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7 Steps to Better Data Quality

Date: April, 2013 --

New tools are emerging on an ongoing basis allowing us to have more contact with and insight into the behavior of customers and prospects as they go about their daily on and offline lives. This level of access and understanding generally translates into data. A lot of data. Managing this asset properly is often the difference between organizational success and failure in data-driven marketing, and it all comes back to the quality and proper management of the data itself.

So that said, here are a few helpful tips and processes to follow, ranging from the very basic to the advanced, that you should always keep in mind when it comes to properly maintaining your database(s).

1.       1. Ensure Data Quality First – If you start with bad data, every subsequent step will be hindered. Run your data through Address Hygiene to ensure that it is properly formatted and validated for deliverability. On average, 20%-25% of the records in a database score in the low or zero deliverability range. This number jumps to 50%-60% if you’re gathering data online via forms or other lead generation mechanisms. Tip: Reach out for a Free Data Quality Audit to ensure the validity of your data before you mail your next campaign!

2.       2. Update Your File Regularly – Cleaning your file once and assuming your data is accurate is always a mistake. People move and delete or change email addresses due an array of factors such as getting a new job. Utilize services such as National Change of Address (NCOA) and Email Change of Address (ECOA) for your house file(s) on a quarterly basis to ensure you continue to reach your best customers and prospects. Tip: Run ECOA on Hard Bounce files to attempt to find active email addresses for those that have become undeliverabile.

3.       3. Eliminate Data Silos – Many organizations still lack a 360 degree view of their customers because fragmented data is housed in multiple databases. As a completed puzzle paints a clearer picture than a pile of lose pieces, migrating to a single master database will reveal valuable insights into behavior, product affinities and much more from which everyone can benefit. Tip: An effective Merge/Purge (duplicate elimination) program will create a duplicate-free database while still maintaining the transactional and other data elements unique to the original records.

4.       4. Not All Data Is Created Equal – Study your accumulated campaign reports, and subsequent transactional data if applicable, to understand who is, and isn’t, engaging with and responding to your messaging. Create segments based on this analysis to test different communication tactics for each. Tip: Removing persistent Soft Bounce email records and chronic non-responders, such as people who have never opened an email or responded to direct mail, will boost campaign statistics and could even improve stats like deliverability, sender reputation and ROI.

5.       5. Utilize Available Suppression Tools – Not everyone is an attractive prospect for your goods or services and, as much as we hate to admit it, there are people out there will complain if they receive any marketing messages. Therefore you should always utilize available Suppression Lists for do-not-mail/pander suppression, prison suppression and deceased suppression, which are available in the US as well as select international markets to avoid unwanted issues. Tip: Maintain an active feedback loop in order to immediately suppress opt-outs/unsubscribers from future campaigns and remember to also suppress these people form rental/acquisition lists.

6.       6. Be Aware of Local Privacy Laws – One other aspect of a deliverable marketing database you cannot overlook is your ability to legally communicate with your customers and prospects in accordance with privacy statutes and other laws within individual international countries and trade blocks such as the European Union (EU). Many countries have adapted harsh opt-in requirements for all forms of marketing communication and it’s especially important to stay on the right side of the regulators. Tip: Subscribe to Data Services’ Fresh Data Newsletter to stay up to date with articles in our EU Data Privacy Series.

7.       7. Utilize a Database Platform – Pretty obvious but, try as you may, you can’t possibly hope to maintain a database with behavioral, transactional and other data in Excel and get much of anywhere. Database tools, such as those available in Data Services’ MarketView Database Management & Analytics Platform, will provide you with capabilities for advanced segmentation based any number/combination of data elements you keep on file, full campaign management and reporting features as well as analytics tools for cross-product purchase, response medium and other analysis. Tip: Want to take your database marketing and analytics capabilities to the next level? To start schedule an online demo of MarketView!

Hopefully you found something useful in one or more of these tips! Contact us at any time for a no-hassle quote or to review your database marketing program in further detail!