The term ‘data cleansing’ sounds boring, almost insignificant. But if a company fails to maintain correct, clean information in its marketing databases, the cost to the business can be extremely high.
The term ‘data cleansing’ sounds boring, almost insignificant. But if a company fails to maintain correct, clean information in its marketing databases, the cost to the business can be extremely high – and not just financially. Corpdata explains why.
For more than a quarter of a century, Corpdata has been supplying business lists to companies across the UK. So it certainly knows a thing or two about marketing B2B information.
The Devon-based company prides itself on being accurate, displaying the motto ‘business data you can trust’ on its website.
Get it wrong, and it can cost companies lots of money, as well as reputational damage, which is probably far more important in the long term.
If you are planning a direct marketing campaign, then the stakes have never been higher to make certain the list you use is spot on.
Getting your mailing list right
In addition to the obvious fact that your marketing data should be accurate and legally compliant, there are many things that can go wrong in the compilation and organisation of data: Structuring, formatting, spelling, duplication, bad use of spaces, just to name a few.
Before a company’s brain boxes can even contemplate using information, data cleansing should be considered.
So what is ‘quality data’? First, it needs to be relevant to the marketing campaign. Second, it must be accurate, regarding names, addresses and other details. All the details which are important to your business when you want to communicate with, and target, the right audience.
One simple illustration of what needs to be checked; business details can alter with time, in fact Government figures show that roughly one in eight companies dissolve each year, and many more re-locate, while people within companies switch jobs, leave or even change their names, all these and more impact on both accuracy and so results.
The introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has brought with it significant additional risks, in the face of inaccurate data being used for direct marketing.
This means there is now an obligation to maintain accurate data, which needs to be maintained – not just uploaded and ‘forgotten about’.
Keeping Data Clean
Maintaining data in-house can be quite straight forward, if you are dealing with departments and people on a daily basis and the issue of maintaining accuracy is sufficiently important. But commonly keeping tabs on information and its accuracy is often a lot more difficult – for obvious reasons – and this needs to be remembered.
You could manually check details by ringing contacts individually, although this can be expensive and time consuming, and it still might not be possible to speak to every single person.
Another approach is to match and update your database with one you know to be accurate. This can be quicker and more cost effective.
If you have particularly valuable data, then a combination of these two approaches could be used.
And if you do ask a third party to help you with your data cleanse we suggest you should never take anything for granted. At Corpdata, we explain everything there is to know about data processing to our clients, from A to Z.
We also advise companies we speak to that before undertaking data cleansing, always carry out a test run using sample data, to make certain information does not become lost or corrupted during the process.
Involve the following in the test run:
- Find things you know are no longer accurate.
- Make up a data set with a suitable test size, approximately 100 records.
- Ask for a test match and update.
- Look at the results and evaluate how effective the work has been.
- Check accuracy against known changes.
- Check the number of records with any changes.
- In case of doubt, sample a few changes either by phone or on a website to determine accuracy.
Don’t forget, you are looking to establish that both ‘reference’ data and matching processes meet your needs.
Matching Systems – they need to WORK
Corpdata’s system for matching data has been developed in-house, to return the highest number of genuine matches while returning almost no false-positives, the latter can be can be hugely problematic. Our pre-processing comprises of over 70 data cleansing and standardisation routines for each individual record. We search for all sorts of potential discrepancies and inconsistencies, such as ‘&’ and ‘and.’ A company’s telephone directory is another area where formatting can differ greatly, when it comes to international numbers and irregular use of brackets.
Our systems are also quick, and can check one million supplied records, against our two and a half million ‘reference’ data set, in a little over a minute.
Removing Duplications – It’s Really Worth It
We all amass information as we go about our business. Yet it’s quite common for names to become duplicated, and this can create real problems particularly if they exist within multiple databases. For example, you wouldn’t accept duplication in your payroll system, and end up paying someone more than once. Similarly, multiple mail shots to the same recipient are wasteful, not to mention disrespectful to both the customer and the planet.
GDPR and Duplication
GDPR gives data subjects the absolute right to opt out of direct marketing. This places the responsibility for keeping data accurate, as well as up to date, firmly in your lap. So it’s vital you locate all duplicates of people who no longer wish to be contacted by you This is sometimes extremely difficult to achieve, yet absolutely necessary.
Deduplication and Merging
‘Merge and Purge’ is a process which should occur when two or more groups of data are joined together, with the aim of creating one single database without any duplicate records.
These tasks seem well suited to automation, using computers to perform the burden rather than undertaking a longer and often more weary manual check.
At Corpdata, we have turned the process of spotting duplicate records into an art form, and it is something we do on a regular basis for our clients.
This article comes courtesy of Corpdata, the leading supplier of accurate and GDPR safe to use B2B marketing lists.