4 Tips for Cleaning Up Your Messy Garage of Data Before 2013
Though many of us may still be scratching our heads and wondering what happened to summer, we're already kicking off Q4 and it will be 2013 before we know it. As you look ahead to meet revenue targets, you're undoubtedly lining up some killer content, planning timely outreach around this falls' in-person events, preparing the perfect cross-channel marketing calendar and perhaps designing some targeted direct mail. But before you launch one more landing page, don't forget to address what's driving all of your activity: your marketing database.
Marketing data are at the core of each of your marketing initiatives, and Q4 is a great time to get your data ducks in a row to ensure you're set up for success when the weather starts to cool down and into next year. Here are four database tips to make sure that you don't fall behind your goals this October:
1. Run an Analysis of Your Quality Situation
Your marketing database is full of contacts from various sources, including registration forms, data vendors, trade shows and other activity. The problem with this data is that it changes as often as the seasons. Consider this:
- By this time last fall, nearly 48 percent of the workforce changed jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- NetProspex phone-validation research shows that the lifespan of any given business contact is typically two years.
- That information you're collecting from whitepaper landing pages? About 88 percent of buyers admitted to giving incorrect profile information on registration forms, according to Janrain and Blue Research.
For marketers, this means hard bounces, inaccurate job titles and out-of-date phone information for your upcoming marketing campaigns. Is poor data threatening the success of your marketing results? Finding the current state of your marketing database is critical to making the right decision about data hygiene and start removing dead data.
2. Lose the Extra Weight.
Similar to the beach chairs and floaties that may still be cluttering the garage, your marketing database can often fill up with … well … junk. Are you aware of the targeting patterns across your database? Ensure that the profile of your prospects matches the profile of your target buyers and influencers. In other words, get rid of the records in your database that will not help you make a sale. You'll want to segment your marketing database—and perhaps get rid of some data sets—to enable you to deliver the most compelling message to your audiences.
3. Fill in the Gaps
At least on the East Coast, it's difficult to strike the perfect balance in October between warm-weather and cold-weather clothes, and it's not unusual to find that you are lacking some essential items. Overexposure and lack of constant attention can create similar burnout in your database. For example, once you've cleaned out the incorrect data, inactive prospects and un-targeted records, you'll be left with an opportunity to fill the holes with net-new contacts. You may want to consider appending data to records such as industry or job title to allow for better targeting—or finding this information with an email promotion encouraging contacts to provide additional details.
4. Have a Plan
Just as you're likely already looking toward the upcoming holiday season, staying in front of potential data issues by maintaining an ongoing data hygiene strategy will ensure your database doesn't experience burnout. Don't think of data cleansing as a one-and-done project. The day the cleansing project ends, your information begins to decay, and your database continues to grow with some inevitably incorrect data. Set a quarterly reminder to survey the scope of your database quality and targeting and stay on top of data gaps. Regular cleansing and appending of information will ensure your marketing database is in the right condition for every upcoming campaign.
Now, someone please pass me a pumpkin spice latte … fall does have some perks.