There’s no way around it – prospect and customer data is one of the most valuable assets a B2B organization has access to. Think about it: without accurate information, how can you market, sell, or provide customer service to your target audience?

Unfortunately, low-quality data is a real problem for many companies—simply because B2B data decays so rapidly. Consider these statistics (source):

  • 40% of email users change their email address at least once every two years
  • 15% of email users change their email address one or more times a year
  • 20% of all postal addresses change every year
  • 18% of all telephone numbers change every year
  • 21% of all CEOs change every year
  • 25-33% of email addresses become outdated every year
  • 60% of people change job titles within their organizations each year

With turnover like that, it’s no wonder companies struggle to keep a clean marketing database.

The Impact of Bad B2B Marketing Data

While inaccurate marketing data is annoying, have you ever truly considered how it’s impacting your marketing campaigns? Low quality data is likely doing more damage than you think.

Here are the three biggest ways bad B2B marketing data impacts your marketing efforts:

1.     You have high churn rates.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, churn rate refers to the percentage of email subscribers who leave your list over a period of time. There are two types of list churn to be aware of.

Transparent churn includes unsubscribes, hard bounces, and spam complaints. Opaque churn refers to subscribers who just don’t see your emails anymore—because they’re going to spam, they don’t check that email address, or they just stop opening your messages.

As we stated above, 25-33% of email addresses become outdated every year. So it shouldn’t surprise you that list churn depletes about 25-30% of the average email list every year (source).

If you don’t grow your email list at a pace greater than your churn rate, your list will stay the same size or even get smaller.  So, what does list churn have to do with B2B marketing data? The short answer—everything.

Think about it: if your department doesn’t prioritize email data hygiene, it’s likely that list churn is wreaking havoc on your email campaigns.

2.     You’re annoying your customers and prospects.

If a prospect has just been promoted to a senior manager or director position, it might rub them the wrong way if you continue to send them emails addressed to ‘marketing specialist’. The same goes for names—Karla won’t be pleased to receive an email addressed to Carla.

If your marketing database isn’t accurate or up-to-date, you might be making mistakes like this all the time.

3.     You aren’t targeting the right audience.

The key to generating product or brand interest is sending highly relevant messages to the right audience at the right time. In fact, we often recommend that marketers analyze their existing customer base to create buyer personas as the first step of any new marketing initiative.

Unfortunately, if your database contains inaccuracies you might be basing your buyer personas on completely false information.

The Old Solution: A B2B Data Audit

We’ve already inundated you with B2B marketing data statistics—but here’s one more: As much as 40% of all B2B sales leads contain bad data (source). This quality issue stems from initial entry errors, missing fields, outdated information, and record duplication.

impact of bad data

If your marketing campaigns aren’t generating leads or your lead-to-customer conversion rate is low, it’s likely an impact of bad data. Typically, the first course of action in this instance is to perform a B2B marketing data audit. A one-time data audit involves three key steps:

  • Analyze your data. Partner with a market intelligence solution to analyze your existing database. Although you can perform this step yourself, it’s often a time consuming, tedious process that is best done by a third party vendor.
  • Append your data. Work with the same market intelligence solution or an alternate vendor to fix any holes or inconsistencies in your marketing contact database.
  • Assess and improve data collection methods. Take a look at all data collection methods. This includes web forms, mass uploads, or manual entry. Do you require certain fields but not others? Do you ask unnecessary questions? Are the labels confusing? Try to streamline your web forms and minimize any manual data changes.

Once you’ve completed your initial data audit, your job isn’t complete. In fact, you’re just getting started.

The New Solution: Ongoing B2B Marketing Data Hygiene

In an environment where data is currency, quality is key. But as marketers, we’ve found it’s become increasingly difficult to stay on top of marketing data hygiene. As SiriusDecisions stated in a recent report, “Organizations must shift their focus from one-time data cleansing to ongoing data maintenance to turn the tide.” (source)

impact of bad data

As your prospects and customers change jobs and contact information it’s critical that you keep up with them. We cannot stress this enough. Rather than scheduling the occasional B2B marketing data audit, you must now integrate database maintenance into your day-to-day life as a marketer.

The impact of bad B2B marketing data can be devastating to your marketing efforts- but it doesn’t have to be!

ZoomInfo can help. With the ZoomInfo for Salesforce Suite you can ensure the information in your database is always the most accurate and current with automatic and scheduled updates.

With ongoing data maintenance, you can protect your email reputation with access to the most recent and accurate email addresses, decrease the time-to-action with better routing, and improve segmentation, and lead nurturing.

Let us worry about database maintenance so you can worry about marketing. Contact us today to learn more.

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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