Data cleansing, data cleaning or data scrubbing is the process of detecting and correcting (or removing) corrupt or inaccurate records from a record set, table, or database. Used mainly in databases, the term refers to identifying incomplete, incorrect, inaccurate, irrelevant, etc. parts of the data and then replacing, modifying, or deleting this dirty data or coarse data.
How could it work for you ?
Incomplete or inaccurate marketing data in your database or stored in a spreadsheet for instance could not only be wasting your money, but could be restricting your return on investment in any customer approach campaign. Poorly completed addresses, invalid email addresses, or incorrectly spelled names could mean your posted brochure or catalogue doesn’t reach the intended recipient, or an email campaign results in less of your target audience receiving your message.
- Clean data is a critical part of the Data Protection Act, and clean data helps with compliance
- Keeping good quality data reduces mailing wastage
- Clean customer data enhances your business brand and professionalism
- Duplicate data can be more easily spotted and removed
- Compliance with Direct Marketing Association guidelines
- Invalid data highlighted before being imported into a CRM
How do we do it ?
We use a variety of data cleansing techniques to clean, update and repair your dataset. Depending on the type of data and the type of cleanse required, you may have heard of some of the following:
- PAF Validation – Royal Mail based address software for address validation
- De-duplication of data
- Data standardising
- Data enrichment or enhancement
- Manipulation of data for presentation
- Error and rules based checking on specific sections of a dataset
- Repairing common data errors in-situ whilst cleansing
Our data cleansing experts comprise of a team of varied experience, including Microsoft Excel Developers who are proficient in data analysis and bulk data cleansing through VBA programming as well as experienced in knowing the common errors that can manifest in a live database or data table. With the ability to create a fully bespoke data cleansing process and system for your data, we could save you time and money very quickly.
Recent examples of data cleansing
A client’s marketing database contained 18,000+ names with addresses and a recent postal campaign didn’t reach the predicted responses. We were asked to ‘cleanse’ the data, which involved ‘properfying’ the names and addresses (ie John Smith as opposed to jOHN sMITH) as well as carrying out postcode validation, town and county validation as well as standardising each address to allow for easy and accurate analysis. We removed the duplicated records (approx 1,200) and the invalid/incomplete records (approx 2,150) leaving around 15,000 valid, individual, clean and accurate, professional looking records ready for the next marketing campaign.
At an approximate marketing cost of £1.20 per record, just removing the dirty, incorrect or duplicated data resulted in a reduction in cost of nearly £4,000 and an improvement of 18% over the previous response.