The Cost of Bad Data as a Marketeer

As a digital marketeer, data is king and the cost of ineffective data can be detrimental not only to the success of your campaigns. Still, it could also alienate or deter your audiences. Having incomplete, ineffective, or redundant data can lead you to making bad marketing decisions, causing business-altering mistakes.

CMO’s have to be aware of the impact of bad data and how to identify it and how to rectify the problems before they become too significant and irretrievable to the point of effectiveness.

Whilst bad data may begin in one place, such as marketing, it has the capabilities to spread through a business like a wildfire. Just a tiny sample of incomplete data can affect most  areas of business very quickly as so many departments will be reliant on the same information. However, having effective data management can’t just be turned on like a tap when you realise you have a problem - it has to be ingrained in the company culture from day one and needs to be taken as a serious issue across the board.

Bad Data In Numbers

According to research conducted by Gartner, ‘the average financial impact of poor data quality on organisations is $9.7m per year’. This statistic highlights the true financial impact that poor data quality can have on your organisation if not maintained well. It’s not an unfair assumption to make that failing to retain your data quality or not recognising when your data quality begins to slip, puts your entire business at risk.

In addition to the full financial impact of ineffective data, 60% of businesses believe their data to be unhealthy, but most cannot fix the issues. In terms of the amount of inaccurate data, it’s estimated that 25% of an average database’s records are approximate.

As a general mindset, people at the very top of business know that bad data exists, but few are keen on doing anything about it, or don’t have the capabilities to do anything about it. Nowadays, it’s not enough to just ‘paper over the cracks’ - business leaders and marketeers have to tackle their data misgivings head on.

One method that marketers have taken is to bring their marketing ‘in-house’, cut costs, take back control of the data, and become more transparent in data processes. However, for this to be effective, you need to know how to make your data work for you and how to ensure your data is as accurate and reliable as possible.

The Effects of Bad Data Spreading Through A Business Like Wildfire

Bad data has the potential and ability to spread through a business like a wildfire, reaching every corner of an organisation. Its effects can be devastating and notoriously difficult to extinguish. It isn’t an understatement to say that bad data can destroy parts of your business with total ease - it’s vital that you keep ineffective data away from your company and know how to quash it quickly and effectively if it does occur. 

The Real Dangers for Marketers

It’s very easy for an expert to tell you how damaging bad data can be, and for businesses to think it simply doesn’t apply to them. Many C-suite executives will make an instant assumption that just because their business isn’t data reliant, bad data can’t have the same devastating effect. However, there are a number of key marketing activities that bad data will directly affect:

The first, and key issue is targeted campaigns. Having weak and unhealthy data limits the levels of targeting that you can do with a specific campaign, making your outreach generic. This in turn limits the impactfulness that your campaign carries, and will stifle the results that you could have achieved with personalisation. Personalisation is a key marketing tool to improve the quality and performance of campaigns, but without quality data you simply cannot deliver this.

The second key tool affected by poor data is mailing lists - or the lack of in this case! Many businesses utilise direct mailing to spread their messages, advertising, campaigns, and business offers. They do this by compiling mailing lists which they distribute their content to. When the data you use to compile these lists is outdated (and ultimately useless) then your mailing lists become weak, ineffective, and not fit-for-purpose. It limits how easily you can reach the best audiences, which naturally leads to a more limited performance.

Once you’ve launched your campaigns, businesses will naturally analyse and ultimately judge the performance of said campaign against the business KPIs. Struggling with data quality will lead to businesses being unable to effectively analyse and scrutinise campaigns, limiting the ability to determine the effectiveness of decisions, and pinpoint weaknesses which can be improved upon if the campaign was to be repeated.

Ingraining Effective Data Management in The Company Culture Right From The Very Start

There can’t just be one person responsible for your data quality, and it’s not something you can turn off and on like a tap. Achieving quality data takes time and must be thoroughly ingrained in the business from top to bottom.  Whether you’re at the top or bottom of the tree, quality data falls on the shoulders of everyone involved in a business, and everybody needs to be aware of the implications.

If anything, quality data needs to be fully embedded and ingrained in the company culture right from the very beginning. If you can make data quality a real culture point from the word go, then this will aid you beyond belief when it comes to ensuring that your data quality maintains a high standard.

It’s also worth noting that pertinent data is a mindset more than anything, so ensuring your employees and stakeholders understand the implications of poor data will help you build a happy, healthy, and ultimately long-lasting data plan. Quality is absolutely the key to having a strong marketeers base.