The power of relational databases to interpret and analyze large volumes of information has transformed marketing. With a well-organized, properly managed marketing database, you’re able to connect with your leads, understand their needs better, and provide unrivaled customer service.
There’s just one problem: Data doesn’t last forever.
Data decay is an inevitable consequence of database marketing. It happens whenever leads switch jobs, get a new email address, marry, move to a new address, earn a promotion, start a business – in other words, when they undergo virtually any status change. Business data in a well-managed marketing database decays at about 2 to 3 percent each month, depending on the volatility of your industry. In only a year, then, one-third of your data could be outdated or invalid without taking steps to keep it current. These key elements of database management keep your data on track and make sure you see your market as it is, not how it was last year.
The most fundamental role of a database manager is to maintain and verify the records the database contains. Accurately collecting, recording, storing, identifying, and retrieving information are more challenging tasks than you might think. For one thing, leads aren’t always accurate about the data they enter; sometimes they transpose numbers in an address or include a typo in a title. For another, not all data comes directly from customer input, such as behavioral data. Your database manager keeps information accurate by:
- Removing margins of error from input fields – changing out self-entry fields for drop-down menus, for example, simplifies storage and contributes to correct data identification.
- Verifying information against pre-existing databases – comparing incoming information against the latest U.S. Postal Service National Change of Address (NCOA) data, for example, will result in updated records.
Completing Account Files
The more complete your data, the clearer the image you have not only of individual clients, but also of your audience as a whole. Your database manager gives you the most complete files possible using a combination of data enhancement processes and integration with other systems. You already have a wealth of marketing information that may be siloed in your CRM or sales records, but your database management company can remove the barriers that separate key pieces of information from one another. Bringing everything together into a single file is essential for effective account-based marketing.
Timing It Right
Accurate data is a moving target because your leads are always in motion. Even leads who appear rock-solid are following their own trajectories along a buying journey with you, and the time-sensitive behavioral data your database manager collects about them is key to understanding how to serve them. Verifying information is a critical component to getting your timing right on everything from drip nurture programs to sales calls.
Databases need information that’s placed in the appropriate format to be able to analyze it. Your database manager does this by normalizing existing information and developing rules for handling incoming data. Normalizing data follows simple, universal rule-sets so information is readily accessible and easily stored. Think of normalization as repackaging the same contents to fit more easily on store shelves. Customer records come in numerous shapes and sizes, but normalization stores them all in uniform boxes for easy handling and retrieval.
Finding the Right Database Management Team
For marketing database management, companies that have experience in the field and preferably within your industry are the ideal choice. Not all marketing firms have the necessary experience in database maintenance to handle every facet of your data-driven marketing program, so ask questions before you invest.
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