Data-centred strategic marketing and the importance of clean data


Johannesburg, 25 Aug 2017
Read time 7min 00sec

In the era of big data, clean data has become more important than ever before in order to succeed in strategic marketing. As tools such as marketing automation allow companies to reach consumers on a deeper level, data needs to be free of errors so that conversion is not hindered by undelivered e-mails, lukewarm leads that invariably turn cold, and a lack of deeper data that enables better lead scoring and segmentation.

The Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex 2015 State of Marketing Data Benchmark Report gives some rather scary insight into the challenges of clean data. According to their report:

* 62% of companies' e-mail deliverability rank as "questionable" at best;
* 41% of contacts lacked a working phone number;
* Over 66% of records were missing revenue and industry data (both critical to lead scoring); and
* 71% of companies lack industry information such as company size, employee and revenue.

Why has clean data become the most important criteria for strategic marketing? What happens when data is not clean? How can you implement a regular data cleaning schedule? Let's take a look...

The role of clean data in strategic marketing

First things first, why exactly is it so important that data is clean in order to begin automation and other strategic marketing campaigns? Simply put, data is the lifeblood of any e-mail, lead generation or mobile campaign.

Automating a broken process can end up causing far more harm than you realise, increasing your bounce rate and even putting you at risk of blacklisting. To give you a better idea of how important a role data plays, let's check out what happens when data is dirty.

Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex.
Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex.

1. Data decays faster than you think. A 2015 study done by Biznology on B2B data found that data decays at a rate of 70% per year. Over the course of that year, a number of contacts may have changed e-mail addresses, move companies, moved cities (or even countries!), or simply lost interest in your messages. If you are sending out without doing a regular clean up, you run the risk of automating outdated data that is no longer getting to the right people, let alone hitting its mark from a message point of view.

2. Dirty data also leads to lost revenue. When data is not kept up to date, there is a huge risk of missing out on potential conversion. Imagine this for a moment... you have not updated your lead's contact details for a while, but when you create a buying persona, you don't bother reaching out to your lead because you assume he is still in the same job he was in last year. In the meantime, he has been promoted to CEO, making him ideal for your buying persona.

3. Bad data increases bounce and unsubscribe rates. Another reason to avoid bad data at all costs is that it will often lead to a higher bounce rate when e-mails are not delivered. On a similar note, it also leads to unsubscribe rates increasing when e-mails are no longer relevant or not received at all due to e-mail addresses being incorrect. You may even end up being blacklisted if you continually attempt to send e-mail to an incorrect e-mail address. With that in mind, it is vital that your leads receive the right message in the right way.

Now that you have a better idea of what dirty data does for your campaigns, what about the benefits that clean data offers in terms of strategic marketing? Some of the top benefits of keeping your data clean include the following:

Improves customer acquisition efficiency

You can increase your customer acquisition rates with the help of clean data that allows you to create accurate, up to the minute buyer personas and lead profiles. Over the course of the marketing process, you will need to ensure that your data is always clean, accurate and up to date by implementing and following data quality practices. Because clean data gives you the best possible ROI for mobile and e-mail marketing campaigns. As we mentioned above, there is a huge risk of bounce rates if data is not accurate. Up-to-date omnichannel customer data enables you to reach the right people, at the right time, in the right way.

Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex.
Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex.

Streamlined decision-making process

Data plays a major role in effective decision-making within almost every single business. Data in a typical B2B company doubles every year. Although that data may have started out clean, there are many times that errors could occur. Despite this, many companies do not prioritise data quality management. Instead, many do not have records of data cleaning efforts. Without accurate data, it becomes far harder to adhere to an efficient decision-making process. Clean data makes it easier to keep your analytics up to date and accurate, which in turn improves your decision-making across the board.

Better business practices

Duplicate data in your database can end up taking its toll on your business in more ways than one. Getting rid of duplicate e-mail addresses, leads and phone numbers can save you money, too. If your team is wasting time and resources on leads that have no hope of converting, they will end up spending far more than ideal to no avail. When reliable and accurate data is available for your sales and marketing teams, they will be able to adhere to better business practices in a way that does not waste time or money. Data cleaning can also help you better identify opportunities. Using an example, you may be able to determine whether or not your e-mail marketing efforts or working, or whether you are having more success with mobile marketing instead.

Increased Productivity

A clean and well-managed database also makes it easier for your sales and marketing teams to be more productive. This will make sure that your employees are using their sales time in the best way possible. It will also make it harder for employees to reach customers using out of date information, and also prevent invalid contacts being created and added to your database. Clean data leads to an overall higher rate of efficiency and productivity. For this reason, it is clear that clean data minimises the risk of mistakes as well, due to the fact that employees only have access to reliable and accurate data.

Data-Centred Strategic Marketing and the Importance of Clean Data.
Data-Centred Strategic Marketing and the Importance of Clean Data.

Increased revenue

Last but not least, another major way that clean data helps your company is that it improves the accuracy and consistency of your lead profiles, resulting in a higher chance of conversion, and ultimately, a higher revenue. With clean data, response rates are improved. There is far less chance of e-mails being returned or leads going cold through missing or outdated information. This allows your sales team to reach warm leads quickly and conveniently, with far less risk of duplicate data. One of the many risks of poor quality data is duplicate data. The financial impact of duplicate data is related to how long it remains duplicated in the database. Over time, duplicate data can cause lost resources, time and effort. You are essentially spending double the time on one customer. Needless to say, if this results in the same person receiving multiple e-mails, they will very quickly opt out.

To learn more about how marketing automation tools can help you improve your data, get in touch with Grapevine Interactive today. It will help you find the best tools to ensure that your strategic marketing efforts rely only on clean data.

Editorial contacts
Grapevine Group(+27) 21 702 3333san-marie@vine.co.za
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