Regardless of whether you’re running a multi-channel campaign or a single-platform project, your marketing efforts’ success depends, to a large extent, on the quality of data at your disposal. Nowadays, more than ever, B2B marketers rely on data stored in such formats as a targeted cold calling list, email/mailing list, marketing/sales contact database, and sophisticated CRM database. Social media also has greatly contributed to the data supply and demand situation as business insights become increasingly tied to customers’, vendors’, employees’, and competitors’ information online.
However, despite the growing focus on data-driven marketing campaigns, a lot of companies are still struggling in terms of having sound data quality programs. According to Forrester, only 12% of companies base key business activities on intelligence provided by quality data. This leads to considerable inefficiencies which the Gartner Group estimates cost the average firm about $8.2 million each year.
While you may think that these figures may not be readily applicable to your marketing campaigns, the fact that poor data quality leads to wasted resources is reason enough for you to start considering (or reconsidering) your approach to marketing data quality. Here are six key tips to help you begin your evaluation:
1. Adopt a data management plan. Pull your company out of the 88% that haven’t yet seriously considered the need to systematically approach managing business and marketing-related data. Outline the set of specific procedures and guidelines you need to follow in order to ensure high data quality in your contact database, calling list, email list, and other marketing databanks from acquisition/development to maintenance/updating.
2. Cleanse databases regularly. As much as 78% of B2B marketers say they update and clean up their database at most three times annually. However, superficial database cleansing can only take your marketing efficiency so far. A more thorough database cleanup approach requires analyzing the whole process of marketing data acquisition, storage/removal, and retrieval in order to find flaws in the system that cause deterioration of data quality.
3. Involve both sales & marketing. When developing a strategy to address marketing data management issues, it’s more productive to actively involve both your marketing team and sales staff in the brainstorming process. There has to be some common grounds to work from when it comes to managing marketing databases. In this regard, the inputs from sales are just as important as those from marketing.
4. Collaborate across departments. Aside from aligning marketing and sales in the data management process, there also has to be close collaboration between various departments, notably IT and those that handle supplier, employee, partner, and other company information. Oftentimes, marketing also relies on the quality of information from these internal sources.
5. Consolidate data housing. Common data housing practices call for data to be incorporated only into the system where they originate or are typically used. With consolidation, data is made compatible and available to other systems in the company. Consolidation doesn’t contradict segmentation. In fact, it enhances calling list or email list segmentation by expanding the possible criteria set.
6. Monitor relevant metrics. The analytics used to gauge data quality and its impact on the marketing campaign are as varied as the number of databases involved. In order to see past the blur of countless metrics, it’s best to match these with data sources and purposes and start from there.
At first glance, the above points may seem to require a lot of work. However, the payoff in terms of optimizing your marketing processes is worth more than the time and resources you put in.
In your business, how do you ensure high data quality? Do you regularly reevaluate your marketing and sales leads database?