Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Quality Data helps us go GREEN!

Yesterday was another day of coming home from work late and having to force the door open to get past all the junk mail inside. After picking up, taking into the kitchen and spending 10 minutes going through I was yet again presented with another fine example of poor data quality (i.e. the majority of organizations really don’t have a grip on their customer data let alone the ability to household).

3 copies of a news letter from the same software company (no names mentioned!), the exact same letter from a State Insurance agency for both my wife and I, and then two copies of the Crate & Barrel latest summer catalog addressed to me (how on earth I became registered on their list I’ll never know!).

I wonder what the impact to the environment would be if organizations simply got a better understanding of their customer data and improved their marketing functions alone?

So once I finished my nightly chore of “shredding” I did some quick research to see what sort of impact to the environment today junk mail has. Check out the following facts listed by New America Dream:
  • More than 100 million trees’ worth of bulk mail arrive in American mail boxes each year – that’s the equivalent of deforesting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months. (New American Dream calculation from Conservatree and U.S. Forest Service statistics)

  • In 2005, 5.8 million tons of catalogs and other direct mailings ended up in the U.S. municipal solid waste stream – enough to fill over 450,000 garbage trucks. Parked bumper to bumper these garbage trucks would extend from Atlanta to Albuquerque. Less than 36% of this ad mail was recycled. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

  • The production and disposal of direct mail consumes more energy than 3 million cars. (New American Dream calculation from U.S. Department of Energy and the Paper Task Force statistics)

  • Citizens and local governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to collect and dispose of all the bulk mail that doesn’t get recycled. (New American Dream estimate from EPA statistics)

  • California's state and local governments spend $500,000 each year collecting and disposing of AOL’s direct mail disks alone. (California State Assembly)

With companies trying to put on a more “Green” face you would think this would be a nice eco friendly place to start. Imagine the impact of cutting bulk/junk mail in half by just knowing who your customer is and the fact that you may have multiple that live at the same address?

Even though the challenges surrounding customer data are not new, more is being spoken in the industry around Customer Data Integration. Check out Tony Fisher’s article on TDWI for an introduction on Data Quality and the Emergence of Customer Data Integration as well as go directly to such vendor sites as DataFlux and Trillium Software for innovative solutions that work to address data quality challenges, deduplication and relationship identification.

Lastly while not being one to solicit an audience, if you do have any interest in helping the environment and stopping all that junk mail look at GreenDimes. I signed up last night… I’ll let you know how it works out!

1 comment:

Sanjiv said...

GreenDimes here,

Thanks for signing up to our service. Thanks for putting up those stats - saw some new ones i hadn't seen before - $1/2 million on disposing disks? who uses disks anymore :)