Data hygiene is an essential part of modern marketing. With clean data, you’re able to craft targeted messages and deliver them to precisely the audience that’s most receptive. Scrubbing away invalid email addresses, merging duplicate records, and purging files of incorrectly entered data are necessary steps to deliver a specific message where it needs to go.
From upgrading your data management software to hiring a database management company to organize and optimize your data, defining new methods of cleansing your data is an investment. Here’s what to consider when assessing your data hygiene options.
Bad Data Costs Money
If you’re working from a spottily maintained list, you know about the most obvious cost of incorrect information: the effort spent in creating and sending to invalid addresses. Email costs per mailing are low, but what about direct mail and telemarketing? Costs can mount quickly when you factor them in.
There’s an indirect way in which dirty data costs you, too, and that’s with future deliverability. The deliverability of your email contributes to the overall level of trust ISPs have in your marketing program and ensures higher deliverability of all your marketing materials in the future. In other words, cleansing your data today has the power to affect everything your email marketing team does from now on.
There’s also the opportunity cost bad data incurs. If you can’t deliver to your leads, they can’t act on your offer because they never see it. It’s hard to estimate how much such losses can cost an organization, but in the B2B sector where sales cycles are long and each lead represents a significant investment of effort, losing even one prospect hurts.
While dirty data has costs associated with it, so does data hygiene. Whether you’re taking paper files digital, making legacy systems work together to share data, or training your personnel to follow best practices in data management, you’re going to invest in your improved data management structure.
The good news is that proper data hygiene will improve the value of your data both directly and indirectly. You’ll deliver more mail to its intended recipients, which pays immediate dividends, but you also derive more value from the information you have on your leads. When you know your data is correct, you can then use it to understand and serve your marketplace better, making future campaigns more precisely targeted.
How to balance the cost of maintaining bad data with the price of upgrading to a marketing automation system and database management solutions that keep your data in perfect working order? Set goals for what your data hygiene implementation should achieve, assess the true cost of bad data (which is often larger than you might think), and know the limits of your budget. These are realistic goals companies might set for themselves:
- Fitting data to its purpose. For email, that may mean achieving 99 percent or greater deliverability rates. For direct mail, that could involve comparing addresses against the U.S. Postal Service’s National Change of Address (NCOA) database.
- Fully automating data hygiene processes so that archived data and incoming data are handled in ways that make it instantly accessible and organized.
- Hiring a data governance officer to ensure the health and hygiene of the marketing database and all the information it contains.
- Setting verification standards for data that exceed industry minimums.
- Working with a marketing company that offers full-service database management and marketing automation solutions that can adapt as the business grows.
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