Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap

Nobody likes their dirty data to be aired in an expensive marketing campaign. In fact, it’s a marketer’s worst nightmare. A-ZGovBIZ have compiled a few dirty data must-know facts that will help you avoid campaign failures in the future.

dirty data

What’s Dirty Data?

Dirty data can take many shapes and forms including duplicate records, incorrect information, inaccurate data (eg incorrectly punctuated or spelt), data that violates business rules and laws and data which is incorrectly formatted. Often dirty data will exhibit a combination of these problems.

What Impact Can Dirty Data Have?

A study by research company Experian says dirty data can have a huge impact on a marketing budget. Their global report showed that 92% of global companies are aware of the fact their data may be inaccurate. In the eyes of Experian, this means wasted budget.

For a database to add value it has to be accurate, timely and must follow strict rules. Failure to follow data rules or establish a clear data taxonomy guideline will result in systematic inconsistencies across titles, phone and fax numbers, department names, addresses, customer types, industries, etc.

5 Threats to Clean Data

• Contact/organisation attrition or churn

Customer churn is described by WikiHow as “the cumulative turnover in customers that is experienced during a given period of time, allowing for new customers to replace all or a portion of those who have been lost”. Churn is a fact of life that no organisation large or small can avoid but it can be minimised and from the database point of view must be managed. The customer’s experience can be affected by the way we as the supplier engages with them. If your data is dirty your customer’s experience may be affected.

• Unclear data rules or failure to follow data rules

A database is only as good as the information that is put into it. Without clearly defined data rules and staff procedures the database will quickly deteriorate. Inputting clean data is much simpler and cheaper than finding and cleaning dirty data after it has been entered.

• Failure to effectively manage database assets enterprise-wide

Databases do not necessarily save time in fact they often create more work. Databases allow you to access information in a more complex and efficient manner. If your database is not accurately maintained or adding value to your organisation then modify your approach and work out a better way of managing your information.

• External databases brought in that follow a different taxonomy

If your database is costing you money by negatively affecting customer experience, poor outbound marketing results or inaccurate marketing analysis etc. it’s time to assess your options. One approach is to have your marketing database mapped and matched against a trusted third party source. Use this source as a benchmark but remember to ensure the taxonomy of the data is matched against your in-house rules before importing the data into your system.

• Inadequate resources allocated to database management
Collect what adds value to your organisation; otherwise you are creating a hungry monster that will demand more and more resources to maintain.

A-ZGovBIZ provides data mapping and matching services. Contact us for a free quotation and discussion on how your in-house government, health and education data can be re-vitalised.

Michael Bleakley is a journalist, communicator and marketing professional of 25 years. His career began in his early 20’s publishing tech magazines for education. Michael’s career then moved into online and book publishing for a global business publisher, then finally into database publishing and marketing at A-ZGovBIZ.

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