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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

Getting customer data is one thing, but quality data is another

It only takes a few steps and occasional maintenance to ensure that your customer data is high quality.

Getting customer data is one thing, but quality data is another
[Andrey Popov]

Marketers have long understood the value of first-party data, but those who truly see the importance of how best to collect and analyze it are the ones who set themselves up for long-term success. What good is data if it’s not viable or even correct? In essence, it just becomes a pile of letters and numbers that provides no value for anyone and amounts to wasted time and effort.

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To have first-party data work most effectively, an organization needs a plan to ensure its data is accurate, especially when you are actively investing in data growth. Though the risks of not validating data are great, it only takes a few steps and occasional maintenance to ensure that data is high quality.

WHAT IS DATA VALIDATION?

Any dataset will have errors, but the trick to its usefulness is minimizing the errors to reduce the costs of acquiring and gleaning insights. This means checking it frequently for errors and purging duplicate or deceiving entries.

Data validation is an essential part of any data handling task and, unfortunately, a critical step in the workflow process that’s often skipped over. Validating the accuracy and ultimate efficacy of data is necessary to minimize defects and avoid missing out on useful information.

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HOW TO VALIDATE DATA

You don’t want to pay for data you won’t use, so having an effective data verification strategy, especially early in the process, is vital to maintaining a healthy and accurate database.

One way this can be achieved is by validating data at the point of entry using HTML form controls or other roadblocks to encourage useful form entry. Once the information is received, there are available data verification platforms that incorporate tools such as ZIP code verification and Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to check phone number accuracy and communication preference, as well as other guided checks on uniqueness, consistency, format, and the correct range of entries.

BENEFITS OF DATA VALIDATION

With quality data, customer journeys and insights become clearer. Ideally, the data coming in is rich and accurate and will help paint a clearer picture of the customer journey. Understanding where a user is coming from and what their needs are when they reach a point of contact is a powerful way to better understand their level of engagement down the line.

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Being clear on customer journey stages allows a marketer to meet customers where they are with relevancy. Focus by region, interest areas, and the like. You can tell if users who signed up from a third-party website are more or less likely to stay subscribed and convert. You’re no longer in the dark when it comes to seeking out customers and increasing loyalty.

Validating data at multiple points ensures a standard of quality that will set your data up for success. With the inevitable elimination of third-party cookies, the importance of first-party data quality becomes more important than ever. As you grow your datasets, be scrupulous with data capture, but don’t forget about validation and quality as critical steps to an effective data practice.


CEO of Response Media, a data-led CRM agency that helps leading brands to achieve optimal growth between brands and their customers.

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