Data is one of the most important and strategic assets of your business. However many businesses are guilty of not giving their data the attention it needs.
According to ICAEW, customer data deteriorates so rapidly that if you fail to maintain it, much of it could be useless within three years! In the new digital age knowing your customer can give you a huge advantage over your competition. So ask yourself, can you afford to ignore your data?
Using outdated records can be as harmful as not using your data at all. And you’re wrong to think bad data only affects B2C companies using consumer data for marketing and email campaigns. B2B organisations can also be badly hit by out of date leads or wrong information. In fact, according to Socialnomics, in B2B there is a greater chance that a large portion of your data is compromised as corporate turnover rates can reach up to 40% each year! That’s a possible 40% of businesses who have changed their key contacts phone number or email address.
If that’s not enough to convince you to give your data a good cleanse, read on to discover 5 reasons you must keep your data up to date.
1. You have a legal responsibility to keep your data accurate
The Data Protection Act states “Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date”. Although this sounds pretty straightforward, keeping your data up to date can be harder than it seems. Inaccurate data is if the record is incorrect or misleading. One way to make sure your data is compliant is to make sure you state what each record is meant to show. For example current address or past address. This way, it will be easier to check your data is accurate and correct when cleansing. Find out more about the Data Protection Act and how to keep accurate data here.
2. Leads will be harder to track and less likely to engage with ‘bad’ data
Bad data is not just harmful from a legal point of view. With out of date data, leads will be harder to track by your sales team and customers will be less likely to engage as they might not receive what you’ve been sending them. According to Reach Force around 2% of information in a marketing departments leads databases goes stale every month. That means by the end of the year a huge proportion of your customer database could have decayed. Imagine all the time your sales team has possibly wasted calling inaccurate leads because your data is incorrect. 54% of marketers say that a lack of data quality is the most challenging obstacle to success (Business2Community). Give your marketing and sales team clean, quality data and you’re sure to see better lead results.
3. High quality data results in better marketing decisions
Clean, high quality data improves the accuracy of results therefore providing you with the tools you need to make better marketing decisions. If your customer data is correct you can make decisions in terms of content creation and campaigns targeted at data segments which are much more likely to give effective results. Customers are learning to expect personalisation and customisation from companies both large and small, and with data you can effectively target communications by demographics and interests.
4. Prehistoric data can harm your brand and customer perceptions
While high quality data can result in better marketing, old data can harm your brand image and perception which you work so hard to create. For example, if you’re sending emails to customers who opted out of promotions because this hasn’t been updated on your database you could be destroying your reputation rather than creating leads.
Duplicate records can be as problematic as harmful data. Emailing customers twice can cause annoyance. Multiple entries for a single customer could cause confusion for your marketing, sales and commerce departments. Luckily, many database systems let you run a check to identify duplicates automatically, however you never know what might be missed and it’s always best to double check when cleaning your data.
5. Clean data can help you streamline business practices
By cleaning your data you can also improve other business practices. It’s important not just to keep your customer data accurate, but also your business, employee and product data. With clean, accurate data you can see which products or services perform best through data analytics and reliable sales information. You can also keep check of payroll and avoid employee complaints, and even see if positions within the company are necessary or if they can be integrated.
Accurate data allows you to see what you did right, or wrong, in the past. For example if an email campaign went very successfully one month you can easily find out what contributed to this, whether it be the segment it was sent to or content included.
Harmful data can be a cause of many problems in businesses large and small. Incorrect data can not only cause wasted time on sales leads, it can destroy your business reputation. With clean, accurate data you can get ahead of the competition, creating personalised marketing campaigns and improving your business practices. Is it time you had a deeper look at your data?