Timeliness of data is one the most important aspects of database management. This refers to the availability and accessibility of data in making business decisions. Clean, well organized data drives smart decisions and makes for a better understanding of what to expect in the future.
The data you collect should come from reliable data sources. So when the data doesn’t come directly from your customers, you need to make sure to verify the source. Highly trusted sources include studies conducted by Government agencies, Academic Institutions, Amazon Public data sets among others. When referencing these studies, be sure to note the date of publication. The world is constantly changing, so information that was accurate 5 years ago, or even just one year ago may be drastically different today.
Method of Data Collection
While online forms, tend to be the most used method of capturing information, there are many other ways information can be collected and entered into a database. Handwritten information is not uncommonly collected at business and industry events, telephone surveys are often a great way to directly communicate with customers to gauge interest and satisfaction, and mailed-in handwritten response cards from direct mail campaigns produce surprisingly large response rates. And the one thing all of these methods have in common: they rely on a staff person to accurately input their notes of the conversation or transcribe the response card fields into the database.
Collecting data is only half the battle, the other half, and possibly more challenging part, is having trained staff who understand the processes and procedures that must be followed to ensure that the information is accurately captured and saved in the database.
Simple adjustments on electronic forms like having dropdown options when choosing the State field, or pre-formatted fields for phone numbers, or recognizing when an email address doesn’t have an @ symbol are all examples of data verification techniques that can help the user recognize and fix any errors during the entry process. Manually/ hand entered data can be a little trickier to verify. Sometimes companies have two different employees enter the same leads and a comparison is done which identifies any discrepancies, while other organizations do routine spot checks of entered work.
Data security and integrity is extremely important especially when you are dealing with highly sensitive information. Work with your IT department to ensure all the necessary steps are taken to ensure the data is being stored and protected properly.
Data is only helpful if those who make decisions can easily access and understand the data that they are looking at. Creating easy to read and regularly updated reports and dashboards is a great way to share the knowledge with those who need it most.
Data quality and timeliness is a key component of any marketing team’s plan. Collaborating with the various departments that touch the data along the way is absolutely necessary and will enable all involved to gain a greater understanding of the big picture. It all boils down to this: current, clean, and well organized data results in improved sales and improved predictive models.
If your organization needs help to better understand how data quality timeliness is impacting your business, or assistance in improving your current processes, Measured Results Marketing can help. Please email or call us at 571-606-3106 and we can discuss your specific business needs.
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