25% of your marketing automation database goes bad each year, according to Sirius Decisions. Even worse, 10%-25% of databases have errors that prevent you from doing your job effectively. This is a big problem for marketers in the marketing automation space. After all, you’re spending tons of time, resources and funds on your marketing automation program, only to find errors in your database preventing you from routing or effectively targeting your audience. Even worse, you’re paying for those bad records.
Your marketing automation platform is a clean slate when you first buy it, and it’s up to you to fill it with clean, accurate data. Here are the marketing automation principles to make that happen, inspired by the ebook, The Newcomer’s Guide to Marketing Automation.
1. Design the system to avoid human error
Standardization of your database is the best way to keep good data going in. For instance, use pick lists for standard values, have “read only” fields, and include the contact’s Role and Title. With standard fields and clear instructions on how to enter data, you’ll reduce the potential for human error.
2. One field equals one purpose
Avoid letting sales or leads use a field like “comments” repeatedly. This can result in entering a variety of data, which is not organized or structured. Create a process to timestamp and record the history. If you’re using Marketo, a great way to do this is by using tasks.
3. Use automation to correct values
Use your marketing automation platform as a way to fix any data entry errors, such as misspellings. Also, have a standardized field entry process, for example, if your field is Employee Range, only a number must be entered there to represent the number range of employees.
4. Prevent duplicates
Duplicate data is costly. Many marketing automation platforms charge based on number of records, so you’re paying for the same data multiple times. Have settings in place within your marketing automation platform that blocks the creation of duplicates based on Name and Email. Apply this to your CRM as well.
5. Regular cleaning process
Cleaning your database once does not guarantee that it will stay clean. Have a monthly or quarterly review of duplicates, data cleanliness, and asset cleanup. Use pizza to get people to help!
6. Automate data appending
For empty fields or bad data, use third parties that plug into your marketing automation platform to automatically add those missing fields. For instance, if your contact is missing the company level detail (Industry, Main Phone, Country, Revenue), you can use tools to fill this in. The more data you have, the better job you’ll do at targeting your audience.
While there’s no silver bullet for clean data, the best approach is having strong knowledge of data quality, as well as a reputable data quality vendor to properly data cleanse and get your prevention products in place.
Learn more marketing automation tips in the free ebook below.