My son took his first MCAS test this week – the standardized comprehensive assessments for public school kids in Massachusetts – and he was nervous. It’s understandable – the schools make a big deal of these and if you haven’t done one before, the uncertainty can be overwhelming. So he took the test and afterwards he said “it wasn’t as bad as I thought, in fact it was kind of fun”. That was a huge relief for him and me. But the standardization of these tests got me thinking about other assessments that I deal with daily – data quality assessments – and the parallels between my son’s anxiety and the anxieties that we as marketers feel. What I came to realize is that the emergence of standardized assessments, no matter how scary or anxiety-inducing they may be, ultimately aid in the identification of areas in need of improvement at an individual level, but also provide significant insights into systematic problems that may exist as well. In the end, they will make us smarter.
So, take a moment and ask yourself: “If I were to give my marketing data a letter grade right now what would it be? Would it be an “A” for “awesomely accurate”, a “C” for “could be better” or “F” for “failure to meet my needs”? I bet most of you probably end up around a “C”, simply for the reason that you may not have the right data points to give you any realistic idea into the overall quality of your marketing data. This can be a scary place to operate from. If you want to improve response rates or enhance your ability to deliver targeted messages through more effective segmentation, then your data needs to be smart–really smart.
You know that sender anxiety you may feel before you hit “Send Now” on your next email campaign out of Eloqua or Marketo (or whatever marketing automation platform you may use)? That stems from not understanding (or trusting) the health of your marketing data. Again, totally understandable: business contacts that have been sitting in your database for years are combined with new data entering your ecosystem through Web registrations, trade shows and PPC. These forces could be dirtying up and dumbing down your database. Don’t believe me? According to NetProspex’s B2B Marketing Data Benchmark Report, 50 percent of companies have an overall data health score of “Unreliable.” Marketing data management, or the practice of assessing, cleansing and enhancing data regularly, ensures your marketing data is complete, accurate, actionable – and smarter.
Smart data is information that actually makes sense – it is comprehensive, complete, and accurate; it’s actionable information that can be used as an accelerator to drive successful inbound and outbound marketing campaigns and it enables a more repeatable process for driving results. So what’s the key to unlocking smarter data? Well, much like the MCAS is geared to understanding the abilities of our children, smarter data starts with its own assessment to determine the individual and systematic issues of your data. Armed with the insight of this assessment, you typically follow it up with a programmatic approach to marketing data management to address those identified issues.
I think that people deal with the data quality of their marketing data in the same way that my son initially dealt with his MCAS test – fearfully. The reason for this is that it can seem somewhat overwhelming to deal with. However, with tools like NetProspex Workbench , it’s actually a lot easier that you think – and at times it may even seem fun. NetProspex Workbench enables B2B marketers to improve the quality and effectiveness of their marketing databases in a programmatic way that leverages insights gained through assessment, identification of record-based opportunities for improvement, while providing capabilities that allow for systematic improvement in how you capture, nurture, and promote qualified prospect. The fun part comes in when your campaign response rates climb, when your leads are lauded by sales, and when marketing-generated pipeline increases dramatically.
So don’t put a dunce cap on your data and stick it in the corner because there’s no hope. Make it smarter through marketing data management and unlock revenue within your database that you never knew existed. Start off today with your own free, secure Data HealthScan and remove that first bit of anxiety.