As everyone and their dog seems to have jumped on the lead generation bandwagon, data quality is growing more important than ever before.


The rise of marketing automation platforms, such as HubSpot and MailChimp, means that virtually anyone can launch their own campaign, regardless of industry background or marketing experience. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a good lead generation campaign is only ever as good as your data.

In fact, I would even go as far as to say that any marketing campaign is fully dependent on the accuracy and quality of your company database.

Yet, it seems as if an increasingly high number of businesses never got the memo.

In a recent survey covering the impact of marketing on consumers, more than half of the respondents complained that they had received marketing materials, such as emails, for a completely irrelevant product during the last year. To make matters worse, more than 35% claimed that such errors would dramatically reduce their trust in the brand, meaning that these consumers are much less likely to do business with you later on.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how sophisticated your campaign is. If you’re chatting to the wrong audience, your campaign is doomed to fail.

Man looking at Whteboard

Measuring Data Quality

You might have noticed that marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years.

While you could previously churn out article upon article, email upon email, and send it out to… well, someone – anyone – on your email list, this is no longer considered a sustainable way of doing customer communication. Instead, it simply contributes to the saturation and content overload on the internet, something which can potentially overwhelm and turn off the very audience you’re trying to attract.

In a recent study, 33% of millenials claim to “feel overwhelmed by the sheer wealth of choice on the internet, preferring friends’ recommendations on social media rather than searching for content and products themselves”.

As society is trying to cope with this content overload, it’s more important than ever before that your marketing efforts and lead generation campaigns are targeted. Brands today need to realise that they don’t need to shout to the masses, as long as they manage to whisper in the right ear, so to speak. This is such an important lesson that I’m actually going to repeat it: Rather than spamming everyone with generic email blasts, you’re more likely to succeed by sending targeted content and by building trusting relationships with a smaller audience.

Following this, more and more marketers are now relying heavily on analytics and customer data in their lead generation efforts, such as

The success of these efforts relies on the accuracy of your data.

Yet, here at Fierce Digital we have seen plenty of marketing campaigns and lead generation efforts fail due to customer data quality. Perhaps they had databases stored in different formats? Perhaps they’re suffering from data decay? Or, perhaps, they are left with incomplete, inaccurate data after purchasing an email list online.


Don’t Purchase Email Lists

So, this is the part where I give you a little slap on the wrist and tell you that buying email lists online is a really bad idea, Like, really bad. Let me tell you why.

Firstly, it’s very tricky to run a brilliant lead generation campaign if you don’t have the right contacts. To be fair, this is probably the reason why companies take the easy way out and buy data in the first place. However, buying a list online means that you won’t have any way of testing the quality of the data before you get it.

It doesn’t matter if you suddenly sit there with 10,000 brand new email addresses, if they’re outdated or filled to the brim with people who never agreed to be on that data list in the first place.

Secondly, this is a really bad idea because you are most likely violating GDPR rules. As Hubspot explains, “The GDPR has revamped numerous aspects of a digital marketer’s use of customer data (…). You don’t even have to work in Europe to fall under the act’s jurisdiction; if your recipients live in Europe, they’re protected by the GDPR”. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that buying data is simply not a way of being compliant with GDPR.

Just because a data vendor on Fiverr claims that all his contacts have opted-in, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. If you breach GDPR, the fines will be extraordinarily high, so it’s not worth risking. It can give your reputation quite a knock, too.


Data Quality 101: You can’t just buy good email lists

If you’re in marketing, this is a very good rule to live by. Good things don’t come easy, and the same is true for data lists. If the lists were that good, then why are they for sale in the first place?

Of course, the data you just bought might have had a real value at some point in time. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you’re the only one accessing them, meaning that the owners of said data is most likely being spammed to the ends of the earth.

So, these are the signs of a healthy, accurate database:

  • Accurate and precise
  • Legitimacy and validity
  • Timeliness and relevance
  • Completeness and comprehensiveness
  • Availability and accessibility

Naturally, there are many more signs that can determine the quality of your database, and these can of course be prioritised differently depending on your company, industry or even the campaign itself. The key, however, is to clearly define what you want your data to achieve. Once this is done, it will be easier to analyse your current data and discover how it can be better optimised.

As part of 4ICG, Fierce Digital has full access to one of the largest, high-quality databases in the UK. And how do we maintain data hygiene and avoid data decay?  

Well, we constantly cleanse it – thereby keeping it current and updated.


Read more about how we grew email to be the best performing marketing channel for SAS.