The rule of thumb is that data degrades by 33 per cent per year. This means that for a consumer database comprising 3.5 million records if you were to do nothing to it within 12 months 1,155,000 of those records would be wrong. A sobering thought, right?

Well, the problem for marketers is that COVID has accelerated the rate of decay. We conducted some research last year which revealed that the property bubble combined with the increased mortality rate meant that data now decays at a rate of 37.5 per cent.

But how about for B2B marketers? The rate of data decay due to COVID is also getting faster due to the pandemic.

Average job tenure has shrunk to just over two years and the number of people in the UK saying that they are considering changing their job is currently at its highest ever level. This means that often the names and job titles of people within your database could be wrong as people come and go. The speed of promotion has also accelerated so you may find that people contained in your database are no longer the relevant contact for your business. Add to this the fact that the number of businesses that have either gone bust or started up have also grown. This means that you might be wasting valuable marketing budget targeting businesses that no longer exist or are missing out on newly formed ventures.

According to the latest stats from ONS the number of business closures in Q1 2022 was 137,210, this is 23 per cent higher than in Q1 2021. This is the highest rate of closures since records began in 2017, it is also the fourth quarter in a row to record a decline. All industry sectors except for agriculture, forestry and fishing recorded an increase in closures. The freight transport by road and courier activities recorded the highest number of closures up by 75 per cent year on year.

A similar number of businesses were also created during the same time (136,390). This figure is at the same level as Q1 in 2021. However, this is 15 per cent higher than the average number of business creations in each quarter between 2017 and 2021.

Clearly the pandemic is having an impact on business closure and creation, and this is having an impact on business databases. With cost control now a key priority for most B2B businesses the need to keep business data up to date has never been more important. This is why we are now offering the only two credible B2B suppression files (Business Suppression File from The REaD Group and Business Changes File from Royal Mail) within our award-winning Cygnus data processing suite.

If you are a B2B marketer and are concerned about the impact that COVID has had on your database, give us a call and we can work with you to identify how many of your records are out of date and help you to ensure your data is clean and campaign-ready!