Data is the fuel that drives your marketing efforts. Without it, you can't expect to achieve much success when it comes to identifying relevant customers and creating content that really connects with your target audience.
However, it's vital to remember that not every piece of data at your disposal is accurate or valuable. Indeed, bad data can represent a major threat to businesses, with poor data quality reportedly costing the entire US economy $3.1 trillion a year.
According to Gartner, organizations believe poor data quality is responsible for $15 million in losses for individual businesses every year. The research firm warned this situation will only become more severe as the data environment becomes more complex.
Bad data is a particularly important consideration for the marketing department. Here are four reasons why:
1. Negative customer impressions
Relying on customer information that’s old, inaccurate or ineffectively managed can lead to serious negative repercussions in terms of customer experience.
If, for example, you get in touch with an individual but address them by the wrong name, because you’ve failed to keep your records up to date, it could do irreparable damage to that person's perceptions of your brand.
The same negative effect could occur if someone receives the same message from you multiple times, as a result of poor collaboration between departments or failure to update internal information about customer communications.
According to Experian, businesses view poor data quality as one of three key obstacles to delivering excellent customer experience, along with changing methods of interaction and legacy systems or lack of new technology. Almost all companies (98%) said they use data to improve the customer experience.
2. Wasted time and money
Bad data can be a major problem for the marketing department - and indeed for all areas of the business - because it wastes time and financial resources that could be more effectively used elsewhere.
One of the most unfortunate consequences of poor quality information is that managers, data scientists, analysts and marketers have to spend time checking for inaccuracies and correcting mistakes.
Bad data comes in many forms. It can be something as simple as an email address or phone number that has changed over time, or information that has been entered into a system incorrectly. As innocuous as this might seem, left unchecked, it can have a serious impact in terms of how efficiently you’re using the resources at your disposal.
3. Inaccurate forecasts
It's highly important that sales and marketing departments are able to make informed, evidence-based forecasts. Accurately predicting everything from demand for certain products to future sales helps the business prepare, budget and allocate resources.
If your data is inaccurate, it's practically impossible for the marketing department to come up with reliable forecasts, which can create problems for the business further down the line.
4. Loss of trust within the marketing team
Bad data can lead to a loss of audience trust, resulting from poor customer experience, but it can also jeopardize the faith your marketing team has in the information and resources it's working with.
Lack of trust in data quality can damage staff morale and motivation, for the simple reason that people start to question whether all their effort and hard work will yield results.
By investing in regular cleansing and proper management of your data, you can ensure the marketing department derives maximum value from what many now view as the world's most valuable commodity.