Are You Using Leaky Buckets for Your Customer Data?

Remember the “leaky bucket” relay game you played as a child, when you would run as fast as you could to fill a barrel with water using a bucket with holes in the bottom? You’d lose a lot of water along the way. That’s similar to what happens with your customer data as it moves through your tech stack. At every step, you’re losing valuable data. How big are the holes in your bucket?

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As your customer data moves from one platform to another it loses scale, quality, and effectiveness.

Let’s say you start with 100M customer records.

You collect and add these records into your CRM. Did you know that 20%-40% of CRM records are duplicates? Even if 25% are duplicates, a conservative estimate, you’re already down to 75M records.

Data pours into your CDP so you can manage it — but expect to lose ~25% of the records in the identity stitching process, leaving you with 19M fewer records to build your target audience. You now have 56M records.

Next, the data flows to your Data Onboarding platform. Another 50% loss occurs here as the offline and online worlds converge — leaving you with 28M fewer consumers to target. You’re now down to 28M records.


Finally, you activate the data. Depending on your activation partners and their individual match rates, you can lose anywhere from 20%-100% of the records. 40% is average, leaving you with 17M records.

Does that mean you’ve actually lost records?

Of course not. The records still exist. But after passing your data across platforms with a “leaky bucket,” you have reduced the amount of accurate records from which you can build viable campaigns.

If you don’t embrace a unified view of identity to integrate your tech stack, the leaky bucket will cause:

  • Actual record loss due to duplication and data mismatches
  • Poor customer experience and inaccurate messaging going to people you don't intend to target
  • Massive loss of target reach and misleading campaign insights
  • Performance hits that ultimately result in lower sales and ROI