3 Reasons Why Your Database is Hurting Your Marketing Results
Business-to-business marketers invest millions of dollars and countless hours into the design and execution of their marketing strategies. The tactics that drive these strategies include highly creative and innovative communication channels. Slick campaigns that are designed to generate leads, nurture opportunities and accelerate deals through the funnel are launched with high expectations. Unfortunately, many of these initiatives fall flat and fail to deliver the desired results.
Why do they fail? Was the messaging off? Was the wrong communication media deployed? Was it just not creative enough? Maybe, but probably not. The primary reason most marketing programs fail is the target database.
1. The Data is Inaccurate.
What data sources can you trust? Leading third-party data providers often have conflicting information. For example, an individual may be listed as a CFO in one directory, as a VP in another, and not listed at all in a third. Segmenting data on annual revenue or employee counts can be challenging because these numbers are often moving targets or misreported – especially for smaller privately held companies. Data providers aren’t purposefully reporting inaccurate data. Their data is simply a snapshot in time. Businesses are growing, consolidating, and moving at an unprecedented rate, so it’s virtually impossible to acquire accurate data from even the most reputable data providers.
Many organizations rely on their own self-generated data. Lead capture forms associated with inbound marketing tactics is one example. Calls-to-action on their websites offer their prospects a way to self-identify and provide their data through digital interaction. While this can be a valuable data source, it may not be the panacea that marketers are looking for. More and more prospects are providing bogus information into these forms. They have discovered that entering the wrong name and phone number still allows them to get the information they were seeking without getting the phone call from a salesperson 5 minutes later. Consequently, many CRM systems are littered with contacts who have the name Mickey Mouse and their phone number is 123-456-7890.
2. The Data is Incomplete.
Segmenting data to refine your target audience can be a critical step in any marketing campaign. However, accurately segmenting data can be challenging when many of the key data fields in the CRM are blank. When customizing the data fields in a CRM, marketers typically have a lengthy list of data points they hope to capture for each of their target companies and contacts. It’s rare, though, to find even a single record in the CRM that has every data field populated. The empty data fields paint an incomplete picture of the market. It’s like looking at a jigsaw puzzle without all the pieces. This can cause marketers to pursue the wrong prospects with the wrong message at the wrong time.
Third-party data providers cannot provide all the data marketers are looking for. They do their best to compile as much accurate data as possible. The more data points they capture, the more they can sell and the more they can charge. But if they’re not confident in the firmographic or contact data properties they compile, they will simply reduce the properties they make available.
Organizations actually have most of the data they need for a successful marketing campaign. It just isn’t stored in their CRM. Instead, it resides in the desk drawers, email files, notepads, brief cases, or even in the minds of their sales team. Most sales people lack the discipline to consistently capture and update information on their contacts as they’re interacting with the market and maneuvering through the CRM on a daily basis.
3. The Data is Old.
When left untouched for an extended period of time data will become more and more inaccurate. Unlike a good wine or bourbon, data doesn’t age well. Contacts get promoted or change employers, and businesses close, merge or move. This constant change causes a decay in the accuracy of data, and the rate of decay doesn’t seem to be slowing down. After just 3 months, an average database with 10,000 business will experience the following changes: 210 phone numbers will disconnect, 417 phone numbers will change, 592 addresses will become invalid, 757 contacts will become unreachable, and 252 emails will become invalid. (Radius)
Improving the results of marketing strategies may not require expensive new tactics, different messaging, or a new creative team – only a renewed focus on data.