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Bad Data a Major Hurdle to Email Marketing Success

Mar 18, 2013   |   2 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

clean up bad dataYou know email marketing is an important part of reaching customers and growing your company’s business. In fact, more than 800 business executives surveyed in a December 2012 study commissioned by Experian QAS ranked email to be their most important marketing channel, surpassing even social media and telemarketing.

Yet there’s a major pitfall looming over your email marketing success: Bad Data.

How do you get bad data?

With more than 30 percent of email addresses changing annually, it’s no surprise it’s hard to keep up. Left untended, your email marketing database can quickly become a minefield of missed opportunities. Executives who responded to the study estimated an average of 17 percent of their company’s data was inaccurate. Almost 30 percent of the executives said they believe they’ve lost a customer because of mistakes or outdated information.

Data can become inaccurate in a variety of ways. One of the most common offenders is typographical errors. In late 2012, Spamhaus broke the news it had been blacklisting major retailers like Gap for email sent to addresses with typographical errors. The typos, believed to be the result of addresses incorrectly entered into databases at point of sale by presumably satisfied customers, resulted in as much as 60 percent of the retailers’ email being undeliverable.

Other culprits leading to inaccurate data include duplicate information, outdated email addresses and domain names that fall out of use. Surveyed executives said sending marketing emails to the wrong address or sending duplicate mailings to the same address were the most common problems caused by inaccurate data. Errors can also result in marketing emails bouncing back as “undeliverable.”

How do you clean up bad data?

With all the time and investment that goes into creating an email marketing campaign, inaccurate customer contact information results in wasted time and money. Surveyed executives estimated they lost an average of 12 percent of their annual marketing budgets on inaccurate data. That’s money better spent on reaching customers with verified information.

Recognizing the seriousness of the issue, many companies attempt to routinely cleanse their lists of outdated and inaccurate information. Surprisingly, about a quarter of the survey respondents said they have staff manually checking lists. You can imagine such a task could be daunting for large databases, but another 20 percent said they use a software service to verify correct information and purge errors.

Email hygiene services can automatically check email lists for which addresses can and cannot receive emails, correct spelling and syntax errors, and replace undeliverable email addresses with current, working ones.

Think your database has a high percentage of inaccurate data? Check out our Email List Cleaning Services page to discover all the ways TowerData can improve the quality of your list.

Photo Credit: Stéfan

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