Google has seen use of the term ‘data-driven marketing’ rise fairly consistently over the past few years.
Gartner’s data backs that up. They found that the companies they call “leaders” – those far along the path in performing data-driven marketing – outperform their competitors in overall business results.
Some marketers are afraid that they can’t be data-driven because they don’t trust their data accuracy. They’re not just being paranoid. According to Sirius Decisions, a quarter of the records in databases marketers keep are erroneous. Bad data can have many causes – a lead filling out a form incorrectly, employees providing inconsistent tagging, or simple typos and misspellings. Good data helps you personalize messages, qualify better, and impact more revenue.
So what should you do? First, Shed Some Light
At Hive9, we’ve found that the fastest way to improve data quality is to shed some light on it. Our reporting can highlight gaps and track improvement, so you know what to focus on first. By looking at information that already sits in your CRM and MAP, you can quickly assess the health of your database, the level of engagements of your prospects and accounts, which messages and content resonated most, and do all this while filtering down to the vertical or product or geography that you care most about.
Then, once you know what to focus on, there are some things you can do to be more confident about your data.
Invest in the Right Technology
Many marketing tools and platforms offer features devoted to collecting data. They can automate the process and (at least partially) eliminate some of the risk of human error. In addition to helping with data collection, marketing technology can also help you organize the data you have into formats that make it much easier to analyze and gain useful insights from.
Establish a Standardized Tagging System
Good tagging creates better data. When you and your team get into the habit of tagging your various marketing activities and campaigns based on all the criteria you want to be able to track and categorize your results by – things like persona, stage in the buyer’s journey, product type, etc. – then you’ll have a much easier time seeing the trends in your results.
Do Data Audits
In order to trust your data, you have to assume that sometimes it needs to be reviewed manually for potential issues. Every so often, plan on having one of your trusted analysts review the data you have to look for possible anomalies or issues. Mistakes happen, but they can be minimized with a careful second look.
Cleanse Your Data
Your marketing database is one of your most important sources for tracking and maintaining customer and prospect data. When it gets out of date, you start to lose an important, reliable resource.
Go through periodically to do a comprehensive cleanse. Remove leads that have long gone cold, update information that’s outdated, and add any relevant tagging to entries that weren’t properly organized the first time around.
If you’re going to tackle data-driven marketing, do it right. To get the impressive results Forbes and Gartner talk about, you need to take a careful approach that ensures you’re collecting accurate data and analyzing it properly to allow for better decision-making.