You’ve gathered data on your visitors, meticulously cleaned your house list, possibly collected additional data from third-party list management resources – but there’s a step you could be missing between these data-driven marketing activities and a flood of new customers. You’ve collected a certain amount of primary data, but your records are incomplete without one of the most overlooked steps in database marketing: Data enhancement.
Here’s how data enhancement can fill in the blanks not only with your leads’ account files, but also in your overall data-assisted marketing strategy.
First Things First
To enrich your data, you first need to have a clear idea of what you already know. When working within a marketing automation system, this step is usually simple; automated merge/purge processes and data collection will eliminate most input errors for you. If you’re migrating data from an older system into a marketing automation platform, you’ll want a database manager overseeing the process for you so valuable information isn’t lost or misplaced. In either case, establishing rules for which record should take precedence is critical to clean data.
Up to Standard
Another problem that commonly afflicts databases is a lack of standardization. When you see an address or a phone number, you automatically process it in a certain standard order. You may not think about it consciously, but you know that phone numbers have seven digits plus a three-digit area code. Addresses include a name first, then a street address, then another line for the city, state, and ZIP code. If something’s switched around, we instantly realize it; we can recognize that “Bill Smith” is a name and “123 Blueberry Hill” is an address even if Bill accidentally swapped the information in his name and address forms.
Automation technology – even if it uses the most advanced tech – doesn’t intuitively make that switch. It needs a rule-set for measuring and standardizing every piece of information. Standardizing data means giving your software a ruler and letting it measure records to fit established protocols for common data types. Think of it as making sure all data is the right size and shape to fit on the shelves so your database stays organized.
Filling in the Blanks with Data Enhancement
With clean, organized, and validated records, you’re able to see what you have and where your records are sparse. Depending on how you come by your data, these blank spots could be in a number of places. Older records, for example, may not have up-to-date email addresses attached to them, while records generated solely from digital activity may be missing historical data or firmographic information.
To fill in the blanks, data enhancement processes compare what you already know about your prospects against an existing database of up-to-date information. In our case, for instance, we rely on ReachBase, the industry’s largest and most complete database of marketing information with more than 72 million records. If you know Bill Smith’s mailing address but not his email contact information or firmographic data, you’ll find that data within ReachBase and can make his account file more complete.
Why is this forgotten step so vital? With data enhancement, you’re able to expand your reach to prospects you could only serve through a few channels before. You also get timely updates to your leads’ records, ensuring you never lose touch with them. Perhaps most important, you discover new insights about your leads and can address their needs more fully. With this much at stake, data enhancement is a process you can’t afford to miss.
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