How to Make Your Data Squeaky Clean

by Sylvia Jensen on Thursday, October 18, 2012 in Marketing Efficiency

Data can get out of hand. No question it’s a valuable part of your marketing, but sometimes it can feel like a big mess. But you don’t need to throw your hands in air.

Some of the data you think is useless can be revived. In fact, it could be just what the doctor ordered to get your campaign results backs on track. Here are some tips for getting clearn data quality and keeping it clean.

1. Naming Conventions
Standardising naming conventions can make a huge difference in data quality and keeping it sorted. Develop, apply and share naming conventions with everyone who adds data to your CRM, marketing automation system, spreadsheets and any other systems you use. Not only does this apply to contact names, job titles and industries but also to your marketing campaigns; so you can instantly see what a contact has been sent.

Create guidelines around data capture to ensure that everyone is using the same rules and data is only added in standardised formats. (For more tips on this point, check out FireMatter’s article.)

Once you’ve decided what the names are, you have to apply them. It’s worth the effort since, clean databases record better response rates.

2. Stay On Top of Data
Once you’ve gone through the process of cleaning up the database, you have to stay on top of it. Although it seems like a job that can always wait, it really isn’t difficult to schedule monthly clean-ups. ‘Monthly’ may seem too frequent, but research by SiriusDecisions has shown that the amount of data held in B2B organisations’ databases doubles every year, equalling several hundred new contacts every month.

Then set up validation processes for data that is fed in automatically from web forms to ensure that those fake names are not slipping back in. Do the same for data that is captured at tradeshows and events.

Vigilance is the name of the game in keeping databases healthy and delivering value. Between 10% and 25% of B2B marketing databases contain critical errors, don’t let yours be one of them!

3. Assign Responsibility
It’s an unfortunate reality that in most organisations, everyone thinks database management is someone else’s job. The 2012 Data Quality Insight survey, which researched 291 businesses, revealed that no fewer than 10 different job titles in these organisations, ranging from the CEO to the Customer Admin Manager, were responsible for data quality.

Although 66% of the respondents in this survey said that data quality is very important, only 40% of them had an enterprise-wide data quality management strategy. A measly 14% of them classed their data as excellent (meaning accurate, relevant and valid). So it’s not surprising that data quality is high on the list of concerns for today’s marketing professionals. Data quality is everyone’s responsibility.

There’s a whole world of data topics to dicover. Just join our MarketingCosmos.

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