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Tackle Data Quality Upfront to Increase Marketing ROI
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By Geoff Rego


Manually validating a large database in this manner can be an overwhelming task. Fortunately, there are companies that provide automatic database clean-ups as a service. Just send the file and get a clean one back. Compare the cost of such services with the cost of staff time to determine which approach is best for you.

If you also take steps to prevent bad data from entering your database in the first place, you’ll only have the check the entire database once. From then on, every time new data comes in, regardless of the source, validate the information immediately. Depending on the amount of data that comes in every day, you can check new data manually or implement a marketing automation system that can perform all the tests automatically, including the duplicate record check.

Such systems are especially valuable when they are connected to web forms, because they can perform all the validation tests the moment the prospect clicks the “submit” button. If the systems find bad data, they can return the prospect to the form for corrections, refusing to provide the offered benefit until all entered data is valid. Marketing automation systems that do such automatic work need not be budget-breakers. Some are available as economical software-as-a-service offerings.

Such real-time web form validation does not necessarily result in fewer sales leads. Our company has done studies that show that most serious prospects (the ones who are actually willing to buy your product) are willing to provide valid information about themselves. The same studies show that most people who bail out when a web form demands valid information are people who are not in your target market anyway.

In addition to validating information a new web site visitor provides, marketing automation systems can help you keep your information on existing contacts up to date. By recognizing existing contacts when they arrive on your web site (via cookies or any one of several other methods), the systems can pre-populate web forms with data from the marketing database. If the web visitor’s phone number, email address or postal address or any other information has changed, he can make corrections which are automatically validated and then applied to the marketing database. One of our customers has found that every year, as many as 30 percent of the records in their database require some kind of update as people change jobs, etc.

In summary, the quality of data in your marketing database directly affects the return on your direct marketing investment. It’s therefore worthwhile to clean up your existing data and to take steps to prevent bad data from entering your database in the future. While the validation work can be tedious, the benefits are great in the long run and economical automated solutions are available.

Geoff Rego is the CEO and Co-Founder of Market2Lead.
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