What is Poor Data Quality Costing You?


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Your data is a valuable asset. Especially in today’s world of faster consumers, your data needs to be in tip-top shape to target, engage and convert prospects. If not properly maintained, you risk any number of lost opportunities, decreased efficiency, and a negative impact to your bottom line.

Marketing data has become so important that 97% of companies feel driven to turn their data into insights, according to the 2015 Data Quality Benchmark report by Experian. According to the research, the top three drivers include:

  • 53% – Wanting to understand customer needs
  • 51% – Wanting to find new customers
  • 49% – Wanting to increase the value of each customer
  • Chart reason for maintaining high quality data

Reason for maintaining high quality data (1)Companies are clearly motivated by the opportunities that data represents – especially as it relates to improving interactions with customers and prospects. We have all heard that today’s consumers are more informed and have more choices than ever. Data has become the crucial driver when it comes to acquisition, retention, identifying cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and improving customer experiences. However, the correct insights to accomplish these goals can only be derived if the underlying data is accurate.

Although companies understand the need for high quality data, 92% of organizations believe their customer and prospect data is inaccurate in some way. The level of inaccurate data is also climbing. The study revealed that 35% of US organizations believe that 32% of their data is inaccurate. This is up from 25% in one year’s time.

Ninety-seven percent of companies suffer from common errors associated with contact data alone. The three most common errors are incomplete or missing data, outdated information and inaccurate data.

Most common data errors (1)

So what exactly is poor data quality costing organizations? The research shows that 83% of companies believe revenue is affected by inaccurate and incomplete customer or prospect data in terms of wasted resources, lost productivity and communications spend.

While companies may understand that data quality is an issue, implementing a data management system seems daunting. The majority of companies cite lack of resources such as budget, talent, and time as the biggest barriers to getting started. However data quality management doesn’t need to be an overwhelming task nor does it need to happen overnight. Processes can start small and grow over time and even seemingly small improvements can have a big impact.

Here are several improvements that are easy to implement and can bring big pay offs:

Real Time Verification Services

Many data errors occur at the initial point of entry. Consumers are increasingly engaging with businesses across online channels and filling out any number of online forms, many times with incorrect information. Through the use of real time web services, this information can quickly be tested, corrected, and entered into a marketing system through real-time web verification services.

Consider these scenarios where real-time services can be used to correct and fill in missing data:

Scenario 1 – Typos
Maria is an avid shoe shopper and is visiting a large shoe ecommerce site. Maria fills out a news and special offers web form and provides her name, email address and City/State. The retailer always asks for City and State so they can provide email offers for the local retail store if there is one close to the prospect. While filling out the form Maria does not type her email address correctly. Instead of [email protected], she types [email protected]. The retailer can use real-time web services to confirm the data provided during every online transaction. Using the full name and city/state that Maria provided, they can correct the email address in real-time before it is added to their customer database.

Scenario 2 – Not Enough Information
Jonathan Sauer is shopping for life insurance online. The insurer whose site he is visiting has found that visitors do not want to provide more than 3 pieces of information on their web form. Form abandonment goes up when a 4th piece of information is required. Generic responses to web inquiries do not generate successful conversions, so the insurance company has a screening model that predicts with great accuracy the best insurance product and offer to deliver to a prospect if they know the following:

  • Age
  • Family status
  • Occupation

Jonathan completes the fields on the web form which are simply name, phone, and email address. Using these three fields, the important data fields are appended from a national consumer database and his contact record is scored in sub-second time via the model.

The email response that Jonathan receives within seconds of completing the form contains information on the insurance product that is best for him, and an attractive offer to encourage him to call or request further information.

Contact Data Verification and Enhancement

Data decays at an average rate of 2% per month, which means you can expect 25% to 30% of your organization’s contact data to go bad each year under normal circumstances. With 97% of companies experiencing inaccuracies in contact data, a relatively simple way to maintain contact accuracy is through a third-party data provider who provides phone, email and address enhancement and verification services.

Email Append & Validation
Email marketing continues to be an important digital channel producing an average ROI of $44.25 for every $1 spent. Unfortunately, people change their email address, people leave jobs, or email addresses may simply be missing entirely from a customer or prospect record. Without much time or effort on your part, an email data solutions vendor can quickly correct and fill in these missing details. For example, a provider can append email addresses to postal addresses, and vice versa, validate addresses by flagging potential undeliverables, autocorrect syntactical errors, identify spam traps and complainers and more. Additional data elements can also often be appended to records such as phone number, age, income, presence of children, and numerous other demographics for a more complete customer picture.

Phone Append & Validation
Similar to email services, phone append solutions can be utilized as an easy way to maintain phone record hygiene. For example, existing residential and business telephone numbers can be verified, missing phone numbers appended to records, or name and address data can be provided for telephone numbers with reverse phone append processes.

Mailing Address Append & Validation
Every year approximately forty million Americans move their place of residence and/or business, but their old addresses often remain in mailer’s databases. As a result, mailings continue to go to old addresses and not the new ones. It is estimated that at least 8% of all mail is undeliverable because of incorrect addresses. Customer and prospect records can be run through National Change of Address processing (NCOA) to identify and update the addresses of people and businesses that have moved.

PCOA (Proprietary Change of Address) is another important address data hygiene process which can provide a significant return on investment. On average, only 65% of moves are reported to the US Postal Service each year. PCOA is a type of change of address processing that collects data from sources (banks, credit cards, magazine subscriptions, etc.) that have new change of addresses which were not reported to the post office in the traditional method: NCOA. For marketers and fundraisers trying to keep track of current customers and donors, that means a possible attrition rate of thirty-five percent.

Data is no longer a commodity that can be taken for granted, but the real value is only equal to the quality and accuracy of the data being used. Learn more about enhancing your web forms with real-time data services.

Larisa Bedgood
As Director of Marketing for DataMentors, I have a deep understanding of today's data-driven marketing environment, including key components such as Data Quality, Business Intelligence, and Data-as-a-Service (DaaS). I manage and coordinate all marketing functions, including lead generation goals, event and project management, and corporate communications.


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