Dirty data is at the core of bad marketing and sales decisions. It also resides in every business. What sets the success stories apart from the rest, though, is quite simple: those that take dirty data seriously and those that don’t.
Research and advisory firm, Gartner, Inc. addressed the threat at a summit meeting, stressing that if organizations want to gain a competitive edge, they need to identify ‘data stewards’ in business. In a Gartner press release, Gartner’s former vice president, Andreas Bitterer, emphasized the danger and reality of dirty data. “There is not a company on the planet that does not have a data quality problem,” said Mr. Bitterer. “And where a company does recognize they have a problem, they often underestimate the size of it. It’s also important to realize that data quality is not static, because various forces cause it to change over time. So addressing this issue is not a one-time project, but an ongoing program that requires commitment and often a cultural shift as well.”
When it comes to the actual cost of dirty data, the numbers are cringe-worthy. According to The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), data quality problems cost U.S. businesses more than $600 billion a year. And a recent study by DemandGen revealed which departments are getting hit the hardest, showcasing lead generation at 80% and marketing at 66%.
Gartner’s research finds that poor-quality customer data leads to significant costs, such as higher customer turnover, excessive expenses from customer contact processes like mail-outs, and missed sales opportunities. Companies are now discovering that data quality has a significant impact on their most strategic business initiatives, not only sales and marketing, but back-office functions like budgeting, manufacturing and distribution are also affected.
Here are a bevy of bad data consequences:
Without high quality data, Gartner warns, the true benefits of a company’s CRM implementation will not succeed. If the CRM is founded on bad data, every aspect of business is jeopardized from marketing spend to shipping.
The Inbound Sales Network agrees, describing how many companies’ sales and marketing databases are riddled with dirty data that leads to lost revenues. In order to build a demand-generation process that runs efficiently and powerfully, Inside Sales explains, “a clean and accurate database is becoming fundamental for success.”
While dirty data can be a nasty headache, it can also be a wake-up call to be proactive. Implementing rich, clean data is so beneficial that it can actually launch your business, generate quality leads, and achieve targeted messaging to the right audience. As Mr. Bitterer says, “By introducing data quality initiatives, some companies have added millions of dollars to their bottom line as they gain benefits such as increased sales, lower distribution costs and better compliance.” That’s something everyone can smile about.