Data fuels today's marketing strategies, and without data, marketing can't do its job. But data is not just a collection of numbers or entries in a database. In many ways data is a living, continuously evolving entity. Managing data is essential to being able to maximize return on the investment in it, but what does it mean to manage data?
Managing data means making it useful, and the specific tasks involved in data management vary depending on who it belongs to and what they want to do with it. But in all cases, data management requires regular evaluation of accuracy and timeliness. Putting inaccurate or out-of-date information into your marketing process is like putting bad fuel into your vehicle in that the outcome won't live up to expectations. Without good data, marketing can fall flat.
The Problem of "Dirty" Data
Dirty data may consist of inaccurate information, duplicate records, incomplete information, or data that is outdated, and this type of data can cause you to leave money on the table. Data that has been subject to improper parsing of records from multiple systems is considered dirty too. Using dirty data can have a significant negative impact on marketing. It can undermine your company's ability to produce quality content (and hence generate quality leads), and can result in low click-through rates and responses, so your marketing budget isn't getting its money's worth. Making decisions based on data that is not cleansed and current can lead to faulty marketing decisions. If your organization's data is dirty, you need a data cleansing plan.
Managing Data Involves Integration and Repeated Cleansing
Perhaps you're confident that your data is cleansed and accurate, but it is separated out into silos. Having the best, most comprehensive understanding of your customers requires that you have the ability to gather and integrate data from multiple places. Data that is locked up in silos prevents this, and makes inadequate use of your data marketing budget. Integrating data from disparate sources is an important part of data management.
If your data is accurate and timely, and it's linked rather than siloed, that's terrific, but it's not the end of the road as far as data management is concerned. Phone numbers, preferences, and other customer information change, so you can't count on last year's data being as clean as you need it to be. Cleansing of data - removing or correcting inaccuracies, eradicating duplicate data, and adding relevant new information - has to be a continuous process in order to make the most of it.
Insights Based on Incomplete or Inaccurate Data Do Not Serve Your Business Well
You may have a talented, hard-working marketing team, but without high quality data, marketing can't live up to its potential. Understanding your customers comprehensively is the key to providing them with the information they need to choose your products and services, so you have a real competitive advantage when you have clean, relevant data that is readily accessible. Conversely, the insights you gather based on incomplete, inaccurate, or outdated data can lead you to make well-intentioned, but wrong decisions in terms of marketing tactics.
Sound data management increases marketing performance across the board. Data isn't a static entity, but continuously evolves, and making the right marketing decisions requires that you have access to up-to-the-minute, accurate, relevant data that isn't locked away in silos. Your data management strategy should include regular cleansing, integration, and enrichment of data so that it helps you increase marketing insight, make better marketing decisions, and experience measurable improvements in marketing performance.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.
To learn more about how ReachForce can help you optimize demand generation and your impact on revenue, check out our real-time web form enrichment demo, or request a free marketing data diagnostic. Get the power to let data drive marketing and higher performance.