Last week, we covered the 4 Ways Data Quality Could Be Hurting Your Business. Today, we give you five more reasons to take the plunge and cleanse your marketing database.
1. Data decays at an alarming rate
According to a 2016 study, 69% of B2B marketers say old or outdated information is their biggest challenge to developing a database strategy (source:).
I cannot overstate how critical this problem is, especially for lead generation and customer communications. Every day, people change jobs and get promoted, which leaves your database in a constant state of devaluation. And from execution to follow up, if your data is inaccurate, you’re doomed from the start. Frankly, it’s the lifeblood of any given campaign.
2. The rest of your marketing stack depends on accurate contact and account data
Research from SiriusDecisions states that 85 percent of B2B marketers using marketing automation platforms feel they’re not using them to their full potential.
What’s the root cause here? Take a step back and think of the features most leading platforms offer: personalization, lead routing, and scoring, automated DRIP campaigns, etc. In order to work well, marketing automation software needs complete and correct information. After all, particular data fields often serve as the guide for when and how to trigger common capabilities.
3. A database cleanse can append vital, yet often overlooked, data points
The best market intelligence tools can fill in missing gaps and give a complete picture of any given lead, contact, or account record.
Of course, a standard web form usually asks for the basics – name, phone number, email, job title, company. With those data points in your back pocket, you’re in a decent starting place. But what about industry? Or management level? Or address? Even the city and state where a lead is located can be nice to have.
You may be thinking to yourself, “I ask for that in my forms, I’m all set.” Maybe you do, but the greater the number of fields, the lower your conversion rates. By shortening your forms and filling in the gaps in real time, you’ll generate more high-quality leads. Complete data enables the aforementioned features within your marketing stack, and also plays an essential role in executing other campaigns (e.g. a direct mail campaign only works if you have an accurate mailing address).
4. Data normalization
Data normalization is the most underrated aspect of any marketing database cleanse. It’s a simple concept, which is often taken for granted. Here are two scenarios in which it can maximize your marketing efforts.
- Assume you work for a company whose product helps customer service and account management personnel located in the Northeast. Your database has 100,000 names.
While half of these leads input their job title as “Account Manager,” a considerable percentage use “AM,” and a smaller segment use “A.M.” Complicating matters more, a big portion of your leads work in Massachusetts. So some say MA, and others use MASS. It’s a mess.
A market intelligence solution can standardize – or normalize – these fields into the preferred format. This is important for a few reasons. For starters, data normalization within your marketing database enables smoother and more accurate reporting. Likewise, standardizing these fields will help with lead scoring and routing, ensuring better follow up from sales.
- Personalized marketing works, but it can also backfire in an embarrassing way if you don’t have a system of checks and balances. For example, a lead types their name into your form with caps-lock on, prompting your automated email to read “Hi JOE.” It’s just not a good look. Again, data normalization alleviates this issue without draining internal resources.
5. Understand what defines your best customers
Once you decide to cleanse your marketing database, any reputable market intelligence provider will send you a comprehensive report about the current health of your database. This report will offer a field-by-field breakdown of the information within a lead, account, and contact record that the vendor can confirm, update or append. This upfront analysis will not only guide your decision of which vendor to partner with, but should also provide an extensive breakdown of your database.
What are the top industries, job titles and functions, and management levels in your database? What defines your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP) and buyer personas? This information can inform and optimize future marketing strategies and investments.