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Some Thoughts On Duplicate Data
The most common (and counterproductive) data quality issue is the dreaded DUPLICATE DATA in the direct mail list. Duplicate records can come from several sources – origin input error, import/export errors, or even mistakes from your data entry team. *gasp*
Duplicate data can potentially harm your direct mail marketing and sales campaigns, so we want you to be ‘in-the-know’ when it comes to avoiding it.
So, what is duplicate data?
Duplicate data can consist of any record that shares data with another record in your marketing database. The most easily spotted form of duplicate data is a 100% carbon copy of another record. These are the most visible, and usually occur while moving data between programs or systems.
Exact carbon copies of records are not the only type of duplicate data, however. They are actually the least harmful of all duplicates (BUT their existence can lead to more serious issues in the future).
The most commonly occurring (and most harmful) type of duplicate data are partial duplicates. These records may contain the same name, phone number, email, or address as another record, but these will also contain non-matching data, so they can be difficult to spot right away.
Partial duplicates can be created by human error if a customer or associate enters information by hand. Someone may create a new record for a prospect, customer, or company that is already contained in your marketing database without realizing it.
Sometimes, partial duplicates will start out as a carbon copy and progress to a partial duplicate. For example: you have a customer record in your database that was exactly copied during the importing process. Now you have two customer records for the same customer. Now, as you collect more data about that person, only one records gets updated while the other still exists. You may be inadvertently adding new data to each record, separate from the other. Over time, this will cause the two records to become more and more different from each other.
Understanding duplicate data is a great first step. Now, here’s why you should actively avoid it:
Duplicate data wastes your marketing budget.
When you have frequent duplicates in your database, you may be sending multiple marketing messages to the same person. It’s possible your campaigns may pull data for personalization from the wrong customer record, thus trashing your conversion rates and burning through your ad budget. Plus employee time – editing data by hand is a time-consuming task, potentially taking days or even weeks for large databases.
A single customer view is critical.
The benefits of a single customer view will flow throughout your organization. Marketing, sales, and customer support teams all end up sharing the same data, so it’s imperative that this data is correct.
A lack of a single customer view is perhaps the most detrimental aspect of duplicate data.
Duplicate data presents quite an obstacle to proper personalization.
If you aren’t using personalization to its full potential, you can be sure that you’re losing business to competitors that are. It’s a staple of any effective modern marketing campaign. Many companies rely on CRM data to help them segment their target customers. Time and time again, research has shown that customers are willing to pay more for a product that offers a personalized experience.
Records reflect a moment in time. If you have duplicate records for the same customer, one may be from when they first visited your company as a new customer, and one where they were making their buying decisions. Customers who are at different stages in the buying cycle require different messages to influence their choices. Part of personalization is understanding what your customers want to know and when they want to know it. When you have eliminated duplicate data throughout your databases, it becomes much easier to personalize your messages.
Customer confusion can happen.
When you send marketing messaging that includes outdated or inaccurate data, your customer support team can potentially spend a lot of time answering questions from confused customers. Your customers may feel like they have missed a critical step or need to provide more information. You always want to make your customer interactions as high-quality as possible, and a clean list can help!
Eek, How embarrassing: Inaccurate Information on Sales Calls
Having accurate data and a single customer view is critical for your sales team. They need to be able to access reliable information about a person’s former interactions with your brand. You never want them to go into their sales calls feeling unprepared.
If duplicate data is frequently a problem for your sales reps, they may constantly double check your databases before they talk to prospects. This is a waste of valuable time they could be selling and earning commissions. Happy sales reps make happy (and more) customers.
Inaccurate reporting gets in the way of data-driven decisions.
Every company would like to utilize more data for their decision-making processes. This is valuable information when you can trust your data. If your marketing database has a lot of duplicate data and/or other errors, that results in inaccurate reporting leading to marketing decisions that don’t hold value.
You have to remedy duplicate data issues and errors before you can have faith in the data-backed decisions that your company makes.
Avoiding duplicate data is key.
Duplicate data can have quite a negative impact your business. Our dedicated list managers are here to point you in the right direction and assist you in getting your list cleaned up. We can even offer solutions for your list acquisition so you don’t have to worry about it at all.
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