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The Harte Hanks Blog

Solving the mystery: How does your clean data get so dirty?

By: Traci Varnum

Data Quality Stats on Bad DataBy now, you are probably aware that a lack of accurate, clean data can be a huge problem for us marketers. According to an infographic from Trillium Software, 50% of all companies overestimate the quality of their data. Even more troubling, 50% of companies have absolutely no plan for managing their data problem.

So where the heck does all this bad data come from?

A recent article from Direct Marketing News explains that “dirty data” can rear its ugly head in a number of different ways.  Some common examples include:

  • Consumers failing to update their information
  • Brands failing to update their database as prospect/consumer information changes
  • A lack of communication/sharing between internal departments regarding the data necessary to create consistent or complete profiles
  • Third parties providing data without first performing a proper quality check

Given that the average person will change both jobs and living situations approximately 11 times over the course of their life, clean data can get dirty FAST.

With the large amount of data coming from new, quickly evolving sources like mobile and social media, it is now more important than ever to keep on top of your data. While social networks can provide a plethora of valuable data points, this social information can quickly become outdated. For instance, every single time a user creates a new social profile or updates an existing one, this personal information is stored in a secure database, offering up new information to marketers.

Fortunately, despite all of these extra records to worry about, there are ways to keep your database sparkly clean. Okay, maybe there will be just a tiny bit of dust or an occasional smudge–there’s no such thing as a perfect database. But with the right approach, you can substantially improve your data, and as a result, your overall bottom line.

To learn how small data enhancements can lead to big ROI, download our latest white paper: “Good Data: A Marketer’s Best Weapon.”

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