How accurate is the data you are using for your marketing?

According to Truthset CEO, Scott McKinley, consumer data is wrong up to 60% of the time. More granularly, by comparing 17 prominent data suppliers, Truthset found gender had a 61% accuracy and age was as low as 32% accurate!? So, as a marketer what do you do if you can’t trust your data source? How do you know if you are using quality data?

Here are a few ideas (in the voice of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be a Redneck”) to make sure you are getting the best, most accurate data possible:

  1. If your age data is in ranges instead of actual birthdates … you might have bad data.
  2. If your age data has some head of households born after 2010 … you might have bad data.
  3. If your gender data has “Male” listed for first names such as Elizabeth, Mildred, or Lucy or “Female” listed for David, Steven or Butch … you might have bad data.
  4. If your data provider of US data is not in the United States … you might have bad data.
  5. If your credit data provider has no contracts or onboarding requirements … you might have bad data (and it might be illegal too).
  6. If your direct mail file returns more that 8% undeliverables … you might have bad data.
  7. If your income data stops at $150,000+ … you might have bad data.
  8. If your occupation data includes “Y2K programmer” as an occupation … you might have bad data.
  9. If your auto data has no model years from 2017 to present … you might have old, bad data.
  10. If you data company has “Good”, “Clean” or “Really Clean” in their name or marketing description … you almost certainly have bad data.

There is no surefire way of getting clean data and there is no such thing as perfect data. But, if you will query your data provider’s data and look at some basic data quality elements including min/max, averages, address quality and proportions, you can get avoid the problems Mr. McKinley speaks of when he says consumer data is wrong up to 60% of the time. Many data providers will analyze a customer file for you and provide a free accuracy report to show you the weaknesses and strengths in your data.

Altair ( has been a leader in the Financial Marketing industry since its inception in 2001 helping lenders to acquire, retain and maximize customers through direct mail, email and digital channels. With access to credit bureau data and the nation’s largest demographic database, Altair combines superior data with innovative strategy and analytics to achieve maximum results for mortgage lenders, banks, consumer lenders, and auto lenders.  In addition to financial marketing, the Altair team also works extensively in Healthcare through it’s Braintree Health Marketing division ( to develop custom patient-targeting models for the nation’s top veterinary, dental, and hospital marketing teams. Altair is located in Brentwood, Tennessee.