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Why Are Data Audits All the Rage?

Poor quality data will limit B2B sales’ opportunities and reduce ROI. Here’s why a regular data audit should be your top marketing priority.

According to the recent Data IQ Data Strategy Research 2013 report, 61.5% of those surveyed cited ‘enhancing data quality’ as their primary data-related challenge. However, just over a quarter of those questioned (28%) had a centralised data quality programme within their data governance function.

It will come as no surprise therefore, that poor quality data has one of the biggest single impacts on B2B marketing success.

All too often, data audits and the use of data cleaning services take a back seat to other marketing priorities. It’s time to redress the balance.


Database degeneration – why it happens

30% of people change an email address every year in the UK.

18,000 people per day change address in the UK.

UK employees are switching roles faster than ever. The leading UK job index for January 2014 (compiled from over 160,000 new vacancies) showed a 29% year on year rise.

Rapidly moving workforce and population = rapidly degraded contacts


How quickly does a B2B database degrade?

35%: The annual decay rate of B2B data in the UK.

3x quicker: The rate at which B2B data decays compared to B2C data.


What impact is ‘dirty data’ having?

58%: The majority of responding companies in Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Industry Census, said that ‘clean and up-to-date lists’ had the single biggest impact on improving email deliverability in 2013.

£95m: Money wasted in the UK each year mailing people who have moved.

 67% of the 1 billion items of mail sent to business addresses in the UK contain one or more errors.

 86% of poorly targeted business mail is thrown away before being read.


How often do companies cleanse their database?

78% of B2B marketers claim to refresh their database at least two to three times a year.


These same organisations claim that data accuracy is the single most significant challenge they face!

Optimum data audit frequency will depend upon a host of factors, including industry sector and database size, however most industry experts recommend you clean up at least every six months.


Business impacts of poor quality data.

According to the findings of the 2013 Data IQ Data Strategy Review, errors and inaccuracies in data create genuine business risk. The majority of those surveyed (87%) cited damage to customer relationships as the leading casualty, followed by loss of potential sales:

87%: Potential damage to customer relationships.

77%: Potential loss of sales.

75%: Potential damage to brand reputation

73%: Higher marketing costs.

65%: Inaccurate business reporting.

61%: Compliance failures.


What database issues will be flagged in a data audit?

The specifics of your data audit can be decided between you and your data cleansing company, but can include:

  • Correction of inaccurate records
  • Addition of missing data
  • Removal of ‘goneaways’
  • Removal of duplicates
  • Checking email address formats
  • Flagging illegal data
  • Identifying best customer profiles
  • Calculating market penetration
  • Identifying scope of untapped market


Poor quality data will limit your sales’ opportunities and reduce your ROI. Make sure data auditing is a top priority in 2014.


Boost your sales pipeline using your (clean) database: The business owner’s guide: use your customer database to boost the sales pipeline