Why Dirty Data is the Death of a Marketer

Today’s marketers face unprecedented challenges in adjusting to those posed by new media and changing buyer habits.

Marketers respond to these challenges by trying to overcome the barriers posed by business processes, resources, and technology, but usually ignore the challenges pertaining to data. They focus on planning projects, aligning team goals, developing content, training staff, etc., but seldom clean the database used for the marketing campaign.

The importance of clean data emerges when a marketer launches an extensive (expensive, too!) and well-crafted marketing campaign with “dirty” and useless data.

The traditional problem of any large database is duplicate data, obsolete data, irrelevant data, non-standard, unformatted data and inappropriate data such as comments in an address field. The scope for errors is inevitable during the practicalities of the data gathering process. The information contained in a database normally deteriorates at a rate of about 25 to 35 percent a year. Failure to clean up and update this data causes many marketing mishaps, including:

  • Lack of correct information, such as updated contact records or preferred mode of communication, may prevent crucial messages from going through to the intended recipients
  • Failure to eliminate duplicate, obsolete or irrelevant records may cause faulty segmentation, wrong analysis and projections, and thereby misplaced efforts
  • Failure to merge related data may result in the marketer seeing many small opportunities rather than a big opportunity. Clean data extends the marketer’s ability to recognize several leads coming from the same company, several purchases relating to the same individual and more

Still unwilling to clean up your data? Might want to reconsider for your bottom line.

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