Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Cost Of Dirty Data

 Bogus leads and misinformation in a database can have an adverse effect on your marketing efforts. After all, how many Mickey Mouse's and I.P. Freelys are there in the world?
You need to know the truth, no matter how painful it is. You need to know what all this junk email is actually costing you, alongside a calculated view on clean data to finally master the situation.  So go ahead, pull the proverbial curtain back, and take a long hard look at the cost of dirty data.
Minimally, a marketing contact (lead) includes email address, company name, first and last name and perhaps a job title.  Leads/contacts may be gathered from trade shows, outside lists, web events, etc. Online generated leads often lack mailing address, phone or other helpful data.
$1 per contact should be a reference point. Mass contacts may be as low as 50-60 cents per record while those generated at trade shows and special events can cost anywhere from $50 - $200 each. In B2B marketing, a greater scope of information for each contact, especially company segmentation and targeted information, is required to drive higher results. Poor targeting reduces response  and increased campaign cost.
The more information known about the prospect, the better for segmentations and marketing automation. Extremely granular targeting relies on data points to drive better results.  Typical targeting segments are geography, industry, revenues and employee size.  Better targeting yields higher email open rates, click-through rates, and more landing page conversions because messaging and campaigns are likely to be more relevant to the specific audience. 
Data quality goes downhill rapidly.  According to research from Marketing Sharpa, 2.1% of contacts go bad each month.  After a year, 25.1% of contacts at minimum are not valid. Invalid contacts may not be flagged as bad because auto-responder information isn't updating your database. Duplicate records are often created, especially if sales people also enter lists into your CRM.
Some clean their list by emailing it. Bad idea. Acquired lists are notorious for including "spam trap" emails created to identify companies emailing without permission. Bouncing emails signal the feedback loop that you are a reckless mailer.  Hitting spam trap emails signals you are a spammer and may cause all your email to be undeliverable. Mailing to bad records negatively affects future mailings. Low relevance, generic messages often have low open rates, low click-through rates, and high unsubscribes, which also affects your sender reputation. Without enriched data points, only generic messages can be mailed, and show poor response, which affects future deliverability.
Next time more about precision targeting.

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.