If you’re a marketer and you haven’t been hiding under a rock for, oh, the last decade, you are well aware of how important data has become in developing successful campaigns. For a long time, the battle cry was, “More data!” Capture information from your customers and prospects–the more, the better.
But data quantity is only one ingredient in the recipe for successful analytics-driven marketing. Data quality matters as well–and it’s arguably more important as your dataset grows.
Why? Because data is only as good as it is accurate, and customer data points change over time. The simple act of getting older shifts a person’s data profile through the major stages of life: student, young professional, parent, retiree, and so on. An analysis by Biznology found that data can decay at a rate of 70% per year if left untouched.
Decaying data simply leads to more problems. If your team is working with bad data, they will get bad results, or the equally undesirable task of trying to hunt for better data to make the campaign work. The Harvard Business Review estimates that inaccurate or incomplete data can lower a marketing team’s productivity by as much as 50%.
Fortunately, a few simple steps will ensure that a good quantity of data will keep its quality over time.
- Ensure duplicates are removed. It’s easy to get the same person on your list multiple times. Maybe they sign up twice, or they appear in two different lists you aggregate. Regular de-duping is a must.
- Consider removing inactive leads after a certain period of time. Yes, pulling potential customers out of a database is painful, but so is messaging lots of people that are not, and never will be, interested in your message.
- Collect the same data from different sources. The concept of “uniformity” is important to collecting quality data. If one lead-generation form collects ZIP codes and one collects email addresses, you will have great, but incomplete, data. One way to help fill in gaps: encourage your customers to add bits of data each time they interact with you, perhaps in exchange for something of value (e.g. a case study or white paper.)
- Audit your data regularly. Putting your data set under the microscope on a regular basis is a prudent way to maintain quality. This is often best done using outside expertise (and it’s something we do often for our clients).
One other strategy worth considering: Automation. Processes such as de-duping can be done automatically. Use the power of digital not just for outreach, but to sharpen your outreach tools!
Developing and maintaining quality data sets is one of our core competencies. We’d love to talk to you about your challenges, and work with you to create more opportunities. Contact Sherene, our VP of Sales and Marketing, to start the conversation!
For more data-quality tips and insight, see the related infographic from our friends at Connext