Virtually all companies have data issues. Some companies are aware and some aren’t. In many cases, it can come down to understanding what it means to have bad data. When you have bad data, it can have a severely negative impact on your marketing conversations. Many companies may not even be aware they have data issues until it’s explained to them.
In marketing, it’s all about the dialogue along the customer journey. Bad data interrupts the conversation. Bad data can cause people to want to avoid talking to you. It can cause people to not want to respond, or to cut the conversation short. If bad data causes the conversation to be truncated or cut short, that can literally translate into lost potential revenue for your company.
There are many ways bad data can present itself in an organization, and many ways that can lead to the creation of data issues. A few common types of bad data issues are data duplication or duplicate records, incomplete data or incomplete records, formatting errors, or simply incorrect data entry, i.e., a name or phone number is typed into the system incorrectly. It can be as simple as 555-111-2222 being entered as 555-111-1222. A single digit off and the lead development rep is calling the wrong number.
Data duplication is exactly what it says: the same data exists multiple times, potentially in different places. This can lead to people updating different records for the same customer or prospect with different information. You may be tempted to ask, what’s the big deal? A prospect gets the same email twice? You may even be tempted to think it gives the prospect multiple opportunities to respond. But the reality is, it’s annoying to see the same emails twice, especially when marketing email can sometimes borderline on being SPAM. However, duplicate records can lead to more fundamental operating issues, such as unreliable metrics and reporting, which lead to uninformed forecasting and decision-making.
Additionally, if you have duplicate records, where are any new details being added? When there are duplicate records, people can add new information to the wrong record. Sales may not be looking at the correct record, and may not be seeing the new information. And, if you’re talking about dimensional mailers, which can get costly, duplicate records could lead to wasted marketing dollars if prospects end up receiving multiple mailers, or no mailer if the information is incomplete.
Incomplete data occurs when all the elements of a data set are not available, i.e., missing zip codes for instance. These types of errors are typically caused by employee oversight or if the contact doesn’t completely fill out their information on a form. One of the more common types of data formatting errors occurs with dates. In the U.S. dates are typically formatted as MM/DD/YYYY (Month, day, year) whereas most of the rest of the world uses DD/MM/YYYY.
Incorrect data, as mentioned above, are mistakes in data entry. Stuff just gets entered wrong. It can be as simple as typos, or process errors like failing to update things like a new email address or phone number.
One common problem in many organizations that leads to some of these data issues is the lack of system integration. Each department has it’s own favorite software system, but these systems are often not connected, so each department enters the record separately. This increases the odds and likelihood that an error will be made. As the instances of manual data entry increase, so increases margin for error.
As business decisions have become more data driven and analytics continue to provide insights on which these decisions are based, the consequences of poor data are brought increasingly into focus. No industry, organization, or department is immune to having bad data. Bad data destroys the 360-degree view of the customer. In order to leverage the power of great marketing and AI, we need to build an accurate picture of the customer, and each department that contributes to the picture needs to contribute to the same picture, or the story will become inaccurate and unclear, which of course is the cause of bad data.
Don’t let bad data interrupt your marketing conversations. See how Kelmscott’s innovative approaches can make a difference for you. Contact us today.