Marketing automation simply means using technology to manage and / or automate the process of taking prospects and converting them to customers. Many tasks in the marketing process can be automated in part or in whole, including lead management, website monitoring, email marketing, and lead scoring. When these tasks are automated, the whole process is more efficient. Benefits include shorter sales cycles, higher revenues, and a better return on investment (ROI) for marketing.
All these processes require data to work on. To effectively market products and services, businesses need basic contact information on prospective customers, and other data, like their online habits and information gathered by social media bolster these data collections. But not all data is created equal. The quality of the marketing data used affects the quality of marketing decisions that make use of that data.
Bad Data Can Lead to Bad Marketing Decisions
Any major business decision should rest on accurate, relevant information, and marketing is no different. The quality of marketing data has to do with how complete, accurate, and timely it is. Suppose you have inaccurate contact information about a potential customer. That person may want or need your products or services, and yet reaching them will be very difficult. Or, suppose a decision about a marketing campaign is based upon social media data that is a few years old. People's tastes and needs change, and you could be making important marketing decisions based on marketing data that is faulty.
Data Quality and Enrichment Are Essential
You wouldn't build a bridge based on incomplete engineering data that had not been verified, and neither should you make major marketing decisions based on marketing data that has problems. The amount of marketing data generated today is staggering, and to get the best possible use from data it must be complete, correct, up-to-date, and free of duplication. Simply having a huge amount of data isn't good enough, nor is plugging data into marketing automation processes. You must also ensure that the quality of the data is high enough that you don't risk making major errors of judgment by using it.
Enriched data is data that has been appended to your database based on up-to-date, accurate records. Solutions like SmartForms by ReachForce are able to take simple landing page data from your site and append it with accurate, timely data taken from hundreds of millions of records so you can quickly and easily develop a comprehensive view of your customer and make marketing decisions accordingly. High quality data that has been enriched is a huge competitive advantage.
Ensuring Data Quality for Better Marketing Decisions
Data cleansing is the process of ensuring that data meets high quality standards. The process includes getting rid of duplicate data, ensuring accuracy, and making sure that data is updated as necessary. Data cleansing may also involve integrating data from various sources. In many companies, data resides in silos, so each department is working with its own set of data. But when all the data is cleansed and integrated, each department is able to have a comprehensive, 360-degree view of the customer. Data unification allows for improved lead generation, scoring, and nurturing. It also allows for better marketing decisions, better coordination between sales and marketing, and ultimately to shorter and more efficient sales cycles.
By ensuring that your data is regularly cleansed, you take marketing data automation to a new level of power. Competitors that don't bother with data cleansing may be making decisions based on outdated or faulty data. When you take that extra step of ensuring your marketing data is as accurate, timely, and complete as possible, you can develop the most accurate possible view of your customer, and can make decisions accordingly. As a result, you should experience better leads, higher conversions, and increased revenues, for a much better marketing ROI.
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.