Time for a Checkup?
To Fight Data Decay, Frequent List Hygiene is Key
By Cyndi W. Greenglass
To prevent and treat tooth decay, dentists recommend a checkup and a thorough cleaning every six months. But when it comes to marketing data decay, it takes much more than a twice-a-year hygiene program to keep your lists clean and healthy.
Customer information can degrade rapidly—by as much as 4 percent to 6 percent per month for some lists, according to Bernice Grossman, president of New York City-based DMRS Group, a marketing database consultancy. And despite the perception of stability in the business world, B-to-B data actually is more susceptible to decay than consumer data. According to Jerry Reisberg, vice president, Industry Relations for D& B, B-to-B data decays at average rates of 15 percent to more than 36 percent per year, with address, phone number, sales volume, employee size and SIC code data all showing significant decay.
The most critical element to the success of your marketing programs—accurate executive names—is among the most volatile data. Even the slightest mistake in an executive name—the wrong title, an inappropriate nickname—can alienate a prospect and doom your programs. Yet executives get promoted, transferred, terminated or simply leave the company all the time. Job titles change. People change their names. Depart-ments get repurposed. Companies merge and change their organizational charts. It's no wonder that in just three months, according to Reisberg, an average of more than 5 percent of CEO and executive names become inaccurate. After six months, the numbers double to nearly 11 percent, and after one year, more than 21 percent of the names are bad. And for executives in new businesses—those less than two years old—the decay numbers more than double, resulting in executive data turnover rates of approximately 50 percent.
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