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Your Data’s Rate of Decay

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Did you know that data has a half-life? That is the amount of time it takes for the information in your database to go bad. How? Because contact data is always changing. The U.S Census Bureau states that in the United States we have a population of 316 million annually. Some of the changes that occur include 2.3 million marriages, 1.2 million divorces, 4.3 million births, 2.5 million deaths and 47 million moves. All of this equals 57.3 changes per year and 4.8 changes per month--which means the data you are using for communications, analytics and compliance becomes stale quicker than you might think.

We have taken the time to develop a formula to determine the actual half-life of data through analyzing thousands of customer’s databases. The formula is as follows:

T1/2=(t ln ½)/(ln mf/mi)

T1/2= ln (1/2)/((316-4.8)/316)=45.4 months

Through this formula, we discovered that after three years and nine months, half of the customer records in a database are incorrect.

This is causing you decayed data that contaminates your entire database, resulting in poor quality data  is the main cause for 40% of all failed business initiatives (according to a Gartner study). Let’s look at the “1-10-100 Rule,” which states it takes $1 to verify the accuracy of a customer record at point-of-entry, $10 to clean it in batch form and $100 per record if nothing is done at all. This includes costs associated with undeliverable shipments, low customer retention and unsuccessful CRM initiatives. The reality is that it isn’t enough to simply have a data quality firewall at point of entry, because data changes after the point of entry. Data should be cleansed periodically so that it doesn’t go stale. It ends up costing you more not to have a solution in place that will verify, cleanse and guarantee that you have valid contact data than it does to have one.

So, what should you do about it? Fight it with data quality tools. Combat bad data with solutions that keep it clean and up-to-date for your organizational needs. From global address, phone, email and name verification solutions, and identify verification and data enrichment tools that add demographic and geographic data, implement solutions that will provide better business intelligence, analytics, and improved sales and marketing initiatives.

Discover for yourself why more than 10,000 companies worldwide rely on Melissa Data to gain a single, accurate and trusted view of critical information assets. Visit www.melissadata.com to learn more.

Natalia Crawford is a Copywriter/Content Marketer at Melissa Data where she manages digital marketing.

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