Prioritizing Your Data Optimization for Long Term Success

Jacqueline Davis

So many times have I seen precious marketing and sales contacts sitting in spreadsheets, on personal devices, or worse yet with external vendors. Your contact data is the intellectual property that both marketing and sales covet.  It is the foundation of your marketing that propels you to successfully build pipeline and revenue.  Without this your marketing campaigns, digital engagements, and insights into predictive analytics will be unsuccessful and yield little to no traction for sales.  Prioritizing your marketing data drives long term success within all aspects of engagement.


Without a proper data strategy, companies will undoubtedly experience both immediate and long term negative impacts on their overall business.  Ultimately, it will influence your ability to achieve a positive ROI on marketing campaigns which can affect your relationship with sales (which is likely already stressed).  Longer term affects can include things like your brand and an overall impact on how your company is being perceived in the market place.

So where do you start to prioritize and script a data management process that drives long term success for marketing and the business overall? In my previous blog, I highlighted the importance of completing a data audit.  A data audit will help you understand the areas of weakness and trends that may be emerging within your marketing contacts.  This is the starting point for all best in class marketing databases.

Gaining an understanding of the starting point for your data strategy is pivotal and, once complete, you can begin to work your strategy and build sustainable processes around it.

Here are a few areas to consider when building a strategy and corporate governance for your marketing data:

  • DATA AUDIT: Fixing and maintaining the relevant data I have today
  • DATA ALIGNMENT: Understanding your different data acquisition channels and synchronizing into a single data source.  Channels from social or media buys, sales contacts from a CRM, event lists, or list builds can wreak havoc on your data if not aligned and in one primary place.
  • DATA ENHANCEMENT: Optimizing all marketing contacts to ensure they have the necessary information to re-market to.
  • DATA PRESERVATION: Tactics such as leveraging forms as a gateway to content are often used to acquire new contacts when engaging in the digital world.  Because your data can easily erode if incomplete, it is critical that you decide on a list of mandatory fields that all forms must have.  (Note: make sure you limit the form to a maximum of 6 -8 fields in order to yield the highest conversion).  If you are buying or building a list ensure the vendor supplying the contacts has an understanding of the mandatory fields you need completed.

In the graphic above you will notice that I call out Corporate Governance & SLA at the center of your data strategy.  That is because in all areas and processes surrounding data management, you require a set of guidelines, rules, and service level measurements to ensure that you remain aligned to stakeholders at all times.

In a previous blog I talked about a cost contribution model. The above diagram lends itself nicely to the cost efforts that may be shared.  For example, since data alignment and  data preservation are ongoing day-to-day functions, this may be an area your corporate entity funds, whereas data enhancement may be more tailored to a region or division that has specific and separate requirements.

Whether you decide to shrink or expand your data ecosystem, you will need a foundation to manage your data while centralizing the processes to ensure all roads lead to the same place.  Today, we see MAP (marketing automation platforms) or CRM as the central place where contacts live and get reported on.  More advanced companies may use external tools for extensive demand funnel and pipeline reporting but the foundation still remains at the user level with MAP and CRM.

Using your MAP or CRM as the central meeting place for all contact records allows you to control the information coming in and how it is processed.  Within these tools you can build operational campaigns to tag and segment your data for day to day performance.  It also allows digital foot-printing to be recorded at the contact level which can be used for reporting campaign effectiveness and future predictive modeling.

There are many ways to build a data strategy.  What is important is that you have stakeholder buy-in and investment into the process and data governance you have put in place.  As a marketing operations expert, I can honestly say this is not something that can simply be done once every three years or automatically with big data vendors (although there is certainly a place for them).  It requires human day to day management.  This day to day management can be done internally via a data specialist team or out sourced to a company like Data Reef.

One last final parting note – get rid of irrelevant data that has no bearing on your business model.  This is noise that is not required and a data cleanse should be performed quarterly to ensure these contacts don’t congest your MAP or CRM systems (you typically pay by contact record so this can also be a cost saving measure for you).

If you would like to learn more about how other companies are taking on data management, reach out to the experts at Data Reef below!

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