Most digital marketers know that accurate contact data is vital for effective campaigns. But from new email addresses to new jobs, data quickly becomes outdated. Some studies estimate B2B data decays up to 70% per year. If you don’t keep up with it, your database is probably not as accurate as you think it is -- especially in today’s changing market.
Last week I shared the first part of an excellent article on data quality written by my good friend, B2B marketing guru John M. Coe. From starting with quality data to the practical steps to fix bad data, the article covers many critical aspects of improving data accuracy. If you missed it, you can catch up on the first part of his article here.
Read on for the second half, which highlights innovative new approaches for combating data decay and improving accuracy.
How to Fix B2B Data Decay
By John M. Coe, President of B2B Marketing, LLC.
Before even attempting to clean up bad data, one major problem exists. In most B2B companies there are multiple data silos – five on average. Logically if you clean up one silo (e.g., CRM) the others are not updated. Enter Customer Data Platforms (CDPs). A thought leader in the CDP field is David Raab, who publishes the daily Customer Data Platform Institute newsletter firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s what David says about the benefits of CDPs:
The main benefit is pulling together data from different sources, which would otherwise remain separate. Having the data in one system avoids disturbing the source systems, but it also enables analysis on historical data that the source systems might discard or archive into something that’s poorly accessible. It also enables advanced matching that combines historical and current data, which, again, can be difficult if you’re just trying to access the source systems on demand.
Let’s assume you follow David’s advice and find a CDP firm with B2B experience to merge your data silos. Then obviously, any data cleaning and updating of this unified database will allow you to re-import the clean data back into the silos, thus allowing everyone to be working with not only clean data, but the same data. Yeah!
Another strategy for cleaning up bad data is to work with your data vendors. If you have acquired a B2B list from one of the many vendors, contact them to see if they offer a cleaning and updating service. Based on your past purchase, there may even be a price break or an ongoing service agreement available.
Many of the well-known B2B data vendors have an updating service. Simply, they import your database of contacts and companies and match it against their data. Then the process is to update and/or correct contact and firmographic data from their database. Assuming their database is accurate, the updates will be noted upon return of the file. Obviously, the key factor is that their data is better than yours.
In addition, these firms will likely have more firmographic and demographic data on the companies and individuals than you do, and if requested, they will enhance your file with additional data. This may also be true for contacts and depending on what titles and functions in your decision and/or customer data profile, they will add missing contacts as well.
To Sum Up
There’s no doubt that this rather long blog on fixing your data has sent you into an excited state and frenzy of activity – well, not likely. Actually, it’s hard to find someone to take the responsibility of the database and its maintenance. On the other hand, accurate and complete data is both the root of sales success or missed sales. No other element in marketing campaigns is as important and impactful than the data, so it’s well worth the effort and cost to keep your database accurate, complete and actionable.
A short story will make the point. Years ago, when working with Texas Instruments (a great company and group of people), there was a DSP chip upgrade campaign directed at approximately 5,000 current SMB customers. My main contact was Craig Marven (a very smart guy), and we had worked hard on the database. The reason and cost justification for accuracy was made clear when we were informed that the revenue of one DSP upgrade sale was $80,000. Was it worth the effort we spent on the database? You bet!
It is widely accepted that in B2B 50-70% of the success of a direct marketing campaign is due to the quality of the list when matched against the market segment targeted. Take that to the bank!
Once again, I’d like to thank John for giving us permission to share his article. He adapted a version of this article specifically for OMI and we truly appreciate it. Here’s a little background on John:
John M. Coe - Bio
John is President of B2BMarketing, LLC. His background includes experience on both the sales and marketing side. On the sales side, John was a salesman, national sales manager and executive in charge of both sales and marketing for three firms early in his career. On the marketing side, he was president of a B2B direct marketing agency for 10 years; National Campaign Manager at IBM; Sr., VP of B2B at Rapp Collins Worldwide; and President of Protocol B2B. He has been dealing with B2B data for a long time and has the scars to prove it. John is also the author of The Fundamentals of Business-to-Business Sales & Marketing, published by McGraw-Hill. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 602-402-6588.
B2Bmarketing LLC focuses on 6 Fractional Marketing services listed below. Clients range from manufacturing to technology firms and are both SMBs and larger organizations. These fractional marketing services are:
What steps are you taking to ensure the quality of your data? Contact us today to learn how OMI can support your digital marketing with fresh, accurate contact data. We also provide database cleansing services. You can read our customer case studies and white papers here.