The Importance of Clean Data for Marketing
What is data cleaning?
Organizations rely on consistent data quality to ensure marketing activities are executed cleanly and interpreted correctly without any biases. Although obtaining clean data from the outset is ideal, there is often a need for dedicated data cleaning procedures to ensure the integrity of the customer data.
Data cleaning is the process of identifying and altering incorrect data in a data set. It is also sometimes known as data cleansing or data scrubbing. Common cleansing procedures include data auditing, data deduping, address validation, data consolidation, and merge/purge. These processes help companies maintain clean, accurate databases, which are essential for marketing data analysis and business success.
The importance of data quality
Finding and correcting incorrect data is an essential part of running any accurate database. While it’s always important to ensure the quality of your information at its source, stringent recording and archival protocols are not enough by themselves. Regardless of your business, data quality is needed to ensure customer service and compliance standards.
Incorrect, incomplete, incorrectly formatted, and out-of-date data needs to be identified and corrected as early as possible. Clean data is especially important when performing data analysis, with incorrect information capable of skewing outcomes and creating a snowball effect of potential problems.
The hidden costs of data and processing errors
Bad data has significant costs, especially when it has a direct effect on your day-to-day decision making. Data errors can lead to numerous problems, including wasted printing costs, misleading and inaccurate customer metrics, incorrect interpretation of test outcomes, and missed marketing opportunities.
Data errors can also cause sales conflicts, tracking errors, incorrect marketing segmentation, and customer records that fail to represent your market. While having squeaky clean data will cost you, the vast majority of businesses will experience long-term benefits from regular data cleaning procedures.
The benefits of compliance and consistency
Maintaining your database has many benefits for your business. When you have accurate information at your fingertips, you can ensure compliance and consistency on every level. Effective data analysis focuses on accuracy, which will allow you to maintain a clean customer database, facilitate a single customer view, reduce information wastage, improve customer service, and improve sales targeting.
When data is analyzed and cleaned properly, information is kept clean and results are more likely to be accurate. What this means for businesses is simple: increased efficiency, improved decision making, more efficient business practices, increased productivity, and increased revenue.
Methods of data cleaning
Data cleaning is often compared to data purging, which involves the deletion of old data from a database. But old data can be very valuable, especially when used to calculate customer lifetime value (LTV), create a scoring model, or execute a targeted reactivation campaign. While the removal of useless or garbage data is important, data cleaning is about accuracy and efficiency rather than clearing space. A data cleansing routine may use scrubbing, parsing and/or other methods to ensure customer data is placed in the correct fields and to correct invalid customer addresses. Data auditing involves the use of statistical and database methods to detect errors and inaccuracies. Comparing external data with internal data can be very useful in the auditing process.
Data consolidation is also important to discover and remove unnecessary duplication. Typically, a Dupe Group is assigned to duplicate records, allowing you to roll up the transactional data. The careful analysis of information can also be used to highlight duplication, in which case data cleansing may be used to fix the problem. Businesses have the choice to clean their data in-house or outsource the job to a data cleansing service provider. Whether you choose to do it yourself or use an outside source, the process of data cleaning should be included in the regular work flow of your business.
Whether you need help identifying and tagging duplicate customer records, or would like ongoing catalog or direct mail merge/purge assistance, give us a call today.