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Data Validation and Why it’s Crucial

Data Validation is a process of ensuring a database is good, accurate, complete and most importantly, fit for purpose. Validation forms an integral part of the overall data cleansing methodology. It mitigates against being hindered by invalid data, or even poorly validated data. Above all else, flawed data burdens the whole process at the costs of sales time, wasted leads and damaged reputation, not to mention wasted associated cost.

Data validation allows for various types of inaccuracies on a data list to be rectified where possible. Furthermore, it fills in the blanks, allowing for a more complete database. When it comes to data compliance and GDPR, validation forms part of the many data cleansing processes which are essential for data lists containing personal data.

In this post, we will delve into this topic further. As a full marketing agency with a data bureau, we understand the importance of accurate, uniformed data and the effect it has on marketing campaigns. We want to see data performing as its best for our clients to ensure they receive a positive ROI.

What role does data validation play in the data cleansing methodology?

Data validation is the very first step a data bureau will undertake when cleansing a database. Through validating a data list, this ensures that each field conforms with the appropriate headers. Once undertaken, this allows the database to move onto the next step of cleansing. This is something we address in greater detail in another post. There we talk about the different, essential steps that result in a GDPR compliant, marketable database.

Data validation therefore plays a key role in the overall data cleansing process. Without validation, errors may potentially remain on the database. This can lead to more inaccuracies and errors which affect the overall impact of the data list when used in a marketing campaign. While validation does not check the accuracy of the data (which would be the next part of the process, more often than not), it formats it correctly so that this crucial process can then be undertaken.

With GDPR coming into effect next month, it is essential that you regularly cleanse any personal data you hold. As an individual’s circumstances can change within a matter of days, cleansing your data on a 28 day cycle will keep on top of this. Furthermore, this ensures that the data remains both compliant and highly accurate.

Why should you undertake data validation?

If you purchase data lists in from an external source, their format may not be the same as yours. Alternatively, if you are compiling databases in-house using different staff members, their style of inputting data may be different. Even fields like the date can be inconsistent e.g. 1st December 2018 or 01/12/2018. Different companies and different data processors all have their own style. However, when these amalgamate into one database, it can lead to inconsistencies. Having a uniform data list across the board prevents potential problems from occurring down the line.

This can be undertaken by yourselves in house or through a dedicated data company that can also cleanse and append further fields to the data list in some cases. Certain rules can be applied to specific fields (e.g number ranges or minimum number of characters) as to prevent any inaccurate or incorrect information being entered. This will help improve the quality of the overall database as everything matches up and the formatting is consistent.

Effect on Marketing

Data is crucial for the success of direct marketing campaigns. Highly targeted and up to date data means a higher delivery rate, open rate and overall, more responses. Data validation therefore is a key part of a crucial process that helps your marketing perform at higher rates. By matching and formatting the data, it increases consistency and helps to remove errors. As a result, individual records that may not have been workable become workable. This can be the difference between a bounce and a sale as that one particular record may well be an ideal prospect.

On the other hand, to not put your data through these vital cleansing exercises prior to broadcasting can have highly detrimental effects on the business. There will be more inaccuracies, which will lead to more bounces and failed sends. This not only reduces the response rates, but there are also costs of broadcasting. Broadcasting to invalid records is a huge waste on many resources such as time and cost.

Furthermore, with GDPR coming into effect soon, it is essential that any data you use is up to date and opted-in. Businesses will need to regularly cleanse and update their data lists to ensure they are compliant. Failure to comply can result in heavy fines for the business as well as a damaged reputation. As GDPR concerns personal data, this applies to both business and consumer data lists. Regularly cleanse your data to remain compliant and to maintain high marketing performance. Data validation is therefore a key early step in the compliance process.

Summary

As data is such a valuable marketing tool, it is imperative that you manage every aspect of it carefully and with the highest quality in mind. If you hold any data lists, it is essential that you validate and cleanse on a regular basis. This will help improve the accuracy and compliance of the data list. As GDPR is just around the corner, companies are starting to realise the extent of what they need to do to become compliant.

As Impact Marketing are the owners of multiple data lists, we offer a data cleansing service. Here we will analyse your data, advise on what we can do to improve it and carry out these services for you. At the end of this process, you are left with a GDPR compliant, marketable database.

If you would like more information about GDPR or our data validation services, please get in touch and a member of our team will be happy to explain further.

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