The Challenge of Data Decay in B2B Marketing
Written by Wayne Kinsella on August 18, 2023

In B2B, maintaining accurate and up-to-date contact data is a challenge marketers face. The gradual degradation of contact information accuracy over time is a hurdle that demands attention and strategic solutions.  

In this article, let’s explore the complexities of data decay in B2B and its implications. Let´s also discuss strategies to mitigate its impact. 

Understanding Data Decay

In the B2B space, the problem of data decay is particularly pronounced due to the dynamic nature of the professional world. The average term of an individual in a job is approximately four and a half years. So, employees leave behind their email addresses when they move to new roles or companies, rendering the contact data obsolete. 

Pre-pandemic reports state that B2B email list data decays at 2.1% per month; that equates to an annualized rate of 22.5% decay per year. Nearly one-quarter of the lead data will become inaccurate over a year. This rate underscores marketers’ challenges in maintaining accurate and reliable databases. 

B2B publishers typically prefill capture forms based on stored data. People signed up to those publishers’ sites often do not keep their data up-to-date, so publishers can often be sat on ‘old’ email addresses and submit these with otherwise valid data. This raises concerns about the effectiveness of marketing efforts, as messages might not reach their intended audience. 

The frequency at which we should refresh a database depends on factors like the type of data, its volatility, and the specific needs of a business or application. Some databases may need monthly updates, while others might only require quarterly or even twice yearly refreshes.  

What is important is to balance between keeping data current and the resources required for frequent updates. Regularly assess data usage patterns and user requirements to determine the appropriate refresh frequency for the database. 

Industry Verticals and Company Size Tagging

We see increased commissioners targeting sub-industries that suppliers do not have tagged in their databases. This causes issues when segmenting data sets and deciding which audience to target.  

B2B marketers should consider adopting standardized industry vertical and company size tagging to counteract the segmentation challenges. This tagging allows for more precise audience segmentation and targeting, minimizing the impact of inaccurate or insufficient data. 


Effective de-duplication processes are vital.  

Unlike many other platforms where duplicates are based on email addresses (have we seen example@example.com before over a set timeframe?), the Engine allows for advanced duplication “Capping” not only on a user (email) but also on the number of contacts from a company.  

This approach enhances data accuracy and ensures marketers work with reliable information. 

Data Submission to the Engine

When submitting data, accuracy starts at the upload process.  

Ensuring the validity of the uploaded data is essential to avoid skewed results or system errors. One common issue arises from uploading (.csv) files with commas within the lead data. To mitigate this, experts recommend saving files as Unicode Text (.txt) to overcome formatting conflicts. 

Similarly, when using (.txt) tab files, removing optional fields is advised to prevent errors caused by empty columns. By adhering to these best practices, B2B marketers can significantly enhance data accuracy from the beginning of the process. 


In B2B marketing, data decay is challenging and requires proactive strategies.  

As the rate of email data decay continues to impact marketing efforts, businesses must adapt. Implement regular database refreshes, standardized tagging, and advanced de-duplication techniques.  

B2B marketers can maximize the effectiveness of their campaigns by focusing on data accuracy from the moment of submission and throughout the campaign lifecycle. Ensure your messages reach the right audience at the right time. 

If you want to know more about how the Engine can help you with your data, send me an email, and let’s book a demo!