Data is one of the most important assets of any modern business. This is true regardless of the size of your company, the industry you operate in, or the specific marketing strategies you use. Suboptimal data will inevitably generate suboptimal results. The best way to avoid this problem and ensure that you are basing your marketing campaigns on the best and most accurate information is to clean your data regularly. Read on to find out what is data cleaning why is data cleaning important?
What does the term ‘data cleaning’ mean?
Data cleaning – also called data cleansing or data washing – is the process of checking your records for any information that is incorrect, incomplete, or irrelevant, and either removing or fixing it. This can be as simple as catching misspelled words, but also involves standardizing the way data is entered and checking that information (such as customer contact details) is up to date.
There are plenty of websites where you can learn about data scrubbing, whether you want to do it in-house or outsource to a company that provides full data cleaning services. Whichever option you choose, be sure to cleanse your data regularly because it can easily get outdated again within a few months.
Data cleaning looks at three main categories to improve your data:
Accuracy: this assesses whether the data you hold – such as customer addresses, phone numbers, and email – is correct, for example by matching your database with external records.
Validity: this looks at whether your data is in the right format – for example, checking that phone numbers have the necessary area codes.
Completeness: this examines whether there are any blank spots in your data so that you can fill in any incomplete sections.
Each of these aspects is crucial for reaping the maximum benefit from the data you hold. Depending on the current quality of your data, how much data you have, and the tools you use, the process can take as little as a week or much longer, but you’ll find the result is more than worth putting in the effort for.
What are the benefits of data cleaning?
Data cleaning is vital for all businesses. There are many reasons why including:
It saves you money – dirty data can result in money being funneled into ineffective marketing campaigns based on inaccurate information. Washing your data helps you to spend your budget better where it can make the most impact.
It saves you time – problems with your data can mean employees end up wasting time correcting errors on your databases or chasing dead ends.
It enriches your data – data cleaning can be a good opportunity to fill in gaps and add extra information, helping you to get the most out of your records. This, in turn, enables you to make better business decisions.
It leads to better customer relations – better data can help you to learn more about your target audience and current customers, leading to more personalized marketing campaigns and higher customer satisfaction.
To sum up, if you’re a business owner looking to improve your decision-making and boost the success of your marketing campaigns, data cleaning is a fantastic place to start.