What level of data quality should you strive for? This might seem like an obvious answer, namely, 100%, in reality that’s not possible. Your data quality is worse today than it was yesterday, because data degrades, a company no longer exists, a telephone is no longer active, a contact name changes, and so on. Also, unless data is being entered in perfectly, new data will erode the 100% target. There is no way of ensuring all these factors are accounted for every single day.
If we are to measure data quality then aiming for 100% is a target you cannot meet. However, aiming at 90% or 95% or 97% are far more realistic targets and very achievable.
So when is good data quality good enough for your business? Well rather than thinking of an arbitrary target, think it of it as work in progress. Set a target that is achievable, say 90%. Define the metric that makes up the 90% (a simple metric could be a mailable address and a valid email address.) Write the processes to measure and report monthly on this figure. After a few months you will know whether data is getting worse or better or just averaging a particular value.
Once you have a handle on the quality, you can create specific processes, programmes, marketing campaigns, etc. to improve the quality. This is great for management, as they need simple figures, charts, trends and explanations of what is going on. Once management see the trend, then make sure they understand the ROI, justifying expenditure on data quality will then be easy.
There are other articles on data quality ROI in this blog so I won’t cover that right now; but for marketing data, the answer is always a no brainer because each piece of accurate information can lead to sales which lead to recurring revenues.
When is data quality good enough? Well, it’s not the absolute figure that’s important, it’s the measure and trend that is important. Ensure an upward trend by removing data degradation and proactively improving the existing data.