I landed in a role that has forced me to think about data. It’s not sexy, but I can’t ignore it. And you shouldn’t be ignoring it either. Yes, most marketers would classify themselves as “data-driven”, but I’m talking about contact data. Contact data is on my mind every 👏🏽 single 👏🏽day 👏🏽. I’m obsessing over the state of our database, worried about how clean and accurate it is. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why marketers forget about data quality so frequently, especially when it’s so easy for dirty data to get out of hand.
Poor data hygiene just brings bad vibes, from the not-so-fun conversation you’re forced to have with your marketing team about poor open rates to how it airs all the dirty laundry you’ve let pile up. It shows that you haven’t been paying attention to your audience. Not that you aren’t engaging with your audience, but you’re not keeping a pulse on where they are. Their role. Their company.
As a marketer, I need to keep tabs on all aspects of what my customers or target prospects are doing. If they’re the right fit, the champion of my product or service, or a decision maker at a target account — I need them in my sight at all times!
B2B marketing is already pretty ‘meta’ by nature, but as a marketer who markets to marketers, I want to get real about the views most other marketers seem to hold about contact data, because I legitimately understand their ongoing daily struggles and pain points because I feel them myself.
I don’t want to speak for for all marketers; I simply want to share my perspective based on the personal conversations I’ve had over the past 18 months. Keep in mind, I was once on the other side, so I can see both sides of this story.
A lot of people fail to focus on the core part of the marketing campaign — the people.
It’s easy to get caught up in the metrics after campaign execution, but when you only focus on the aftermath, you’re already missing the mark.
The mark being your contact data, or, rather, the people behind your contact data. They are, in fact humans, who make the call on whether to buy from you based off of their emotions and your ability to make their life easier.
Perspective on contact data is relative to how you are measured
Your perspective on data is inherently related to metrics and how you are measured in your role.
If you’re only measured on leads or MQLs, the hygiene of your database isn’t top-of-mind. It’s a thought, but it’s not your priority. The importance of data quality doesn’t keep you up at night.
If you’re measured on engagement — especially if you’re immersed in an account-based marketing culture — then every data point on for each person at your target accounts matters.
Common Views on Data Quality when Measured by Leads
It’s a commodity.
I mean, I get it. Data is a commodity in the sense that you can find it anywhere. But it’s a mistake to consider all data providers the same – because they are not. Most contact data vendors in the B2B space don’t march to the beat of the same drum. And it all depends of what you are trying to accomplish.
Are you looking for phone numbers for your business development teams? Or are trying to execute a hyper-focused global campaign? Both have different end goals. You may need two different vendors to solve those unique problems.
It’s all about MORE people.
Been there, done that. There was a time I only cared about how many new people I was putting into Marketo. The more I acquired, the better my ego felt. In theory, with the law of numbers, the more people you get in front of the higher the conversions… but in practice, that’s not necessarily always the case.
I don’t have time.
When your relative success or failure is measured solely on lead numbers, you prioritize your time based on what’s going to help you hit your number. Therefore, data quality is never going to seem like a worthwhile pursuit. You simply don’t have enough hours in the day to think about your database.
Common Views on Data Quality when Measured by Engagement
How’s my burn rate?
I was on a call recently with a client planning for an upcoming event. We were discussing the angle we should take with our speaking slot. I articulated that the largest struggle I face as a marketer who markets contact data to marketers is awareness of data management. He explained to me that he had over 1.5 million records in his Marketo instance that burned at 4% each month. 60,000 people in his database become invalid each month. Can you imagine sending 60,000 emails that had zero chance of being delivered?
What is the Source?
It’s all about the original sourcing. It’s not about what data vendor you are using, but where they vendor pulls their data from. Be wary of companies who crowd-source or compile data. Accuracy starts with data originators.
Whether you’re lead-focused or engagement-focused, data quality should be a priority. The importance of data quality cannot be overstated. Because the quality of your contact data has a significant impact on your performance, whether you’re invested in bringing in more high-quality leads or focused on promoting engagement with your target audience.
For lead-focused marketers, doing the work to get your database in order on the front end means measuring the success (or lack thereof) of your campaigns is easier because you know data quality isn’t affecting your campaign performance. So if your campaigns aren’t delivering, you know you need to focus on deeper segmentation and more personalized messaging.
As for engagement-focused marketers, data quality is imperative to creating a message that resonates with your target audience. If you don’t have current and correct information on your target buyers, you can’t create a tailored approach that resonates.
For more on contact data quality and database management best practices, register for our webinar: