By Sam Colclough, Date Services Director, LBM Direct Marketing Ltd

Data erosion has always been a key concern for data suppliers and marketers. With the recession increasing the rate of erosion new ways of indentifying goneaways in your data is essential to cut down on marketing wastage. There are three key factors to indentify goneaways and maintain database quality: variety, frequency and recency. Having a high quality and high performing database, which in turn will cut down on marketing wastage, is basically a numbers game.

No single source of B2B goneaways in the marketplace will have 100% coverage, so the more variety you have, i.e. the more sources of information feeding the database, the more confidence you can have that the information is correct. With updates to your database, there are always going to be user error discrepancies; a name misheard or typed incorrectly on the phone, even entered incorrectly by the customer themselves. Multiple sources of verification help to identify and fix these problems.

It goes without saying that if multiple sources improve the quality of your database then the frequency of those updates should also be a factor. The more often information is verified the more confidence you can have in it being correct. In the case of the misspelt contact name, a subsequent call would more than likely identify and rectify the mistake.

Finally, and most importantly, is recency. It is sometimes overlooked that the best quality data is the most up to date. If all your data had been validated within the last 2 months, there would be little need to search for goneaways within it. This is obviously easier said than done, not only from a cost perspective but usually from a practicality one; contacting all your customer or prospect records is expensive and time consuming.

Online options, including our DV Cleanse system, have improved hugely in recent months, allowing you to identify goneaways and work through the above key factors quickly and economically. That said, nothing can beat contacting the businesses yourself via any of the many channels now available, and ensuring that any calls and responses such mailing returns or email bouncers are handled appropriately. If you have any concerns about how to do this, try using one of the B2B direct marketing companies who specialise in doing it, such as LBM!

For more information on data cleansing techniques please email Sam Colclough on samc@lbm.co.uk

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