Why data cleansing is so important

Many modern businesses rely on data as much as on their skilled employees, tools or operating capital, yet many let their data get very ‘dirty’. As a marketing agency, we understand the costs of bad data, and offer a range of services designed to help maintain these vital systems.

What is data cleansing?

Data cleansing is the process of going through a set of information and removing bad data. It’s something we all do when we update a phone number in our mobiles or cross out an old address in an address book. The problems arise when you’re dealing with thousands or even millions of records rather than a few dozen. At this level, uncovering the bad data by hand would be an impossible burden for most businesses. Automated solutions are therefore required, and those usually need to be managed by professionals.

The costs of bad data

Having the wrong information is expensive. While it’s obvious that sending a catalogue to a customer’s old address is a waste of a stamp, having an extra email address on a newsletter mailing list costs fractions of a penny. As a result, many businesses neglect their digital data. However, even fractions of a penny add up when multiplied by thousands of dud email addresses. Emails that arrive at the wrong account are often marked a spam by the recipient, damaging your overall credibility and reducing the number of your emails that are read.

Wasted effort and misleading statistics

Messages that miss their targets represent lost sales opportunities as well as wasted effort. They also mislead you about the effectiveness of your campaigns. As a marketing agency, we monitor the ROI (return on investment) of our clients’ campaigns, as well as other success factors. Bad data can make a highly effective campaign seem like a poor one, and that in turn can result in significant amounts of wasted effort. As an example, if you sent out 100 emails and got 1 response, you might try a new strategy. But if you discovered that 50, 70 or 90% of the emails never got delivered, you’d adjust your assessment accordingly.

How can data be cleaned up?

Basic data cleansing, like removing dud email addresses from a list, can be achieved easily and at an affordable cost. Using specialist tools, it’s possible to determine which emails are being delivered and which aren’t, and even which are being read.

More sophisticated techniques are required for more complex data sets. As an example, if you’re marketing a very age-specific product (newborn nappies, say, or GCSE tutoring) you might want to filter out anyone who doesn’t fit in that demographic. Likewise, as a marketing agency working with B2B clients across Hampshire, we frequently want to contact someone in a specific role at a company: a promotion or transfer can turn good data bad. While the solutions are more complex, the rewards are often even more worthwhile, making this kind of data cleansing possibly more important than the basic kind.

If you are based in Portsmouth, Hampshire or surrounding areas and would like to discuss how to manage your data or digital marketing for your business, view our portfolio or make contact with our web design and digital marketing team. We really like to talk.

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