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The cost of poor delivery and engagement as a consequence of bad data

The Cost Of Bad Data

Information and data form part of an organization’s strategic assets. Not having clean, up to date, valuable and relevant data is a massive opportunity cost for your business and believe it or not, consequence of bad data affects more than just the costs. It means that all of the amazing things one can achieve as an email marketer are just not going to reach the right people.

Our conversations with clients often move towards Big Data and the need for access to reliable data to make informed decisions and in order to achieve the target ROI.

If you’ve just joined the CCM1 community …

In the current, tough economic climate, it is critical to communicate with your customers for multiple reasons:

Having said this, there is no point embarking on a digital communications strategy if you don’t understand the state of your strategic asset – your database. Outdated, inaccurate or duplicated data will produce poor results, which in turn can’t drive optimal marketing decisions. Market dynamics, market forces and big data makes for a constantly changing landscape, so if you are not actively maintaining the quality of your data, your marketing message may already be out of date.

I found a great video that explains why your marketing efforts are draining cash (happens to be on lead generation).

Here are my takeouts, just in case you don’t have time to watch it.

  1. Let’s say you have 100,000 target prospects in your database
  2. Every single year, 30-50% of those contact records become obsolete: the contact gets a new job with a new company at new office location, or just plainly retires.
  3. Research shows that every bad contact record costs you $11, plus the opportunity cost of not prospecting to someone that would have bought from you.
  4. To put it simply, if 50,000 bad contacts each cost $11 each, you just wasted $550,000 AND you missed out on the deals that your competitors got to first.

Focus on data quality, not quantity

Here’s why data hygiene is important from an email marketing perspective:

  • Email Monks estimate that email lists decay by 20-22% every year. Data cleaning, cleansing or scrubbing not only helps maintain your email list hygiene, but also helps maximize your email marketing ROI by removing wastage.
  • An effective email marketing campaign is 100% reliant on deliverability – even if your content is fabulous, it’s worthless if you don’t get the email into your customer’s inbox. When your email data contains invalid emails, the hard bounces will negatively impact your sender reputation, possibly get your server blacklisted and therefore impact all future marketing campaigns.

When it comes to data – size does matter! Rather aim for a smaller, cleaner and more engaged database than a larger ‘dirty’ database, where a significant portion doesn’t actually receive your email communications.

In case you’re still not convinced that email data hygiene should be a serious marketing priority, here’s a list of the benefits:

Improved Deliverability

Improved deliverability

Lower bounce rate

Lower bounce rate

Increased conversion

Increased conversion

Better sender reputation

Better sender reputation

Reduced wastage and and cost

Reduced wastage and and cost

More targeted marketing

More targeted marketing

Improved data insights

Improved data insights

Accurate campaign statistics

Accurate campaign statistics

Increased email ROI

Increased email ROI

Maximized revenue opportunities

Maximized revenue opportunities

So, now that you’re convinced – how do you achieve good data hygiene?

Be ‘ruthless’ with your list, remove undelivered email addresses and flag customers who have not opened your emails – lack of engagement means they are not interested in your content. Either provide more relevant content, or remove them after a period of dormancy.

Any marketer looking to differentiate themselves, must become more precise in their communications and it’s not possible to succeed without accurate and reliable data.

1 Customer Communication Management

Ross Sibbald

Ross Sibbald

Executive Head at Striata Marketing Solutions, Africa

Ross is the Executive Head of Striata Marketing Solutions, an agency focused on leveraging the power of digital communication to achieve the desired results for his clients. Ross is responsible for the customer experience, financial performance, operational efficiency and talent management of the agency.

Ross began his career as a lecturer educating the next generation on marketing strategy. He was deputy HOD in the marketing department at the Durban University of Technology and also lectured at private colleges and various Business Schools. Keeping abreast of the market, Ross managed an IMM franchise (3 years) during his tenure as a lecturer.

Before joining Striata, Ross was a partner and director for an online property valuation company. He then joined Striata in 2010 as an Email Marketing Strategist, and was promoted to Head of Email Marketing in 2012. In March 2014, Ross moved to ABSA where he was acting Head: Digital Commercialise. His focus was on managing the various Commercialise teams with the goal of increasing the Bank’s digitally active customer base, increasing online sales via digital channels, driving revenue opportunities across digital channels and taking innovative digital products to market.

In Sept 2015, Ross returned to Striata to head up the newly formed digital communications agency.

Ross holds an Honours degree in Marketing (Technikon Natal).

Read more of Ross' blog posts here or connect with him on the following social channels: