Data is power. When your marketing team has the customer knowledge needed to create complete account files through data enhancement and retrieve information about leads at a glance, you gain tremendous insight into your audience. Yet a strange thing can happen to marketers and analysts who have too much data coming in without a way to interpret it: analysis paralysis.
Analysis paralysis is a good bit like what consumers feel when presented with too many choices to make a meaningful decision, only it happens on the other side of the funnel – with the sellers, not the buyers. Instead of making quick, accurate decisions, businesses suffering analysis paralysis hesitate to act at all. They’re swimming in a sea of data, but they don’t know which way to head for shore. Having oceans of data isn’t enough; you also need a firm vantage point and ways to interpret that knowledge, translating its considerable potential energy into real action.
Breaking through analysis paralysis frees you and your data-driven marketing program to choose the best course quickly and reliably.
Develop a System
Without systematic database management that sets the rules for data migration, incoming information, retrieval, and verification, any system would quickly be swamped with too much knowledge to process. Think of a database with poor systematization as a library in which book covers have been switched and volumes shelved at random. The architecture’s the same, and so is the knowledge it contains, but it’s not accessible without a useful system to handle the data. Data enhancement and hygiene processes help keep a database running smoothly.
Slow and Steady
After installing sophisticated new marketing automation software or upgrading their database management systems, it’s tempting to put the new equipment through its paces and make many sweeping changes at once. While taking a major leap from conventional rules of marketing data management to automation and big data applications might land you precisely where you want to be, there’s a surer route that avoids the analysis paralysis pitfall. Incremental changes to the system let you and your marketing team ramp up your data management capabilities.
Data verification is one of the most frequently overlooked aspect of data-driven marketing, but it’s essential to everything from deliverability to conversion rates. Prospects can’t engage with marketing messages they never receive, so check your database’s accuracy frequently. Your analytics will show you opt-outs and hard bounces, but to get a clearer picture of your data’s veracity, measure it against a larger, more complete database as a benchmark. Testing is an integral part of data enhancement that makes it worthwhile even if your records are fairly complete.
Know Your Benchmarks
With data enhancement, your list can approach perfection – but it may never get all the way there. Inevitably, contacts change jobs, projects change course, and leads change their email addresses. Setting meaningful benchmarks for data completeness and quality allows you to get outstanding results for deliverability, response rate, engagement, and other key metrics. Enhancement processes give you more complete records, but the real goal is loftier than filling in all the blanks; it helps you know when you’re ready to act on your knowledge.
Business moves at the speed of light, especially in the digital realm. Data enhancement lets you keep pace instead of falling behind due to uncertainty and analysis paralysis. Keep moving with clean, complete data, and you’re already ahead of the curve.
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