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Issues with data quality lead to bounced emails

Richard Jones

August 14, 2013

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To better market products and services to potential customers, businesses are working hard to gather information on consumers - most importantly, contact information. If they are able to round up postal and email addresses of people who might be interested in their brands, they can send them targeted messages that will have a realistic chance of generating more business.

Data quality is very important in this endeavor. Companies are looking to gather contact information as quickly as possible, but rushing the process can lead to numerous errors. Consumers sometimes provide bad email addresses because they make typos, give outdated information or lie. If marketing firms act hastily with this information, they may find themselves sending inaccurate emails. This will be a major turn-off for potential customers.

Rather than rushing into targeted marketing initiatives, companies should take the time to make sure their contact lists are as accurate as possible. Using email verification software and other address management tools, marketers can purify their databases.

Incisive Media recently interviewed Sarah-Lynne Carino, principal data quality consultant at Experian QAS, about this topic. Carino explained that by investing in quality, companies can expect to draw a better ROI from their data-based initiatives.

"Data is an asset," Carino told the news source. "Can you tack on demographic information, or grid references, or any other information that helps you grow your asset?"

The article went on to delineate how confident firms are about their contact information databases. According to a Computing survey, when asked specifically about their email addresses, 11 percent of companies said that over 80 percent of their lists were inaccurate - another 16 percent said their figure was between 50 and 80 percent.

With mobile phone records, the numbers were only slightly more encouraging. Still 8 percent said they had 80 percent inaccuracies or more, and 12 percent pegged it between 50 and 80 percent.

Ensuring data quality isn't easy, as it costs time and money. Stuart Morrison, database systems administrator at animal charity PDSA, told Computing that it's difficult to balance the need for quality data with other business concerns.

"We've all done this, and we've all bumped straight into a wall when we've done it," Morrison said. "You need to understand the business point of view and sell those practices as adding value in their terms. That's a much softer skill."

Data quality may go overlooked by some, but it's vital for anyone who contacts consumers for a living. Quality contact information leads to more business.

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