A new report by Forrester on behalf of Marketing Evolution found that marketers waste 21 cents out of every media dollar they spend due to poor data quality. This translates to a $1.2 million annual loss for mid-sized companies and a whopping $16.5 million yearly drain for enterprise organizations. Beyond the financial hit, poor data quality also impacts customer experience, productivity and more.
With these high costs in mind, here are 5 data quality tips straight out of OMI’s playbook. I hope you find them useful:
- Understand the risks: Most marketers know bad data will lead to poor email campaign results and even worse ROI. Some even accept this notion as merely a “cost of doing business.” But what they may not realize is the consequences of bad data quality can be much more severe than negative campaign results: their brand email activities can be halted by spam and data watch dogs. For offending companies, it can take months to get out of trouble and initiate emailing again. This kind of delay can be the kiss of death for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Learn more along the way: To effectively mine your prospects, you’ll want to collect more than just their name and email address via your registration forms. But you don’t necessarily need more info right away. Just as you wouldn’t reveal everything about yourself when you first meet someone, your prospects don’t want to feel pressured to share too much too soon. Your initial sign-up form can be brief, asking for no more than five pieces of information. Give your customers the option of sharing additional information later, ideally after you’ve connected with them. To keep learning more, ask different questions through subsequent interactions and regularly monitor – and take action on -- their digital engagements with your organization. In fact, learning more about prospects and customers shouldn’t end at sign-up, but rather should be part of your company culture. Try asking one optional question at the end of every meaningful prospect/customer engagement, whether on a digital form, on the phone or through mail.
- Keep it clean – or outsource repair: Email data is in a constant state of change: roughly 30% of people change their email addresses every year. That means there’s a good chance almost one third of the addresses in your database are no longer valid, and you’re wasting time and money sending out emails that don’t go anywhere. Worse, you may be missing opportunities to engage with clients who have already shown interest or even bought your products previously. But while keeping a clean database is needed to maintain list quality, it can also be time and resource intensive – the Forrester report found that marketing teams spend as much as 32% of their time managing data quality. That’s why you might consider an email cleansing and validation service, which can quickly identify invalid addresses, correct misspellings and check deliverability to significantly repair your database.
- Set proper expectations: Knowledge remains the key to success for email marketers, and setting expectations with their superiors. For example, you may already know that corporate email addresses are generally easier to deliver to than ISP (Internet Service Provider) addresses, such as Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail. If your target audience uses mostly ISP email addresses, response rates may inevitably be lower – making selecting the right email data provider even more critical.
- Select a quality-focused data provider: With the potential costs and risks, it’s more important than ever for you to select the right email data provider. There are many “fly-by-night” email data vendors offering bare bones pricing, and with sketchy accuracy rates of around 70 or 60 percent (or worse). Quality-focused vendors that specialize in acquisition data will not hesitate to provide a data validity guarantee of 95% or higher for the first 30 days. If a vendor doesn’t offer a written guarantee, you should turn elsewhere.
Successful B2B marketers today focus on data quality by regularly assessing their overall data health, maintaining email list cleanliness and selecting the right data providers who themselves understand the importance of data quality. This enables them to put an extra dollar in their pocket for every five they spend. That’s a bonus that every business should set its sights on.
How do you ensure data quality in your marketing organization?
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.