How to Stop Bad Data from Wrecking your Marketing Budget

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November 2, 2010

Close doesn’t count in database quality. The accuracy of your data can make or break your marketing budget.

This guest post provided by Erin Haselkorn, Vertical Marketing Specialist, Experian QAS.

Data quality is a top concern for many organizations, as it affects business operations from customer management to operational efficiency. With this in mind, Experian QAS took on a research project in August to find out current data perceptions, cleansing practices, and accuracy levels. The survey included 300 respondents in the U.S. in the retail, finance and insurance sector.

The survey revealed some interesting statistics:

  • While 96.2 percent of organizations view data accuracy as an essential issue, nearly one-third of them don’t enforce it.
  • More than half of the respondents claim that at least 6 percent or more of the important information in their database is inaccurate or completely missing.
  • 63 percent of respondents say that five to thirty percent of their marketing budget is wasted as a result of bad data.
  • The main reasons organizations maintain contact records are to enhance customer satisfaction, increase efficiency, reduce costs and increase marketing opportunities through customer profiling.

Manual Data Entry Can Reek Havoc On Your Data

These statistics show some realities. First, organizations understand the importance of contact data but are not doing enough to make sure it is clean, accurate and up to date. While respondents stated that they currently manage quality contact data through staff training, software tools and staff measurement, organizations are relying too heavily on manual processes.

Unfortunately when it comes to manual entry, errors are bound to happen without some sort of check. Think about spell check, for example; how many errors would you make if you didn’t have that little tool to scan your document?

Should a Data Verification Tool Be In Your Plan for 2011?

Businesses should rely on verification tools on the front-end that would allow complete and accurate information to flow into their database. Customer Service and Sales were cited as the main departments that cause the highest proportion of data errors. Organizations could start by identifying the key departments prone to data quality errors, and start implementing a solution there.

Budget was cited as a main barrier to achieving accurate contact data, but based on the amount of marketing budget that is being wasted, a return on investment for accurate data should be easy to justify.

Even though businesses have been scaling back, the investment in data quality continues. This strong push in data quality initiatives shows that businesses view their central database as a valuable asset, helping to drive the business forward.

It is important for companies to review their own data quality practices and implement strategies that will improve common data quality problems within their specific organization. Ultimately, ensuring an accurate database will improve businesses processes and customer satisfaction.

Read the Full Research Report

Access to the full report is available to reveal the survey results, and discover best practices for cleaning and maintaining a database.


About the Author

Erin Haselkorn is a PR and Vertical Marketing Specialist at Experian QAS, whose address validation software and services help prevent data errors, reduce returned mail and increase call center efficiency. Experian QAS’ software is used by more than 10,000 customers worldwide in retail, education, healthcare, insurance, finance, government and other sectors. For more information, visit

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