Cleaning big data can pose a real challenge to marketers. Customer buying habits change, people move, and they get new phone numbers and email addresses. Incorrect or missing data can severely hamper the effectiveness of a company’s marketing campaign or customer service efforts.
These moving targets make it vitally important for organizations to think about storing and accessing information so they can use it most effectively. Here are some easy places to start when it comes to cleaning up data, streamlining storage, and making it easier to use.
Set Goals for Data Retention
A lot of organizations meet just once or twice a year to discuss big data issues, many even less frequently. Many fail to set goals about how long data should be kept, when it should be updated, and how it can be verified. This failure leads to inaction. Often an organization will hold on to everything because they’re afraid of purging something important. These days, leadership teams require that employees store data for longer periods of time.
Engaging customers helps keep information up to date, because there are so many points of contact. The goal should be to find multiple ways to reach customers and integrate them into the overall marketing strategy. If one point of contact fails due to bad data, there are other methods for reaching them.
By engaging with customers and prospects through their buying lifecycle, you can start to form metrics around how they shop or when they are willing to offer personal information. A data collection schedule can be built and updated around the rhythms of the customers.
Reduce Redundancy and Duplication
Anyone who has spent time in business has dealt with redundancy. Multiple versions of a file, document, spreadsheet, or email attachment can create all kinds of archiving problems and take up massive amounts of storage space.
Storage-based data deduplication uses technology that can inspect large volumes of data and identify files that are identical, saving a single copy.
Here’s an example: A company email goes out to 1,000 employees, each containing a one megabyte (MB) file attachment. Every time the company’s email platform is backed up, all 1,000 individual attachments are saved, requiring 1,000 MB of storage. Data deduplication allows you store a single copy of the attachment, freeing up the extra storage space.
Tier Storage for Easier Access
By now you’ve figured out which data points are the most important and you’ve found an efficient way to capture the info. The next step is storing information so you can access it quickly. Data that isn’t used often can be stored on hard drives on or off site. Data that must be accessed frequently can now be easily stored in the cloud where multiple users can access it.
Create Quality Data
Classifying, cleaning and uncluttering big data is a great start, but it’s just the beginning. It won’t do much good if the content isn’t up to date or pieces of it are missing. Incomplete data can severely disrupt applications used for everyday business processes. Data editing tools can be customized to help scour data sets for inconsistencies based on rules you provide.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Working with big data isn’t just a once and done process. These principles can help clean and strengthen existing data sets, but should also be considered when capturing incoming information. The more you streamline and refine the collection process, the easier the clean-up will be later on.
Gary Galvin is the president and founder of Galvin Technologies. Gary started Galvin Technologies in 2003 and has grown the company from a one-person company to one of the largest web development companies in Indianapolis. He started the company with the vision of having a web and software development company that set the standard for how projects are to be properly run. By focusing heavily on building robust software project processes and ensuring on-time and in-budget delivery, Galvin Technologies has been able to become a leader in the industry by building client services that continue to grow revenue and a senior level team.
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