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Why and How To Consistently Purge Your Marketing Database

4 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Apr 17, 2019 9:04:00 AM

Today’s business environment relies heavily on technology. Every single keystroke can leave traces on your disks. This unwanted data not only occupies space but even leads to a reduction in the overall data quality. Dirty data filled with errors can lead to bad marketing decisions, which, in turn, may lead to financial losses.

Data is so abundant in today’s world that about 63% of marketers claimed to have spent more on data-driven marketing than the previous year. While data-driven marketing can help you recognize shifts in customer’s dynamics, it can only be helpful if the data is clean. Inaccurate or corrupt data can spoil the decision making process. This is why it is important to purge your marketing database frequently. Here’s why you should do it:

Side Effects of Poor Data

Dirty data has led to a loss of $611 billion in the USA according to The Data Warehousing Institute. This includes staff overhead, postage, and printing costs. However, that’s just a part of the actual costs.

Marketing done using corrupt or poor data can even lead to the alienation of customers. This may even tarnish your brand’s credibility. Even when you’re using SMS marketing software or even doing email marketing, you need clean data.

So, what exactly is poor or dirty data? It’s data that has some errors or inaccuracies. These inconsistencies may pop out due to manual or automation errors. In fact, according to the same study by The Data Warehousing Institute, about 2% of all customer records become obsolete too within just 30 days.

This is mainly because the customers may go through various changes in their lives during this period. Yet another cause of errors can be the data entry mistakes by humans.

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Some of the other consequences which may arise from poor data are:

  • Errors in tracking
  • Misleading records of customers
  • Reduction in revenues
  • Increased printing costs due to wastage
  • Inaccurate metrics and market segmentation

Benefit From Consistency

Managing your database well can have a lot of benefits. When the information that you have is accurate, it can be easier for you to maintain consistency and compliance at all levels. Accuracy is a key aspect of data analysis and it can help you maintain a clean database.

Through clean data, you can reduce the wastage of information. Additionally, it can help in improving the level of your customer service and sales targeting.

Clean data also means better efficiency due to the accuracy of the data. This translates to an improvement in decision-making and productivity, which, in turn, can result in increased revenues.

Now that we know why purging your data is required on a regular basis, let us look at how you can do it efficiently.

How To Purge Your Marketing Database?

A marketing database usually consists of 3 major components - Contacts, Fields, and Campaigns. To purge your marketing database, you need to deal with each of them individually. Let’s see how you can do it:

Contacts

Contacts have many unique identifiers such as phone numbers or email addresses. You may have a limit on the number of phone numbers you can store, so it’s a good idea to get rid of unwanted ones. The first ones to target are those who have unsubscribed.

You may need to skim through the contact database and find those contacts that aren’t engaging with you on any channels at all. There may be some contacts who have unsubscribed on emails or text messages but are still engaged on other channels. It is necessary to ensure that you don’t remove them.

After you’re done dealing with this group, you can check out those contacts whose emails or messages have bounced. You can deal with them using the same method as the one used for unsubscribed contacts. However, do take care to check if the they have bounced because of mistyping or due to spam filters. Each of these cases may need to be dealt with separately. Make sure you delete only those who have multiple instances of bouncing.

There may also be some junk contacts in your database that may have crept in when leads would have entered gibberish to avoid sharing their original info. You’ll need to track down these contacts and delete them. Some contacts may even have ended up on your database without any email addresses or phone numbers. These need to be deleted too.

Lastly, check for duplicates, if any, in the database. You don’t want to waste your budget on relaying the same messages to the individual again. It can even be frustrating for the customer who is receiving the same offer twice.

Fields

To keep your data columns clean, you should use the rule of one column, one purpose. This will help you give a definite task to each column and even find redundant data points easily. Even if you’re using standardized responses in your columns, some errors may slip in at times due to manual errors.

In such a case, you may need to hunt out the useless information and delete it. You may also choose to delete entire columns of information. Make sure that you only keep those columns which have essential information without which you can’t operate. These are the only columns that you actually need.

However, if you still wish to save data from the other columns, you can choose to save them outside the marketing automation software.

Campaigns

Campaigns are where all the activity of your automation software takes place. However, if you want to manage them well, you need to keep them well organized. Have a system in place to name all your lists so that it’s easy for a person to manage them.

You may also keep a track of the usage of lists. If a list hasn’t been utilized for long, you should audit it and check if the contacts in it are still valid and can be used. You can delete those contacts that aren’t valuable to you anymore from these lists.

Final Thoughts

Purging of marketing database on a regular basis isn’t only a good habit but a necessity. It can help you save lots of resources and manage your marketing campaigns more efficiently. Make sure that you only keep those contacts who are active and engage with you regularly. Lastly, keep only those fields which are necessary for your contacts and delete all the others.

What other methods do you use to purge your marketing database? Let us know in the comments.

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