I’ve got 99 problems and they’re two for one

What’s worse than one problem? Two problems of course. This could go on – 3 problems, 4 – maybe even or 6. This is applicable to every problem in life. More problems = more misery.

So, with what’s less of a problem and more of a panic-inducing eye opener to many people (I’m talking about GDPR) – many companies are turning their attention to their data quality in their CRM system prior to new legislation becoming enforced. 


Probably the most common problem which propels companies to their wits end are duplicate records within their CRM system. What is even worse is that the duplicates are sometimes really obvious duplicates, for example John Smith and John Smith who both work for Complete Fiction or, the duplicates can be not so obvious:

John Smith                                                          J Smyth

Marketing Manager                                        Head of Marketing

Complete Fiction                                              The Complete Fiction

jsmith@completefiction.com                     marketing@completefiction.com

Send monthly newsletter                             Do not send monthly newsletter

Sometimes, there can also be four or five different versions of one record too – which makes merging the duplicates troublesome as you can only do two at a time. This is extremely cumbersome for large companies who often experience over 25 duplicates for one record regularly.

If you look at the contact examples above, pay attention to the consent statements. Multiple records can mean varied consent statements – so which do you pay attention to? The fines can’t be applied to this case if you merge them into one which has consent because they’ve given it before, right?

Wrong. Absolutely do not do this. In this case, gaining re-consent would be the path to go down and you need to ensure that you only contact the person for the consent they have given and your consent statement must be clear, easily understandable and state exactly what they will be receiving and how. If you’re confused about consent, there’s a webinar here which you can download which breaks it down.

What can duplicates and dirty data cost?

Say for example you’re doing a direct mailing campaign, if we take the average amount of dirty data (i.e. duplicates, outdated, missing information) in databases, which is 20% (according to research by Sirius Decisions) and our campaign is going to 100,000 recipients at a cost of 45p per person. Taking into consideration the dirty data, we’re wasting £9,000 sending multiple communications. So imagine this on email campaigns, phone calls, wasted time for your employees – it really adds up.

I guess the question for many companies will be ‘where do I start?’ It’s good to have an idea of what you’re working with, so start off with a data quality report. They’re usually free and very informative – providing various insights on the standard of your data in CRM. They also give advice on what services can help better your data – especially with GDPR looming.

For a free data quality report, click here.

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