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December 23, 2019

How to keep your sock drawer (and your customer data store!) tidy this holiday season

By Anthony Botibol, BlueVenn

191223 BlueVenn Organize Socks and Data pic.png

Matching, de-duplicating, disparate storage locations… is this your customer data? Or your socks?

Have you ever been afraid to open your sock drawer because of the chaos you know will greet you? Tights tangled around socks, a potpourri of colours, types and brands, not to mention the dreaded assortment of single socks spilling over the edges, with no partner in sight.

An unkempt sock drawer is, in many ways, very similar to a messy customer database. Duplicates, mismatches, holes and the general wear and tear that happens each year… if you don’t regularly clear and maintain it, that drawer becomes a jumbled mess! And how many of us routinely put off the dreaded task of re-organizing our sock drawer, just as we do updating our database?

So, we thought the best possible holiday gift from BlueVenn would be some helpful advice on how to maintain a Single Sock View and keep your sock drawer tidy, functional and easy to navigate in the festive season.

Let the holiday sock incursion commence!

Just as the Yuletide spending spree provides retailers with a flood of new customer data, so the holidays bring a massive influx of new socks for everyone.

These traditional stocking fillers and token gifts are given to folk throughout the land, which means that it will soon be time to brace yourself for the dreaded annual reorganization of the cluttered sock drawer, an essential task if you’re ever to find a matching pair in the New Year.

Data Sock silos

Many of us retain so many pairs of socks that they overflow into multiple drawers – ‘sock silos’, if you will. Some in the allocated drawer, several pairs in the one below, others on the line, a soggy specimen left in the rim of the washing machine, not to mention the ones abandoned in yesterday’s shoes or kicked off in the night and buried under the covers. With socks, as with data, this is perhaps the most dangerous hazard to be avoided when trying to maintain order and cleanliness, making it far easier to end up with a muddle of useless single socks (with many of the intended partners left unwittingly languishing just feet away).

So, if you’re to have any hope of pulling out a matched and clean pair of socks in the morning when the celebrations are done, it’s time to knuckle down for a serious session of planning, sorting and pairing – something you’ll need to do with your customer data too, if you’re ever going to find the right piece of data at the right time to optimize your marketing campaign.

After extracting all the socks from their different drawers, you’ll need to search out fugitives hidden around the house (the hosiery equivalent of running a data planning project to uncover your data sources), then match them up. But not before you’ve removed the old socks that don’t fit any more, accommodated your spangly new festive pairs and thrown out the ones that have been vetoed as surplus to requirements or unfit for purpose by your fastidious partner (or in the case of your data, the ICO or California Attorney General).

BUT, without setting yourself a series of rules (your very own house sock retention policy) going forward, you’re just going to end up in the same shambolic mess again this time next year.

So, what rules do you need to follow to maintain an organized sock drawer (the single sock view)?

a. Ensure you match socks correctly before they enter the drawer. Remember, it can be difficult to pair up similar socks without defined matching rules (okay, they’re all black, but what about the different sizes, shades, materials and varieties of cuff). These will help sort your data too!

b. Merge matching socks using a joining rule that ensures they stay with their mates. There are several ways to merge your socks (e.g. balling, folding, gathering) and customer data (e.g. through the email address, postal code or Social Security number), but ultimately all achieve the same result.

c. Cleanse by removing unrequired or decayed socks (or data). It’s essential that you make a decision on how long to retain them. When did you last wear them? Is there a matching pair? How big is the hole? Similarly, when did your customer last buy something? Or open a communication? Or visit your website?

By following this simple schema you will ensure you remove the potential for multiple silos. Not only that, you will benefit from a new-found trust that your socks (customer profiles) will match, so that you will not need to spend an inordinate amount of time in the future sorting out the mess.

False positives

Like socks, customer data can be matched incorrectly, with ‘false positives’ and duplicates rearing their ugly heads. Plus, at certain times – the winter holidays, for example - we can have a high volume and velocity of socks (and data) from many new sources, and need to know how to fit it into our overcrowded storage facility. Otherwise, the deluge could result in additional silos that never really get used, containing solitary socks or unmatched, unusable fragments of data.

When it comes to your socks, ideally you’ll want just one drawer - the ‘single source of sock truth (SSOST)’ if you will - where you can rest assured the socks have been efficiently matched and merged.

Sound like hard work to achieve? Then perhaps you need to bring in a specialist to get your drawer in order and ensure you only have to manage the Single Sock View and that every pair inside is well kept, useable and accurately paired (notice your mother is trying to avoid eye contact at this point). Someone to build the rules and schema to ensure long-term maintenance, or perhaps make a checklist of core sock-sorter capabilities (we have a Real CDP Certification, so perhaps there should be a Responsible Sock Coordinator Classification).

The Single Sock Customer View

At BlueVenn we may not be masters of the Single Sock View, but when it comes to the Single Customer View, we’re experts. BlueVenn provides Customer Data Platforms that ensure your records are cleansed, matched, de-duplicated and kept free of holes (through patching with third party data enhancement), not just during the holidays but 365 days a year.