Before you can ever hope to have a successful marketing campaign, you need to ensure that your consumer data will live up to the job it needs to support. A very high percentage of small business owners admit to not having such data to hand, and have learned the hard way that this can be a very costly mistake. Having clean, healthy data means ensuring that you do not commit any of the three mortal sins of data.

Poor Data Accuracy

Many businesses struggle with old and incomplete customer and business data which is often held in different formats and across many systems. Lack of accuracy was the main reason for not being able to leverage your data effectively.

Before starting a campaign, you should consider initiating a data cleansing program to improve the accuracy of your consumer data. Although you could do this yourself, it is much more cost-effective to work with third party data suppliers who can cross-check your data against their own and update where needed.

Research indicates that some 30% of your customer data will become out-dated each year if not kept up-to-date. This data corrosion is due to simple things such as moving home, changing job, a change in marital status or even something as mundane as changing mobile operator or internet/email provider. This means data cleansing should in fact be a standard part of your daily business operation. Fortunately, many suppliers such as UK Data House offer exactly such a service and provide ongoing maintenance of your database, thus ensuring you don’t commit the first mortal sin of consumer data.



Poor Standard of Usability

A poor standard of usability is the second mortal sin relating to your consumer data. This poor standard of usability is not so much caused by the lack of data as by the lack of a uniform, coherent data storage system encompassing the entire business. Many companies do not have a uniform data storage system and have their data stored in a myriad of different applications e.g. newsletter subscriptions, email clients, CRM, etc.

Merging these different applications is not an easy task, with many people trying to circumnavigate this problem by creating a customer spreadsheet in to which they export their data. This is in itself not a bad idea, but in the vast majority of cases it becomes the main reason for committing the third mortal sin in consumer data.

Poor Depth of Information

The third mortal sin of consumer data is poor depth of the information available in the data. As well as maintaining the quality of your existing data, a data cleaning program will make you benefit extra through the addition of new or additional further information not currently available to you.

Maintaining good depth of information is a double challenge. Firstly, you must identify and source this additional information and secondly, you must add it to your current information in such a way that it is useful for the purposes of your campaign.  Using reputable data experts who can both provide the additional information and merge it with your existing data is the most cost-effective way to avoid poor depth of information, the third mortal sin of consumer data.