Companies are being encouraged to get to grips with the “half-life” of their customer data to help frame their approach to data cleansing, before information decay reaches a critical point where it will have a serious impact on their business operations.
So says a new report by REaD Group, in association with the Global Marketing Alliance, which points out that the half-life is the time it would take for 50% of a company’s data to be inaccurate on a critical data field, if there was no remedial action.
The study goes on to explain that data decay depends on a number of factors, such as what sector firms are operating in. For instance, in the B2B arena, some job roles turn over very quickly, some less so. The average tenure of a marketing manager is 24 months, whereas a chief financial officer is more than four years. Meanwhile, in a B2C context, under 30s are much more likely to move house, change job, and get married than someone in their 50s.
The more critical data companies hold, the more opportunity there is for data to decay. The report cites Royal Mail research which shows that 15,407 life events take place each day, which degrade data accuracy. That scales up to 107,849 per week, 465,291 per month and 5,623,555 per year – amounting to 8.5% of the UK population.
However, this does not include other potential sources of data inaccuracy, such as the proliferation of incorrect form entries or duplicate contacts.
The report states: “There are many questions to consider when defining your company’s clean data state: What is your definition of ‘is it clean now?’? What is the margin of error that is allowable for your business, if any? Do you know where all your data is and who’s responsible for it? Do you have an actionable data maturity model in place? How you answer these questions should provide a clear sense of where you need to start.”
When it comes to appointing a data provider, REaD Group details key questions brands should ask:
Source and provenance: How is the data collected and what is the source? You should also ask for confirmation of the collection methods and audit trails to ensure the principles of the regulation have been met and the data is being processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner, regardless of the data and purpose.
Permission: Your supplier should be able to provide you with the permission statement used at the point of collection.
Validation and due diligence processes: Ask for confirmation of the validation process. A provider with nothing to hide should be able to provide on request an outline of their due diligence process and the steps they take to ensure data fully satisfies legislative requirements.
Recency: When was the last engagement?
Quality: Is the data accurate and up to date? Has it been screened against a reliable suppression file to remove deceased and goneaway contacts to meet GDPR data quality requirements?
Reputation: Check out their creds and ask peers for a recommendation or ask to speak to an existing customer of the supplier for a candid view.
Results: Ask for some examples of the results and case studies – especially if you are using the data for acquisition campaigns.
Do they offer a trial? If you are new to buying data or using a new supplier – ask if you can run a trial campaign to test the quality of the data.
REaD Group chief executive Jon Cano-Lopez said: “The old adage ‘garbage in, garbage out’ has never been more true or more important for businesses. Good quality data means better business decisions, better marketing and more profitable relationships.
“As a strong proponent of responsible data management and, transparency, I am talking to clients and partners every day about data quality, and I am encouraged that this is now very much on the agenda. Ultimately, the message is simple – treat your data assets with the respect and care they deserve and reap the many rewards.”
A free copy of the REaD Group’s “Are you addicted to bad data? Get clean and stay clean” report is available to download via the GMA website here>
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