5 Essential Data Management Capabilities

5 Essential Data Management Capabilities

October 2021 | Marketing Operations

Data management doesn't have to be complicated. Start improving the quality of your database with these 5 basic data improvement programs.

Poor data quality has a devastating impact on marketing. It doesn't matter how good your content is. If you're sending it to the wrong people, you're always going to get low open and click rates. Selecting the right audience is just as important as crafting the right message.

Too many marketers avoid data improvement projects because of the complexity of managing data quality. Yet, data doesn't have to be complicated. The first step is to identify the accounts, contacts and fields you want in your database. Once you've done that, there are a set of basic data management processes that need to be created in order to make the most out of the data you have.

Data Governance

Identify the gaps in your database by running regular database health checks. How many contacts do you have in key verticals or personas? How many of those contacts are engaged? How many of them are emailable? These are all important questions to ask before running any data improvement project. Finding the contacts you can't use for campaigns is just as important as finding the contacts that  can be used. Once you've identified your bad data, draw up an action plan to turn those contacts into good data. That can be through any of the data improvement capabilities outlined below. Remember that it is much easier and cheaper to clean your existing database than acquire new contacts to replace the junk data.

Data Enrichment

Find the right accounts and contacts for your business by taking advantage of external data sources. Use their information to fill in gaps in contact and account profiles so that you can accurately segment everyone in your database. Use that information to improve campaign performance through more targeted segmentation. Make sure to select the best data vendor for your use case. The big data brokers such as D&B or ZoomInfo work well for enterprise technology firms in North America, but local vendors frequently have better information in other countries and sectors. It's common to use multiple data sources to get full global coverage but be careful with the additional complexity that comes with combining multiple data sources.

Data Normalisation

It is much easier to segment your database, if all the key information is standardised using picklists. Having a fixed set of options for Industry and Job Role makes it much easier to build audiences in marketing automation for personalised campaigns. Actually deciding on a list of picklist options for key fields is only the first step. Next, you need to translate all the free text job titles you've already captured into your job role picklist. You don't even need specialist data management tools such as OpenPrise, RingLead or Normalator, to build a successful data normalisation program. A contact washing machine program in CRM or Marketing Automation is sufficient for smaller databases, using lookup tables created by a data analyst.

Data Deduplication

There are few things worse than sending someone two copies of the same email. Yet, this is an everyday occurrence if your database contains duplicate contacts. Make no mistake, duplicates are a problem in every database. Even in databases that require unique email addresses. Many people have multiple email addresses, while typos can create unintentional duplicates. That's even before the much trickier problem of duplicate accounts are discussed. All the major CRM and marketing automation systems have mechanisms for identifying and merging duplicate records. Also, consider the impact of duplicate accounts, as well as duplicate contacts. All too often, discussions about deduplication focus solely on the easier problem of contacts. However, duplicate accounts is often a more widespread problem that can lead to poor or inconsistent marketing segmentation, particularly if you're focused on an ABM strategy.

Lead to Account Matching

Do you want to know whether new leads are customers or prospects? Would you like to see all your account information populated for every form submission? Account based marketing is becoming more and more important, and with it the ability to accurately link every contact to the right account. Both sales and marketing can benefit from identifying the right account for every lead before they even reach your CRM system. Use deduplication rules or lookup tables in marketing automation to populate account details on all new records. Alternatively, a more comprehensive solution is possible using your CRM system. Remember that all the major CRM systems include built-in solutions for lead to account matching. Consider leveraging this before building custom workflows.

Data is forever changing to reflect the constantly evolving digital marketplace. There is no such thing as a perfect marketing database. Contacts change jobs, companies merge, and opportunities close. Trying to keep up with all this change is an impossible task. Implementing these capabilities will go a long to closing the data quality gap and improving campaign performance.

Banner Photo by Stephen Dawson / Unsplash

Written by
Marketing Operations Consultant and Solutions Architect at CRMT Digital specialising in marketing technology architecture. Advisor on marketing effectiveness and martech optimisation.