Little errors and miscommunications are the stuff of sitcoms on TV, but in real life, they’re anything but funny – especially to data managers. A simple typo or transposition error can make the difference between getting your marketing message to its intended recipient or missing out on a sale altogether. Prospects can’t buy from you if they don’t know you’re there, so ensuring reliable communication and high visibility through data enhancement and data hygiene processes are critical to your success.
Thinking of data as a collection of static facts and figures doesn’t tell the whole story because it omits the crucial element of time. Even if your house list is 100 percent accurate today, chances are good that some of the leads on it will change careers, get promotions, leave the workforce, or otherwise do something that renders your current state of knowledge about them inaccurate.
How quickly does it happen? Depending on industry, region, customer mobility, and other factors, data decays at a rate of about 2 to 4 percent per month. In other words, that list that’s entirely accurate now could contain 40 percent outdated information just one year from today.
Here are some of the most common data errors and what you can do to eliminate them.
What’s That Name Again?
Say you’re at a big party with plenty of animated conversations going on around you. Suddenly, you hear someone call out a name – “Hey, John, it’s good to see you!” If you’re John, you’re going to look around immediately to find your friend. If you’re anyone else, you’ll tune out that call as completely as if you hadn’t heard it at all. Your leads also tune out marketing messages not aimed at them. Getting a name right sends a clear signal even to your newest leads that you’re calling them directly.
Every Letter Counts
Email is an even more pressing reason to get every letter right when addressing correspondence. Direct mail addressed to “Jhon Smith” will probably reach John Smith’s place of business if everything else in the address is correct, but an email address is a single line of information. If even a single letter or number is off, it reaches the wrong recipient or is undeliverable. Data append services ensure that your email marketing efforts pay off by reaching the leads they’re meant to find.
How do errors creep into business lists? It might be a data entry slip-up somewhere, but more often, users inadvertently put them there themselves. Research suggests that anywhere between 35 and 40 percent of marketing data errors come from user input. Here’s where technology steps in and helps marketers correct the transpositions and typos their leads may have accidentally introduced into the database. Data hygiene processes look at the list and flag records that have similar details – “Archibald Tuttle” and “Archibald Buttle,” for example – to see if other data in the file is otherwise identical. That data is then compared against a verified source, and the inaccurate record is archived or removed. Even if leads enter incorrect data, the correct information is retrievable using data enhancement.
Dirty Data Costs You
Inaccurate data is expensive in many ways. First, it can cost you a sale; lost opportunities are unwelcome in any industry, but they’re especially expensive for B2B organizations that invest significant resources in converting. Invalid data also costs your business the effort it takes to reach your leads. Perhaps most worrying, poor data hygiene can cost you the trust of email service providers. ESPs monitor hard and soft email bounce rates, and senders whose rates get too high risk losing their whitelist status.
Considering all the ways in which little errors incur big costs, an investment in data enhancement and data hygiene makes good sense.
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