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Why Data Validation Is Every Marketing Hero’s Trusty Sidekick

Data validation’s power to intercept bad data and keep it from bringing down your campaigns, irritating your customers, and leading to uninformed decisions is legendary. As a critical aspect of your data management strategy, data validation ensures that the data that is coming into and flowing between the data sources within your organization remains relevant and ready to use. After all, what good is it to cleanse and enrich the data you have today, if tomorrow you allow dirty data to waltz in unchallenged and pollute your systems? In today’s blog, we’ll cover the many measurable benefits data validation delivers and three data validation steps you need to implement as soon as possible.

  1. Data Validation Ensures Good Data Comes In, So Great Campaigns Can Go Out

Your objective in implementing data validation practices is to ensure that the data your organization is collecting and using is accurate, current, relevant and consistent across all customer touchpoints and departments. Using data validation and verification tools to automate the process of validating and verifying data is an indispensable move when it comes to preventing incorrect or incomplete information from entering your databases. In addition, using standardized forms and fields to validate data at its point of entry is a best practice that has immeasurable rewards in helping your organization continue to maintain data that is superior in its quality.

2. Data Validation Enables You to Maximize Your Marketing Spend

Investing in data validation is a wise decision with countless advantages. In case you need a few reasons to get motivated, we’ve compiled a short list of how data validation saves your budget and optimizes marketing’s ROI. Good data validation practices can help you:

  • Enhance Customer Loyalty and Reduce Churn: Data that has been validated to be accurate enables you to build trust with customers by delivering a more intelligent and personal customer experience. Customers are quick to recognize when the information you use is current, complete and relevant to their situation—and when it is not. In fact, recent research shows that 72 percent of customers will share a positive experience with six+ people. But when a customer is not happy, 13 percent share their experience with 15+ people. When your customers talk about your company, much of their experience will be based on the messages you send them before they purchased a product or service from you. Make sure those messages are comprised of valid data!

  • Boost Campaign Performance: Did you know that 78 percent of customers say personally relevant content increases their purchase intent? Bearing this in mind, the only data you should ever use to personalize your campaigns, content and other marketing efforts, is data that has been validated. When your data is accurate, it does more than prevent you from irritating good customers and wasting money by sending multiple campaigns to the same person — thanks to a standardization error. It saves you money on media costs. It enables you to send the right message at the right time. This in turn allows your campaigns to be more relevant and effective in producing the kind of results you want to see—like a 78 percent increase in customer motivation to make a purchase.

  • Optimize Resources: Every marketer is charged with the task of doing more with significantly less, which is why you can’t afford to let invalid data cause you to waste money on things that don’t work. Valid data is also essential to your ability to glean insights and allocate your precious budget dollars toward marketing endeavors that are proven to deliver. And it’s vital to your ability to make better predictions—from which customer segments will be more profitable and what campaign topics will boost engagement, to what channels will be most effective in reaching a new market, etc. The right answers to these questions, as well as your ability to wield your marketing dollars with greater wisdom, all lies in how valid/accurate your data is.

3. Data Validation Helps Your Organization Comply With Government Regulations

Whether receiving, sharing or storing data, it is imperative that all of your data complies with the latest data privacy regulations, like the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Beyond having robust policies to safeguard customer information, you need to have automated data processes in place, whose sole functions are to ensure accurate data housed within your systems stays private, protected and in complete compliance with international, national, state and local laws and regulations. The good news is when you leverage data validation processes to keep data clean and compliant, it enables you to build trust with customers. What’s more, it also keeps you from the expenses caused when bad data leads to breaking anti-spamming laws, which in addition to damaging your brand’s reputation, can lead to fines from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other legal woes.

How to Establish a Marketing Data Validation Process

Step 1: Craft Data Validation Rules

In order to craft good data validation rules that will help ensure your organization’s data is accurate, consistent, and reliable, you need to first determine which data elements are critical to the success of your marketing objectives and require validation. Then, follow these steps:

  • Set Clear Data Standards: Define what constitutes valid data in your organization by specifying acceptable formats, ranges, and types of data for different fields.
  • Create Different Types of Validation Rules: (See three examples below)
    • Data Type Validation: Ensure each field contains the appropriate type of information (e.g., text, numbers, dates).
    • Range Validation: Set boundaries for numerical values to ensure they fall within range.
    • Consistent Expressions: Standardize formats for data entries to maintain consistency (e.g., date formats, abbreviations).
  • Implement Pick-Lists: Use controlled pick-lists for fields where only certain predefined options should be selected.
  • Conform to Business Rules: Ensure that data entries adhere to your business logic (e.g., a discount percentage should not exceed a certain limit).
  • Syntax Validation: Check that data entries follow a specific format, especially for fields like email addresses and phone numbers.

After implementing your data validation rules, be sure to test them with real data samples so that you can identify any issues or gaps. Also, make sure you set processes in place to continuously monitor the performance of your data validation rules and update them as necessary.

Step 2: Cleanse and Enrich Your Data

Establishing daily data cleansing processes in every system that houses data is critical to your ability to respond quickly to market changes, new opportunities and promising customer insights. Naturally, keeping data this tidy requires the magic of automated data validation. Automation enables you to validate data at the point where it enters each system, and this enables you to ensure that only clean data gains entry into your “clean machines.” Other data validation processes you will want to implement include:

  • Detect and delete duplicate contacts
  • Identify and correct data errors, i.e., spelling, syntax, blank fields, etc.
  • Enforce the data rules and standards you established for how data appears across all systems
  • Fill in missing datasets by using reputable third-party vendors

Step 3: Seek Professional Help in Validating Data

At Sureshot, we are masters at setting up automated data validation processes for complex martech ecosystems. We have a team of experts and a portfolio of data solutions that are fully committed to helping you maximize the potential of your data. If you are ready to harness the power better data quality can bring to your marketing strategy and initiatives, contact us, or start by taking our FREE Martech Assessment.