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Dirty Data & Your Marketing

Customer and prospect data is the life’s blood of truly effective marketing.  As marketers we acknowledge this, but are we focused more on the size of our databases? Is size really what matters? Ok. It matters a little, but it may be that quality matters more. When your data is old, incomplete, inaccurate (aka dirty), marketing performance and ultimately sales suffer.  In fact, in a recent DemandGen Report, it’s not only sales and marketing that are impacted. Surveyed companies noted that Finance (30%) and customer relationships (54%) are also effected.

So how bad is our data? According to the DemandGen Report, more than 62% of companies rely on marketing data that is 20% to 40% incomplete or inaccurate. Almost 85% of the companies surveyed say they are operating CRM and sales databases that house between 10% and 40% bad records.

What is bad data, exactly? It can be as simple as an email address missing from a record that is otherwise current, duplicate records, incorrect contact information for a company that otherwise meets your ideal customer target… basically, it’s any data that impedes your ability to reach the contact from a marketing and sales perspective.

With 8 out of 10 companies that their lead generation efforts have been effected by bad data, what can you do to make sure that your company is not one of them?

Here are some tips that may help you approach your polluted databases with a plan:

  • Cleanse your database regularly – Analysts suggest quarterly cleansing for databases of 100,000 or more contacts. Smaller databases can be maintained on a semi-annual basis.
  • Utilize list vendors – List cleansing can be a tedious business and for most of us, it makes sense to enlist the help of a list vendor.

When working with a vendor to cleanse your data, consider the following:

  • Make sure the vendor is the data source – Many list brokers license data, but do not have ownership of the source data. If the vendor is the data source, chances are they will be more diligent about data verification.  
  • Find out when the data was last verified and refreshed -  Unverified and old data is bad data. Make sure you’re not putting more bad information into your marketing databases.  
  • Try the data before you buy -- If you’re purchasing new lists for marketing purposes, ask for a sample list and do a test run to gauge response rate. Focus your purchase on the data that proved to be more accurate and provided the best response rate.

 Ask yourself, how much more successful can your marketing efforts be if you had clean data. Then get out your broom and do a little spring cleaning on your prospect and customer data.

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