Data Cleaning or data cleansing is a crucial process for any business organization and contributes towards the efficiency of operations to a great extent.
As marketing is becoming more and more customer-centric, a lot of changes have occurred in the way the database is handled. With the e-mail marketing taking the center stage, a single error during the list building or a minor incorrect entry in the buyer profile can lead to a myriad of issues.
Owing to a direct, persuasive, yet sophisticated approach to the modern marketing, it has become even more crucial to ensure that your data is as optimized and accurate as possible.
So, if you have to manage the e-mail list to keep a track of your clients’ details or maintain your customer data, make sure that your data is clean and error-free.
In order to give you an idea about the concept of clean data and its significance, here’s the detailed explanation as to how you can keep the data clean and why you should be doing so.
|What is Data Cleansing?|
Basically, you have to avoid your database from bad data, i.e. when the data includes information which is missing, duplicated, corrupted, or outdated.
|Why Is It Important?|
Data Cleansing is a big deal and handling it manually may turn out to be the least effective method of keeping your data clean. Moreover, if you think that a minor duplication or corruption in the database can be avoided, it’s actually not as simple as it appears.
For example, if you consider a situation where you have a list of 50,000 customers and assuming that 10% of them are incorrect, it would imply that for every broadcast mail you send to the customers, 5,000 entries contain error.
Besides, it not only leads to inefficiency or loss of money, but it can even make you lose important clients or spoil your reputation.
For instance, if you have sent a regular mail to your old client who is not working at the same profile anymore, or doesn’t reside at the same location anymore, the whole point of making any impact or impression is in vain.
|Approach Towards Data Cleansing?|
Keeping the data clean is just like cleaning your car, house or any other physical possession. You can’t handle it all at once, so you have to keep working on it on a periodic basis. The key is to adopt a continual approach regularly to disinfect your data against any kinds of errors or issues.
Another important thing to note is that 2% information in your marketing database goes stale every month. So, by the end of the year, there is a huge amount of useless data that needs to be chucked out.
A continuous data cleaning ensures that nothing is out of place, duplicate, inaccurate or unwanted.
|Data Cleansing Tips|
Although there are tools, techniques, and third party services that can be hired for an efficient data cleaning, given below are some important tips that one can follow to ensure that the data cleansing process is implemented successfully.
Before proceeding with the implementation, it is important to understand the root problem by spreading awareness about the concept of data cleaning.
Identify the most common errors and where do they occur so that you can develop a plan beforehand. Keep the communication open across different departments and act intelligently to save money on undesired actions.
As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth. Similarly, data management cannot be handled properly with fragmented responsibility as it hampers productivity and leads to inconsistent, as well as, unreliable data.
Assigning a data steward would ensure that all the data collection and administration is handled by a particular person who is aware of all the guidelines and necessary details.
It is important to set standards for the data entry formats and requirements that remain consistent throughout the organization. Also, make sure that the automated data entry is enforced wherever possible while the data is introduced into the CRM or marketing automation systems.
As mentioned before, the database often goes stale after a short time so if you cleanse the data 12 months before you actually use it, then it would be of no use. Make sure that you clean the data close to the date of use while having all the required resources.
Checking the validity of the email addresses of the customers and clients can help in sorting out the data that actually needs your attention. However, you don’t need to pay for an email campaign or handle it manually.
There are famous and relevant email verification services viz. MailGet, Verifalia, Never Bounce, etc. that can be availed to ping the email addresses and validate them. If the email returns as invalid, you can save your time and efforts on correcting the data.
A business may have different market segments to cater, hence monitoring the trends in your pipeline periodically (say quarterly) would help a great deal in identifying the market segments that can present the best investment opportunities or where you could earn the maximum revenues.
This, in turn, would reveal the areas where you need additional data to leverage marketing programs or similarly the areas where you can focus later or put on hold.
Needless to say, everyone in the professional world uses LinkedIn so you can use the platform to get notified about the updated contacts and positions.
It’s a great way to ensure that you remain informed about the changes made by your key contacts like a new job title or moving to a new company.
After all the standardization, validation and removing duplicate entries with tools’ assistance, use reliable third party sources to append the data. These third party services obtain information directly from the first-party sites, and then clean as well as compile the data to facilitate business intelligence.
This, in turn, would help you in strengthening your customer segmentation and send more targeted information to the prospects.
Maintaining huge chunks of databases to target your prospects and keeping the bond strong is the most basic necessity of marketing. Consequently, the task of keeping the records clean and error-free is simply unavoidable. In such a situation, it becomes imperative to be well aware of the do’s and don’ts about data cleansing.
You can’t simply avoid an error in your database assuming that it won’t have far-reaching consequences. Even if it doesn’t affect you on a large scale on an immediate basis, it would still cause issues that would be hard to resolve in the long run.
So, instead of handling such issues manually or wasting your money and efforts, approach a third-party service and get your data cleansed, validated, augmented, and refreshed on a periodic basis.