An experienced data professional who has been working within the direct marketing industry for over 20 years. Having spent 17 years as owner and MD of Data HQ Ltd his remit covers the whole of the management spectrum including; strategy development, organisational structure, company policy & procedure and product development.
Your email database is one of the most important weapons in your marketing arsenal. It’s also the most changeable and difficult to keep on top of. Keeping a clean, current database is critical. It’s not just your marketing activity that depends on it, with GDPR regulations now in full swing, it’s your compliance too.
When it comes to something as important as data quality management, it makes good business sense to consult a professional from time to time, to ensure your data is current and your lists are legal. Before you do, though, there are some actions you can take yourself to give your email lists a little pick me up, and improve their prognosis long term.
A quick and simple dedupe, and basic cleanse...
See how far you feel comfortable going in-house. A starting point can be a quick and simple dedupe to get rid of any recurring contacts. This can be done by email address or any unique reference that applies within and across the files that you wish to combine.
You should undertake this cleanse with a view to removing any out of date contacts. The principles of GDPR state that you shouldn’t keep data any longer than necessary, so it’s good practice to remove inactive contacts from your marketing database periodically.
Further actions such as enhancing existing records, are often too complex or time consuming to undertake in-house. This is the logical next step after a cleanse, and the point at which you might want to contact a data specialist if you haven’t already.
Set a reminder…
Prevention is better than cure and this rings true when it comes to the health of your email marketing database. If you’re making the effort to clean up now, try to stay on top of it going forward. B2B data gets old very quickly. We would recommend spending a couple of hours, every six months or so, to re-run your in-house dedupe and clean up any out of date contacts.
Start the search for a specialist…
Finding the data provider that’s right for you may take a little longer than two hours! Each have their own pros and cons and specialisms and approaches that you will want to investigate in detail. However, what you can do quickly and should do now, to ensure your in-house work doesn’t go to waste, is to at least make a start on your search for the specialist for you.
While it’s tempting to try and manage everything in-house, this can prove a false economy. It’s worth bearing in mind that a niche B2B list should be updated by phone three or four times a year. Clearly, the vast majority of businesses have neither the time nor the resources to commit to this, so it pays to bring in the experts.
Make sure you ask each provider the same questions, such as
- What does your audit process entail?
- Where does your data come from?
- What is your process for keeping data current and high quality?
- How can you segment your data: by job title / function / geography / demographic, for example?
Once you have a decent shortlist, you can do the digging to work out who comes recommended, by checking sources such as Google Reviews, Trustpilot and their own testimonials. You should also ensure that the provider you eventually choose is accredited - at the very least registered with the ICO and a member of the DMA.
In the meantime, send out the above questions to a couple of providers and start thinking about who ticks the boxes for you.
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