B2B data is the lifeblood of a business’ marketing campaigns. Sourcing it, acquiring it and using it correctly can be the difference between gaining new leads and customers and failing to achieve this.

But have you considered the cleanliness of your data? Only “clean” data is useful data; no matter how many records you have, “dirty” data will harm rather than help your business.

Data can be dirty for a number of reasons, including:

  • It is out of date
  • It is inaccurate
  • It has been obtained unethically or illegally

In this post, we will consider three negative consequences for your business that could arise from using dirty B2B data.

1. Lost revenue

According to an infographic created by Lemonly and Software AG, bad data costs businesses between 10 and 25 per cent of their revenue. Clearly, clean data is a lot better for your bottom line.

If you are using dirty data, then you are not targeting the “right” people through your marketing campaigns. For instance, if your records are out of date or inaccurate, then your messages won’t reach their intended recipients. If, on the other hand, your records have been obtained unethically or illegally, then it is highly likely that the people you are focusing on will not be the appropriate audience for your product or service – and may even be very annoyed that you have contacted them at all.

Ultimately, these scenarios result in wasted time and resources as you pursue low-quality and inappropriate leads. This weakens your sales revenue chain – and your business as a whole. Financial goals are not met and your marketing efforts result in a poor ROI. Therefore, you end up backpedalling in an attempt to repair the damage.

2. Damaged reputation

Using dirty data on a frequent basis can quickly see your marketing messages viewed as spam. If the wrong people receive your marketing correspondence they will likely view your organisation as a nuisance and could pass this viewpoint on to others. Similarly, if someone receives a phone call or letter addressing them as Mr. Brown when their name is Mr. Smith, they are likely to perceive your company as disorganised and unprofessional.

When it comes to email marketing, using dirty data will result in more bounces, a lower open rate, and a lower click through rate. High numbers of bounces or complaints from recipients can also lead to your ISP address being blacklisted.

3. Breaking the law

In the UK, there are a number of rules in place to protect individuals and businesses
against unsolicited marketing messages. These are outlined in The Privacy and
Electronics Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR). They are
derived from European law and sit alongside the Data Protection Act.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) levies significant fines for businesses that break the law. For example, in February 2016, a lead generation firm was fined £350,000 by the ICO after making over 46 million automated nuisance calls. This was the regulator’s largest ever fine.

What to do next

So how can you ensure that your business doesn’t suffer the fallout of using dirty data? The key is to only use data that has been obtained from a reputable source, is accurate and up to date.

It’s best practice to regularly review your database to check for accuracy and remove any “dead” records; and you should never buy a data list online from a random organisation whose credentials can’t be proven.