Look after your data and your data will look after you

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I’m sure that – like me – you look after all of your business assets. You make sure your offices are well-maintained, you invest in your staff and their development, you ensure your equipment is up to standards and you upgrade software when a newer version offers features beneficial to your business. Well it’s the same with Data – if you look after it, it will be more effective for your business.

Cleansing your data is a crucial first step before using it for campaigns or analysis.

Clean data performs better

At the very core of any marketing campaign should always be your audience. In some instances you will likely have segments of your email list that you can target with different messages, based on the groups’ common preferences. You may even have gone as far as building a Single Customer View to enable truly personalised communication at an individual level.

All this is great, but remember that those segments or views are only as strong as the raw data behind them. If you are feeding in records for people or businesses who are no longer at the address you hold, have changed telephone number, or maybe have even passed away – your audience and segments are going to be out of date and your campaign poorly targeted as a consequence. Cleansing your data is a crucial first step before using it for campaigns or analysis.

Duplication is wasteful & affects brand perception

Sending any marketing (particularly physical mailings) multiple times to the same recipient, or even just to the same household or smaller office environments, can be a very costly waste of budget, not to mention the environment and therefore has corporate social responsibility implications. We recently saved a leading charity £1500 per send in mailing costs, following a Data Audit and cleanse.

On top of the issue of wasted budget, when someone receives the same piece of marketing multiple times it can have a negative effect on your brand. For example:

  • I regularly receive about 6 copies of the same promotional brochure for an industry exhibition.
  • I myself receive a copy, my Marketing Manager receives a copy (ok that makes sense) but I also receive 3-4 copies for previous Marketing and Sales staff who have not worked for me for over 3 years.
  • My feelings about this are ‘what a waste of paper’ as I head for the recycling bin and ‘if the supplier isn’t taking care of their data how well would they take care of their exhibitors and delegates at an exhibition?’.
  • So they have damaged how I, doubtless along with many others, perceive their brand, just because they have not taken the time to cleanse their data.

Take advantage of Suppression Files

It’s a sobering fact that Data decays by up to 40% per annum with regular staff turnover, changes of premises and companies who cease trading (in Business Data), and where people move home, change names or even pass away (in Consumer Data).

You may or may not be aware of the range of files available for suppression of inaccurate records; these include:

Consumer Data Files:

  • National Change of Address
  • Gone Aways - Gone-Away suppression, Absolute Contacts/Movers, SubtrAction
  • Deceased – The Bereavement Register, disConnect, Mortascreen, Baby MPS
  • TPS / MPS – those who do not want to receive unsolicited mail or phone calls
  • Profanity / anomaly checks – remove profanities and anomalies.

Business Data Files:

  • Business Changes File
  • Business Suppression File
  • CTPS & TPS / MPS – those who do not want to receive unsolicited mail or phone calls.

With these files available, it is really essential to make use of them when cleansing your data. Some files, such as the TPS, allow vital checks of your data to ensure compliance with data protection laws enforced the by the Information Commissioners Office. Others are discretionary, but the benefits of using them to save money and protect your brand, makes undertaking a cleanse an obvious choice, including a check against multiple suppression files.

  • When did you last cleanse your database?
  • Have you seen improved results following a previous cleanse?
  • Do you regularly check your data against suppression files?