to QAS, that only 42 per cent of UK companies currently have any form of data quality strategy in place, perhaps our B2C cousins shouldn't be the only ones in the data handling cross-hairs.

I won't bore you by citing the well-worn stat about how the average B2B database degrades by upwards of 35 per cent each year (much more than B2C's comparatively meager 14 per cent). And as a suppression file provider, I am only too aware of the high churn rates, expense and complexity associated with maintaining business data. But with new Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUT) promising fines of up to £5,000 or two years in prison for companies who ‘continue to make persistent and unwanted solicitations by telephone, fax, email or other remote media except in circumstances and to the extent justified to enforce a contractual obligation', keeping B2B data clean and up-to-date is no longer an ‘optional extra' - it's now a legal necessity.

So the message to all marketing cowboys (and cowgirls) who persist in playing fast and loose with personal data is: Time y'all got out of Dodge. That message isn't solely coming from the regulatory Sheriff, either. Your marketing colleagues are also getting fed up with the collateral damage your actions are inflicting on an otherwise responsible, self-regulating industry.