Professionals learn from others’ mistakes to improve their performance. If you follow a favorite NFL team, you are aware that part of the game prep is to watch films on their opponents. They study statistics from previous games and combine the two into a strategy that identifies weakness and mistakes they can capitalize on. Pre-game preparation is non-negotiable, and is crucial to the planned outcome for the week’s contest. Teams who prepare, plan and study aggressively are far more successful.
Big Data Fumbles
Remember, the NFL and your business are no different! You face competitors every day. They are in your space to beat you, and you better prepare and have a game plan on how to beat them, or you will lose.
This theory especially rings true with data and record linkage issues in business. Over the years, there have been phenomenal “fumbles” with data that have hurt the reputation and competitive edge of large businesses. These data incidents also made it into the media, where they were featured in endless news cycles. Here are three of our favorites:

  1. Target Figures Out Teen Is Pregnant –Before She Tells Anyone:  Target set off a maelstrom of outrage and privacy concerns a couple of years ago when the retail behemoth angered an unsuspecting father by sending discount coupons for cribs and baby clothes to his teenage daughter who hadn’t yet revealed her pregnancy to her parents.
  2. Bank of America Credit Card Offer Calls Customer a “Slut”: Lisa McIntire, a journalist living in California, received a credit card offer from Bank of America that was addressed to “Lisa is a Slut McIntire” and sent to her mom’s address.
  3. OfficeMax Sends Mail to Father Mentioning That His Daughter Died in a Crash: A month before Bank of America sent the credit card offer above, OfficeMax sent discount coupons to a customer and the envelope was addressed to “Mike Seay, Daughter Killed in Car Crash.” Seay’s 17-year-old daughter Ashley had died in a car crash along with her boyfriend a year beforehand.

These and many others will remain part of digital history for these businesses forever. Of course, they have had to spend millions on crisis management, PR and of course, getting their data straight! Instead of proper preparation and implementation of a proper data program, they took things for granted and failed to prepare on many levels.
Don’t let your business fall into these publicity nightmares. Let your opponent stumble and fumble. The key to preparation for the big game is to have the right teammate handling your data cleansing and record linkage programs. Data Ladder is the right partner and coach when it comes to the proper pre-game preparation. Be a pro and stop by to learn more and download a free trial of their game-winning software.