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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2020-02-21

I hope you enjoyed my Valentine’s Day-themed blog post, “Still the One: 5 Big Reasons Marketers Still Love Email.” It’s always uplifting to focus on the positive side of email marketing, but at the other end of the spectrum are the tasks and challenges that create email marketing headaches.


“Dirty” databases top the list when it comes to the “ugly” side of email marketing – from the abysmal email campaign results they deliver, to the wasted time, budget and efforts they involve. It’s well known that using dirty data can damage your email sender reputation, putting you at risk with ESPs (email service providers) who could blacklist your company, preventing you from emailing at all.


Because prospects are forever changing roles, companies and contact information, their data is in a constant state of flux. Research shows that contact data decays at a rate of 3% every month. Some industry reports contend that 2% of all corporate addresses, 3% of CEOs and 5% of corporate telephone numbers will change in the next 12 months alone.


Where things turn ugly for most marketing teams is the process of database cleaning: manual data correction can damage legacy data, introduce new data entry errors, and it often doesn’t improve results the way it should. The task is tedious, error-prone and a time-intensive burden. For those organizations with larger databases, cleansing can take months – by the time the chore is “completed,” the process will need to started all over again due to inevitable data decay.


Many marketers, especially those with large databases and a high volume of contacts, have come to the realization that the best approach to minimizing these pain points is a database cleansing service. These services can quickly enhance and append valid records and purge invalid or out-of-date records – without eliminating high-value prospect records. The result is drastic email campaign improvements, from higher levels of customer engagement and ROI to more revenue.


The third-party database cleansing professionals who perform these services – at least those who are good at what they do – bring proven knowledge and deep data experience to the table, and leverage robust, specialized tools that significantly accelerate the overall cleansing process. How do they work? As an example, many organizations will source email data files from multiple vendors, with the data having varying ranges of quality with relation to channel points: postal, phone, email and URL. Our approach at OMI is to run a deep clean on these databases as a batch project in order to remove email data that can lower the send score and threaten the reputation of our clients’ email marketing efforts. In addition to addressing the email channel point problem, OMI’s cleanse process also strengthens the accuracy of the full record and the contacts associated to the full record. And for ongoing cleansing, OMI also provides an email maintenance program to align with industry best practices for email marketing. This service can be automated and integrated with an organization’s CRM platform to continuously optimize data accuracy and validity.


Most marketers learn early on in their careers that data cleansing is quite a detailed process. And while getting your data clean and in order is no easy task, it’s an essential first step to effective email marketing. Some may call it the “ugly” or unglamorous side of our business, but it’s the most important factor in email campaign success. After all, if your messages don’t reach their intended recipients – the prospects that will drive your business growth – what good are they?


I hope you’ll reach out to me and my team about data cleansing. It may be a burden for most marketers, but for us, it’s a passion and a specialization that makes a tremendous difference for our customers. In fact, one of our clients – a leading multi-national telecom provider – was recently able to use our cleansing service to improve email data validity and accuracy by 37%, increase deliverability and engagement, and fuel third-party data cost savings. You can read more about it here.  


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 video tutorials to find out how you can optimize your acquisition email marketing initiatives.


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At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

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