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04 April 2021

Data Cleaning Techniques You Should Start Using Now

It might sound a bit cliche, but when it comes to data, the truth is, quality matters so much more than quantity. Who’s got time for inaccurate data?! And what is bad data, anyway? We’ll get there. In the meantime, know that bad data impacts your business in more ways than you might think. Luckily, with a few specific data cleaning techniques, you’re going to be on your way to super-effective data with high ROI in no time. 

Save your time (and money!) by making sure to focus on data hygiene. Diving into questions like what bad data is and how to correct it makes it possible to use data and maximize results in your business. 

Do you know what’s standing between you and achieving all of your biggest business goals? The answer is simple: data! 

Data shapes your ability to make decisions and market effectively. Unfortunately, 94% of B2B companies suspect that their customer and prospect data is inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date. 

It’s time to focus on data hygiene. Here’s what we’ll cover in this blog post to help you do just that: 

  • What is bad data? 
  • How bad data impacts businesses (and costs you money and time)
  • What data hygiene is and why it matters
  • Data cleaning techniques you need to use

Let’s dive in!


What Is Bad Data? 

To get started, let’s answer the question “what is bad data?” so that you can understand why it’s even a problem. 

Bad data is information that’s incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent, or out-of-date. 

Of course, you can probably assume that having incorrect or missing information makes it difficult for you to contact your customers. Similarly, bad demographic information decreases your chances of targeting, segmenting, and personalizing your marketing efforts. 

If you’re collecting data for your business, that’s great! You’re on the right track. 

But think of it this way: every single year, thousands of people get new jobs, change their phone numbers, get married or divorced, move, and make other life-altering changes. 

This means that outdated and incorrect data is bound to creep its way into your business. If you aren’t implementing proper data cleaning techniques, you’re going to miss out on valuable opportunities for ROI and growing your business. 

Plus, you’ll lose time and money on the data you’ve built and conclusively lost out on. 


How Does Bad Data Impact Businesses? 

Now that you understand what bad data is, let’s take a closer look at how bad data impacts businesses. 

Data-driven decision-making improves every aspect of your business. But when you use bad data to make decisions, huge problems can pop up! 

Bad data costs your business more than you probably think, in terms of finances, productivity, and missed market opportunities, along with a damaged brand image, too.

Bad data costs businesses in the United States over $611,000,000,000 (yes, $611 billion!) every year. Beyond those high financial costs, your business might lose up to 550 hours every year due to bad data.  

You won’t be able to properly personalize or target your emails, messages, or marketing efforts. Without accurate, relevant, and current information, you’re basically throwing spaghetti at the wall waiting to see what sticks! 

Instead, data cleaning techniques will help you to know exactly who you’re marketing to and how to connect with them in a meaningful way. Plus, you’ll be able to make better business decisions when you factually know what is and isn’t working. 


What Is Data Hygiene? 

Data hygiene is when you remove bad data, such as outdated, duplicated, or incorrect information. This practice is one of the best ways to improve your Return on Investment (ROI). 

If you choose to ignore data hygiene and use data with errors, you might experience problems including low ROI, long sales cycles, misguided decision making, and a lack of success in your marketing campaigns. 


Data Cleaning Techniques You Need To Use

These data cleaning techniques will help you make the most of your data. 

First up, develop a data quality plan. Clearly, you need to consistently check in on your data and delete and update different pieces of information. 

Start by identifying any current errors and fixing them. Pay attention to what might have caused those errors so that you know what to look for in the future. Look for duplicate information (this costs you time and money!). 

Then, make sure that you’re only letting quality data into your database to begin with. In real time, try to validate data accuracy. If you’re going to purchase data, only do so from a quality and reliable source. 

Finally, append data as needed. Data appends help you get a complete picture of someone who you have some data on. For example, if you have someone’s name and email address, an append could add their phone number and location. 

Now that you know the answers to questions like “what is bad data?” and “how does it impact your business?”, you can get to work maximizing your data for the best results. When you implement proper data cleaning techniques through good data hygiene, you’ll be able to expect a much higher return on all of your efforts of collecting and maintaining that data. With a clear picture of your customers, you can make the best possible decisions. 

If you’re ready to implement data hygiene best practices reach out to Exact Data and we’ll help you update your customer database accordingly. To get started give us a call at 877.440.3282.