How much bad data does your databases contain? How fast does your data accuracy erode? How many names in your expired files could you actually use if you had to? Proper data management requires constant attention.
Data Management is like Cleaning out a Closet
I love having a clean and organized closet but daylong tasks of sorting and organizing keep it at the bottom of my ‘to-do list. But I grumble when I can’t find what I need when I need it!
We all know data hygiene is important. It can save us money and prevent issues with email and auditors, but we just don’t like to do it. And who has time?
Good audience management means cleaning up your data and then putting systems in place to keep it that way.
1. Know what data you have
How old is the data on your file? Do you have a plan for aging out non-audited records in the same way you age off audited records? ( you do have a plan for aging off your audited records, right? )
Are your data fields consistent? Is the right information in the right fields? Are you missing fields?
2. Clean Your Data
Brite Verify has a great program to help you determine the deliverability of your email file. GET RID OF BAD emails! They won’t magically become deliverable if you hang onto them.
If you’re not regularly running USPS checks and the SSI Death Index- do that and make a plan to do that regularly. How often names come onto your database will determine if that should be done yearly or more often.
Check the data in the fields in your databases. Is it correct? Is the city field all cities? If you have bad data or incorrect data figure out where it’s coming from and if you can fix it.
Missing data can be appended through a data append process with a list broker or you can set up a plan to work on filling gaps as you market to your audience. Once you’ve identified the gaps you can make a plan that makes sense to fill them.
3. Keep Your Data Clean
Make sure everything that feeds your data is feeding correct and clean data back to your database and that it is mapped correctly. ( good data in the wrong field is worthless) This may mean checking your online forms and the data that comes from your telemarketing vendor and ESP to make sure everything is set up to flow smoothly into your data.
Regularly looking at your actual data files will help you find irregularities before they grow too large. We get caught up in looking at audience totals in our prepress and audit reports and can sometimes miss small things.
If all this sounds about as appealing as cleaning out a closet, hire a fulfillment company that is as picky and as ruthless as Matt Paxton on Hoarders. Stamats Data Management cleans data and keeps it clean so you can actually harness the power of data.