What I do in data - Helen Poole, senior product manager B2B data, Royal Mail

Q: How did you end up in data?

Royal Mail is an exciting place to be at the moment as the organisation reacts to competitive pressures by developing new value-added services for its customers. Data is central to that. So, when the opportunity arose to join the data team, I jumped at it. It has been great bringing the Business Changes File (BCF) to the market - the most comprehensive business updating and maintenance data file available, containing data on business change including moves, out of business, relocations, and receiverships information.

Q: What is a typical day/week?

My typical day is varied from developing propositions for clients, marketing activity and promotions, discussing opportunities with key data providers and seeking further data opportunities within Royal Mail. I balance developing our capabilities with the need to manage my customers' requirements.

Q: What clients problems have you helped solve recently?

We recently presented a business case to a leading B2B mailer, which had to prove how it would save money for ongoing data maintenance and printing costs by updating its data. We are currently profiling and analysing its data, maintaining its large database and supplying new prospects and specific audiences.

Q: What are the key issues facing data marketing?

Keeping on top of change. Data changes so rapidly that any database can be seriously out-of-date within months. With business data, for example, every six minutes a business closes down, every nine minutes a business moves - so tracking business addresses can be a challenge. Regular maintenance of databases is imperative to keep them as up-to-date as possible.

Q: Any advice for people entering the data industry?

I've found that a lot of people outside the industry view data as something very dry and dull.

I've discovered just how diverse and important data can be. It can influence every element of a business plan. I suggest that anyone thinking of joining the data industry thinks outside the box - they will soon learn how diverse, complicated, flexible and important effective data management can be for any good company.

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