Data hygiene. It’s a topic you’re likely familiar with if you work in marketing— and especially if you’ve read our blog in the past.

But, there’s a reason this topic has been discussed at such great length. That is, data quality is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. Consider these statistics (source):

  • 62% of organizations rely on marketing and prospect data that’s up to 40% inaccurate.
  • 25% of the average B2B database is inaccurate.
  • 64% of “very successful” data-driven marketers say improving data quality is the most challenging obstacle to achieving success.

Perhaps you’ve seen these numbers before and are well aware of the problem that is dirty data. But, statistics alone don’t explain the tangible impact that proper data hygiene has on your marketing efforts. So, today we’re going to break it all down for you. Keep reading for five of the most impactful reasons to prioritize the cleanliness of your marketing database!

1. Personalize the customer experience.

It’s safe to say personalization is the defining trend of our modern era of marketing. With more options at their fingertips than ever before, customers demand a buying experience that is tailored to their specific wants, needs, and interests. It should come as no surprise that 79% of organizations who exceed revenue goals have a documented personalization strategy (source).

Clean data isn’t just important for personalization, it’s essential. Let’s say you target an offer to a segmented list of prospects with “content marketing” in their job title. But, due to inaccuracies in your database, a number of the people you include don’t even work in marketing anymore. Or, you personalize an email campaign to include the recipient’s first name— but you fail to recognize that several of the names on your list have glaring typos.

Personalization works best when it feels the most natural, meaning the recipient barely notices it’s there. Data quality and consistency is what separates a seamless, successful personalized campaign from an embarrassing failed attempt. With accurate and up-to-date data, you can better segment your customer and prospect lists for personalized campaigns. And, you can be confident they won’t miss the mark.

2. Facilitate better sales and marketing alignment.

As the line between sales and marketing continues to blur, aligning your sales and marketing departments becomes more crucial. In fact, marketers can generate 209% more revenue when they are well-aligned with their sales department (source). But, inaccurate marketing data can quickly fracture your relationship with your sales department.

Misalignment can plague an organization for many reasons, but the most pressing one is the issue of lead quality. Marketing sends unqualified leads to sales, forcing sales reps to either waste time following up with bad leads or disregard their leads altogether. In fact, research shows the average sales rep ignores a staggering 50% of all marketing leads (source).

Cleaning up your marketing database will help you send better leads to sales, and as a result, facilitate better long-term alignment between departments. With the help of accurate data, you’ll be able to qualify and categorize leads through more effective lead scoring. Not to mention, clean, actionable data allows you to better nurture leads so you can pass them on to sales at exactly the right moment they’re ready to buy.

3. Generate more accurate reports.

A data-driven marketing strategy lives and dies on the strength of your reporting process. Marketing reports help your team assess its performance, test and scale campaigns, and gain actionable insights to inform future decision-making. It goes without saying: Accurate reports depend on clean and accurate data.

Bad data has a domino effect when it comes to marketing reports. Your database contains inaccurate or incomplete data, so those inaccuracies contaminate your reports and skew your results. Then, backed by misleading reports, you make poor decisions that negatively impact your marketing strategy moving forward. With clean data, on the other hand, you can be confident in the accuracy and effectiveness of every one of the marketing metrics within your marketing reports.

4. Protect your email reputation.

Email marketing remains a staple of the modern marketing strategy and, your success in email marketing hinges on your ability to maintain a positive sender reputation. A bad email reputation results in poor deliverability as more and more of your emails end up in spam folders instead of inboxes. So, if you want a squeaky-clean reputation, you need equally clean data.

Here’s what we mean. If you send emails to incorrect, inaccurate or out-of-date addresses, there will be a number of consequences — including high bounce rates, lackluster open rates, and spam complaints. These consequences don’t just make your campaigns less effective — they’re also the main factors influencing your sender reputation.

For more specific tips to clean your email list, check out the following blog post: The Real Value of Email Hygiene: A Marketer’s Guide.

5. Increase customer retention.

It’s no secret, creating a new customer costs more than retaining a current customer — five times more, to be exact (source). And, in order to make customer retention a top priority, you must first prioritize clean data. The quality of your marketing database influences customer retention in a number of ways:

  • Identify your most valuable customers: Data points including purchase history, value, and frequency will help you identify your most loyal customers. From there, you can target this segment of customers with specific retention strategies.
  • Predict customer behavior: Leverage your marketing database to uncover buying trends and use those trends to identify certain trigger events that lead a customer to make a purchase, discontinue their business with your company, and so much more.
  • Personalize your messaging: Comprehensive customer data will provide insights into a customer’s needs, the new products they’ll be interested in, and their preferred communication channels and tactics.

Without a clean marketing database, the above tactics simply won’t be effective. You’ll fail to properly categorize your most loyal customers, and the predictions you make about future behavior will be skewed by inaccurate data.

Key Considerations for Cleaning Your Marketing Database

Before we conclude today’s blog post, let’s review the three main steps to clean and maintain your marketing database:

  • Audit your existing database: Audit your existing database to uncover inaccuracies, incomplete information, and other errors. Although it’s possible to conduct a manual data audit, manual data clean up is time-consuming and prone to human error. So, we recommend partnering with a data intelligence solution that is equipped to perform automated data maintenance.
  • Invest in integrative technologies: Most businesses rely on several methods of collecting data, and that data is likely stored in several different systems, from your CRM to your marketing automation platform and more. When your data is kept in separate silos, you open the door for potential inconsistencies and irregularities in your database. So, we recommend you invest in marketing technologies that integrate with the other systems that collect and store your data.
  • Embrace ongoing data maintenance: Cleaning your database isn’t a one-time process. If you have a spotless database today, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes contaminated with bad data. That’s why modern marketers must embrace ongoing data hygiene. With the help of a data intelligence solution, you can leverage automated and scheduled data audits and appends to ensure your database stays clean.

While the above steps provide a brief overview, there’s plenty more to learn about cleaning your marketing database. Fortunately, we have a number of additional resources for you to check out:

To learn all about what ZoomInfo has to offer, contact our sales team today. Our data intelligence platform and data append solutions can keep your marketing database in top condition.

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

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

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