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Beyond the dedupe: How data cleansing will make or break your marketing data strategy
The foundation for accurate marketing?
Accurate, high-quality data.
Unfortunately, all marketing data deteriorates over time, especially in b2b. People change jobs, companies go in and out of business, get bought out, change their names and addresses, and so on.
All you can do is stay on top of the decay by regularly cleansing your database. This is an essential part of data management.
In doing so, you will have greater marketing impact and higher conversion rates.
The real purpose of data cleansing
Many people think of data cleansing in terms of removing irrelevant contacts – those which should never have entered the database in the first place. And although that is a key part of the process, there is more to it.
Cleansing is also about…
- Identifying the data that is incomplete or incorrect – and appending or amending it
- De-duping – i.e. finding duplicate contacts and then removing those which are redundant
Ultimately, the purpose of auditing and cleansing your data is to raise its overall quality.
The benefits of a clean database
- Your targeting will be more precise, and you should therefore see better success rates with less effort.
- You will save costs by not direct-mailing out to uninterested or obsolete contacts – which improves ROI.
- Your brand perception will stay positive or improve – because you’re ensuring relevance.
- Your email sender reputation score should increase – thereby raising your email deliverability and keeping your emails out of recipients’ spam/junk folders.
How to go about the cleansing process
You can carry out some basic data cleansing tasks in-house.
Start by ensuring that all staff members are trained on one consistent method of data entry, to ensure consistent formatting in the future.
Of course, you will already have some inconsistencies to tidy up, so you have two options: manually fix them yourself, which may be too time-consuming to be practical, or hire a third-party data specialist to do it for you. The latter option may work out the much more efficient option despite the costs, particularly if you have a large database or you have tight timescales to work to.
De-duping is also possible in-house, but again, this can be overwhelmingly manual, especially when you have tens of thousands of contacts or more.
Whatever course of action you choose, consulting a specialist at some point or other is wise. They will be able to advise on and carry out the more advanced database cleansing tasks, and their expertise means you know you’re taking the right steps.
Further reading: Data HQ’s complete guide to database cleansing
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