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The bad, the good & the best marketing data!

Good vs bad

By David Battson 2 min read

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Maintaining a data file requires on-going commitment and resources. This is even more pertinent with the looming GDPR regulation which will take effect May 2018.

If you are looking after an internal database of clients and/or prospects you will appreciate how easily data can decay and the challenge of keeping contact information up-to-date.

You may have also purchased a mailing list in the past of, shall we say, dubious quality. Again, this will have shown how data deteriorates without the necessary on-going verification.

This blog looks at the varying types of data which we have categorised as, the bad, the good and the best:

The bad data

There are so many places you can buy data; these days, it seems everyone has a list of contacts they want to sell.

We get a surprising amount of people calling us and asking if we want to purchase their lists. This is not how we source our data, as we work only with Tier 1 providers and the quality of those “other” lists is almost always very poor.

That poor quality is because since the time the data was originally gathered, which could be more than 10 years ago, it has not been verified.

Consider how many times you have changed your interests, moved house, job, office or industry in 10 years.

Also – unless you can trace the data back to its source – how do you know if it was legitimately gathered for the purpose(s) you wish to use it?

The good data

Luckily, there are many suppliers who build, source and maintain legitimate contact lists of both consumer and business contacts.

The sources of the data within these legitimate lists include:

Good suppliers will also make sure the data gathered to compile their lists is run through the appropriate suppression files such as Gone Aways, Deceased, Change of Address and Business Changes files.

These types of files are normally up-to-date within around 12-18 months. Meaning the contacts are predominantly accurate, resulting in improved marketing.

The best data

In an ideal world, every contact in every file would be researched and verified by phone on a regular basis. All information held on the contact would be checked – including the spelling of these details.

Mailing list databases of this type are rare.

They require a great deal of resource and investment to ensure the data is kept accurate and within a short recency. Most importantly, they need to be researched regularly and over the telephone. The best source has processes in place to help pinpoint where errors in the data will be.

Not every data file will or can be maintained to this extremely high level of accuracy and recency. But this is precisely how the best data available in the market is verified.

Further reading: Data HQ's complete guide to data quality

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