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Understanding the Real Cost of Data Decay

By May 14, 2024May 21st, 2024No Comments

Compliance and precision might lie at the heart of the RegTech industry, but the startling reality is that some companies are wasting a third of their marketing spend because of poor marketing data.

Over time, your company’s prospect data gradually becomes less accurate – a process known as data decay. People move jobs and companies change hands. We stop using one email address in favour of another.

In a study carried out by DemandScience in 2023, 87% of B2B marketing professionals surveyed said that data accuracy is a top challenge. Data decay can have significant consequences for business. One recent study claimed that the average B2B prospect list decays by 2.1% every month. This means that over a year, 22.5% of this data will become out of date, inaccurate or irrelevant.

If companies allow this decay to go unchecked, the result isn’t just an ever-shrinking prospect list. The risk is that companies invest in outreach and marketing activities that simply never reach their intended audience. They waste money in the short term, and potentially limit revenue in the longer term. It’s hard to build relationships with customers if your emails and marketing content doesn’t reach them.

Data Accuracy.

Another study reports that 75% of companies in the UK say that poor data like this has an impact on their bottom line, while marketing leaders in another report said that they fear up to 30% of their total marketing spend never reached its intended audience.

For RegTech companies, the consequences of data decay can be substantial – job turnover in financial services is around 30% a year, more than in many other sectors. This means the rate of data decay is likely higher, meaning the chances of reaching out to prospects using incorrect data is also increased.

At Gungho Marketing, we understand that the more up to date your B2B prospect data is, the higher its relevance, accuracy and effectiveness. We employ more than 100 Business Discovery Agents, who carry out over 50,000+ activities into our data every week as part of our targeted lead generation activities. This means data is constantly checked and updated, ensuring we have the best possible data about prospects in financial and corporate services.

What are the costs of data decay?

It’s essential that your marketing team understands the risks and potential costs of unchecked data decay. For example, one recent report suggests that UK businesses waste £220m every year sending promotional materials to incorrect addresses.

This has a knock-on impact as data loss limits your ability to retain existing customers and build relationships with new companies.  Research from Experian Data Quality shows inaccurate data has a direct impact on the bottom line of 88% of companies, on average costing 12% of annual revenues.

Having access to fresh, live customer data makes it easier to improve customer relationships, drive sales and increase retention. It also provides a compelling competitive advantage against companies who are reliant on data that is decaying.

If we accept that the costs of data decay can be both significant and long-lasting, what can organisations do to ensure that the data being used for outreach and lead generation is both fresh and relevant? And what steps can you take to ensure data is well maintained, so that it retains its effectiveness over time?

At Gungho Marketing, we’ve pulled together three ways to ensure your lead gen isn’t being spoiled by data decay.

Create a data management strategy.

Make sure that you have clear and consistent policies starting with how data is captured. It’s alarmingly easy to cut corners when capturing data but polices and training can help staff understand why it’s important.  Your data management policy should also consider how data is maintained to prolong its useful life – for example, how will data be stored, and would it be helpful to appoint a data ambassador to oversee data quality?

Cleanse data regularly.

Cleansing data is an opportunity to remove invalid, outdated or incorrect information. Companies can use commercially available validation tools to check and correct prospect data, but this task can also be outsourced to a specialist third-party provider.

We recently worked with financial services specialist technology provider Exiger – The company needed help profiling prospects, creating account and target lists and set priorities for outreach. Working with a specialist partner helped Exiger’s sales teams to focus on closing deals and building a new business pipeline, rather than cleansing data.

Choose partners carefully.

A major problem with many third-party suppliers is they offer millions of contacts in a data pool, but the quality of the data is lacking – by choosing a specialist provider you can be more confident that the data is up-to-date and regularly refreshed.

If you are working with a third-party data provider for lead generation, then do ask about their expertise in your target customer area. At Gungho Marketing, for example, we work exclusively with RegTech companies and having more than 150+ clients in this sector means our data is regularly used, checked and updated.

Consider where a potential partner sources data. A well-maintained in-house database will inevitably deliver better data quality than ‘bought’ data. Well-maintained in-house databases are likely to be more relevant, accurate and up to date, which increases the efficiency of lead generation activity.

Don’t fall into the trap of choosing partners based on the size of their data pool – always ask data providers how they build and maintain information, and how frequently maintenance is carried out. At Gungho Marketing our data set of 550,000+ corporate and financial services prospects is highly focused and regularly refreshed. Our 100+ Business Discovery Agents cleanse and validate data daily, as well as enriching prospect data using information from various sources.

To learn more about how we can help your RegTech organisation stop data decay from impacting your business, get in contact.

Questions to ask a potential data supplier

Checklist question


What are your data collection methods (self-reported, public records, online databases) and how do you ensure the initial quality of data collected? The methods used can significantly impact data relevance and accuracy
How often is data updated? This can indicate how current the data is each, which is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign
What processes do you use to validate and clean data? This can indicate how current the data is each, which is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign What specific steps does the provider take to ensure data accuracy, and are these processes automated or manual?
How do you ensure compliance with GDPR and other relevant data protection laws? Compliance covers not just how data is used but how it is collected, so this is important to understand.
What strategies do you have in place to minimise data decay? Do these include proactive measures such as predictive analytics or automated alerts for data that needs re-validation?