Data Integrity 101: What Marketers Need to Know

Data integrity is different from data quality. It reflects the accuracy of information over its lifecycle. Here’s what marketers should know.

Key Takeaways

  • Data integrity is concerned with the accuracy of data over time
  • Mistakes like data transfer errors and human errors compromise the integrity of data
  • 5 ways marketers can maintain integrity with accuracy and consistency:
    1. Create a dedicated data quality team
    2. Educate workers across the company
    3. Revisit data collection systems
    4. Eliminate data silos
    5. Emphasize data privacy and security

The quality and the integrity of your data matter. Without accurate and relevant information, you can forget about real-time marketing. 

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad data out there. As part of your commitment to using quality data in your marketing campaigns, focus on the integrity of your data.

Here’s what you should know about having integrity in your data. This includes how to implement best practices. Best practices help ensure you’re always using the best data to inform your business decisions. 

Why is the integrity of your data important?

Data integrity is a concept that encompasses data’s accuracy and consistency over time and in relation to its actual validity. We often talk about data quality, but while quality helps determine whether the data is timely, accurate, consistent with integrity throughout its entire lifecycle. It goes beyond data quality to assess the intrinsic reliability of the information.

For example, an integrity concern would be whether the data experienced an accidental change in its lifespan that impacts its accuracy. 

Reasons to consider the integrity of your data in your marketing data analytics strategy:

  • Recoverability and searchability of data
  • Traceable to its origin
  • You can reuse the data
  • You keep track of each change or transfer the data goes through

Even while data quality and integrity remain at the top of the list for marketing challenges, there are simple ways to improve the integrity of your data. Doing so will help improve your business’s efficiency and bottom line, not to mention help save time you’re wasting on using bad data.

Why is it hard to maintain accurate data and consistent data collection?

Data accuracy wouldn’t even be a concept if it weren’t so hard for data to maintain integrity throughout its journey. There are many reasons data becomes compromised, including errors in data transfers, cybersecurity events, malware, and human error. Mistakes happen, and one misstep can completely jeopardize the data’s intended trajectory.

Note that, while the integrity and security of your data are related, they’re different concepts. Data integrity requires security. 

Unfortunately, sometimes even the tightest data security can’t prevent all of these risks. However, you can increase your focus on data quality to minimize them and improve your data management practices. 

How can marketers focus on data integrity?

The right approach to data integrity involves many moving parts. You will continue to revisit your data quality plans to address these challenges over time, but here are a few ways you can put more focus on data quality now. 

1. Create a dedicated data quality management team

Create a team that is devoted to data quality. This team should be in charge of researching best practices, implementing the right security methods, and educating the rest of the company about best practices. This team should also recognize that the integrity of your data is an ongoing concern This doesn’t need to be new hires. Find people across departments to participate in a quarterly meeting to review data input and output.

2. Educate across the company

One of the most important ways to maintain data quality is to ensure all your teams are aligned on this goal. Send around educational materials and hold training sessions when you implement new security measures. Emphasize the importance of following these new practices so company information isn’t compromised.

3. Revisit data collection systems

How do you collect data? Where is it stored? What are your data sources? Focus on where there could be gaps in your current data processes. Make sure someone is overseeing each step to ensure that nothing is getting lost in the shuffle. Always have a tight method in place for backing up data, including using cloud-computing solutions.

4. Eliminate data silos

A common way companies end up with duplicate or redundant data which then compromises its integrity is due to data silos. When data is stored in multiple places and not properly integrated, integrity is often compromised. Eliminate these silos by decreasing the number of sources you’re pulling data from and maintaining a consistent storage solution across teams.

5. Emphasize data privacy and security

Data can quickly become compromised if systems are hacked. To improve your data’s security and privacy, consider implementing these five tactics:

  • Require multi-factor authentication on company devices (a username and password to log in, but also a code confirmation on a mobile device)
  • Store data in an encrypted format and ensure it stays encrypted when transferred 
  • Educate employees on the importance of using strong passwords that are changed regularly and implement an automated system that requires them to be updated on a regular basis
  • Update software and company programs consistently
  • Create a company culture that prioritizes data best practices

Make sure you’re implementing the same best practices for data across the company. 

Your ability to connect with consumers depends on high-quality data that hasn’t been compromised. Data quality should stay top-of-mind as the marketing field continues to adapt to changing consumer priorities and new technologies.

Count on the BDEX platform to ensure data integrity

Your data source matters. Only work with a data platform that prioritizes quality and integrity. BDEX does just that with our identity graph, authenticating over 450 million hashed email-MAID-IP matches by listening to over 7 billion data signals every month. We help you focus on data quality by eliminating bad data from the infrastructure and delivering high-quality, impartial data that empowers marketers to make more informed decisions.

Contact BDEX to learn more about our commitment to data quality.