top of page
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • The Autominer

What is Clean Data?

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

And How Clean is Yours?

It might sound like a personal question, but trust us. Cleanliness is king when it comes to your dealership’s marketing success.

What exactly do we mean by clean data and how clean does yours need to be? We’ll tackle that in this first installment of our blog post series, “Data Trends for 2022.”

Discover why clean data matters and how to clean up your act for a stronger and more strategic launch into the new year.

In Praise of Cleanliness

It’s hard not to overstate the importance of data when it comes to marketing, specifically connecting with your audience. For dealers, data offers critical information into their customer base and what those customers are looking for when it comes to vehicle sales.

After all, as Peter Sondergaard of Gartner Research attests, “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.”

The trouble is, not all information is created equal. Data for data’s sake won’t actually get you anywhere.

The connection to cleanliness, with respect to marketing data for your dealership, really concerns quality. High quality data will ideally help you make better decisions and strategically target the right customers for increased sales.

As featured in Dirty Data — Quality Assessment & Cleaning Measures, Q. Ethan McCallum, author of Bad Data Handbook is cited as saying, “We all say we like data, but it’s not the data but the insights that we derive from it are what we care about.”

If your data isn’t clean, your “insights” will be cloudy, at best, and not offer anything in the way of precision and clarity when it comes to your customers.

Management consultant Geoffrey Moore believes, “Without big data, you are blind and deaf in the middle of a freeway.”

We agree. In fact, we’ll take that one step further. Without big clean data, that freeway might as well not even be on a map.

How to Tell When it’s Time to Tidy Up

If high quality first party audience data is so important -- and it is -- how do you, as a dealer, inspect your data for cleanliness?

Well, you don’t. You let us do it, but understanding what makes data clean is important in appreciating its value so that you can actually make it work for you.

Clean or high quality data must meet the following criteria:

  • Accuracy

  • Completeness

  • Consistency

  • Timeliness

  • Uniqueness

  • Validity

Take a look at the brief definitions of each metric below and try to imagine whether your data checks these boxes.

Accuracy -- Why You Need to Hit Your Mark

Starting with accuracy, did you know that the average U.S. citizen relocates residences 11.7 times over the course of their lives? Think those addresses you have on file are still accurate? Probably best to take another look… if not, you’re potentially wasting 50% of your advertising spend on customers who, for all intents and purposes, no longer exist as far as contact with your dealership is concerned.

Complete is Crucial

When we talk about data completeness, we’re looking at customer data fields like contact information -- or lack of. For instance, current dealership research shows that 34% of customers do not have an email address on file and that’s because only 66% of dealers actually bother to collect them.

In light of the number of times most of us move, can you really be confident that any snail mail information you send out will really reach your intended customer for a repeat sale?

With respect to How Much Bad or Outdated Information is In Your CRM? Robert Powell, chief investment officer for the Cardinale Group explains, “Data is useless if you can’t turn it into action. We use it to make marketing decisions. It doesn’t do any good to run an email marketing campaign when 40 percent of the emails are invalid.”

Of course not.

Bottom link: Incomplete consumer data like these represent missed connections and lost opportunities.

Keep it Consistent

Just as it implies, consistent data is information that appears consistent (read: matches) across all stored platforms. Whether birthdates, job status, place of employment, these fields about your customers should be the same across the board. In other words, if your customer has retired and your CRM still has them listed as employed by your local bank, your data is inconsistent with reality and, therefore, not accurate or useful.

Right on Time

When we talk about the timeliness of your data, we’re simply referring to whether the information is up to date. For example, on a recent data deep dive for his latest publication, Chris Martinez discovered that, “38% of the dealers’ clients, within a 7-year historical time frame, no longer owned the original vehicle.”

The Importance of Being Unique

What does it mean for data to be unique? Think of the rule one and done. Your data’s uniqueness will be challenged by duplicate information. Granted, these errors aren’t unique to auto dealers but they certainly can prove costly, especially in light of recent research which shows that duplicate rates can run between 20-30% in a single database.

A Valid Concern

Ensuring that your data is valid means your team can trust the accuracy and cleanliness of the information they are using to make decisions and drive business. Consider this recent statistic: “35% of lead data submitted on forms is flawed.”

The Importance of Data Validation also featured a breakdown of these flaws, highlighting where the information was found to be invalid:

  • 30% incorrect phone number

  • 28% invalid email addresses

  • 27% fake name

Invalid data is nothing but a colossal waste of your time and resources, including your marketing budget.

Make a Clean Sweep for Better Leads

Monitoring and managing your data for optimal cleanliness requires marketing expertise and a full-time commitment.

We know you’re busier than ever running your dealership, which is why we want to connect and introduce you to our 100% turnkey, industry-leading data solution that pays for itself.

Start the new year with better leads and finally reach those low-funnel customers who are eager to buy their first or next vehicle from you.

Contact Our Team at or when you’re ready to make real data work for you and stay tuned for our next installment in this blog post series, “Data Trends for 2022.”

52 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page