The data used for marketing a generation ago, including information like point-of-sale transaction data, responses to direct mail campaigns, and coupon redemption numbers, was incredibly limited compared to the data available today. With big data, marketing has experienced tremendous innovation. But simply having and processing big data doesn't automatically lead to better marketing.
Big data is a crucial ingredient in today's marketing mix, but with big data, marketing improvements aren't automatic. It's the insights that marketing professionals gain from big data that drive better marketing decisions. Results can include better customer engagement, better customer retention, and optimized marketing performance.
Why Data Must Be Clean
Outdated, inaccurate, or duplicated data won't drive optimal marketing decisions. Big data about customers and markets is constantly changing, so if you're using last year's data, you may not have a complete, 360-degree view of your customer. When data is inaccurate, leads are harder to track and nurture, and insights may be flawed. The data on which you base your big data marketing strategy must be accurate, up-to-date, as complete as possible, and should not contain duplicate entries. Clean data results in better marketing decisions.
Why Data Must Be Integrated
To market most effectively, you need a comprehensive view of who your customers are. But you can't develop a comprehensive customer view if your data is locked up in silos, with sales having one set of data, marketing having another, R&D having yet another, with no communication or integration among the data sets. When different teams are working with separate sets of data, they're basing their insights and decisions on incomplete information. One aspect of "clean data" is its integration. This is the only way to develop the 360-degree customer view that all teams need to optimize their strategies.
What Data Cleansing Accomplishes
Data cleansing may be done before or after it's in your database, though it is best if data is cleansed before being entered into a database. What data cleansing does is remove errors and resolve inconsistencies. The process involves identifying duplicate, incomplete, or mislabelled data elements, and then removing duplicates, appending incomplete data where possible, and deleting or correcting inaccurate data. With a robust data cleansing process, you can be confident that the information on which decisions are based is sound, and that the outcomes will serve business processes better. Does it work? Absolutely. "Dirty" data can reduce lead conversions, and total costs can be high: $83 for every 100 records in a database.
Data Cleansing Isn't a One-Time Process
Big data is constantly in flux, and around 2% of information in a marketing leads database goes stale every month. By the end of a year, a major chunk of a prospect database can be stale. Data cleansing is like tending a garden in that it must be done regularly to ensure that the "produce" is as strong and healthy as possible. Continuous cleansing of data is necessary for accuracy and timeliness, and for ensuring that every department has access to clean, merged, comprehensive data. You wouldn't use old or stale ingredients to make Thanksgiving dinner, and by the same token, you shouldn't use old or stale data to make important marketing decisions.
With big data, marketing can be taken to the next level of effectiveness. Big data marketing requires that the ingredients - the data - that go into making decisions be as high-quality as possible. Data cleansing accomplishes this by removing or correcting inaccurate data, getting rid of duplicate data, and filling in or appending data to create an increasingly accurate and comprehensive view of the customer. The result: more effective marketing and higher lead conversions.
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.