Data is key, part 1.

Finally, the brief’s been signed off and we’ve received the purchase order, now the fun starts! We have to produce a new marketing campaign to increase sales, the campaign must direct customers to the sparkly new website we’ve designed and built and we’re also creating personalised direct mail as a second line of attack.  So what drives these processes and makes sure all our hard work reaches the target audience? The answer is data.

The first step to effective contact data is ensuring its quality. The data driving the marketing campaign must be like a trained athlete, high performance, perfectly shaped and have the endurance to meet what’s asked of it. In summary, the data must:

  • Be segmented correctly to meet your target audience
  • Contain all the necessary fields to drive the sales process both internally in your organisation and if required, through a third party using other lead management applications

If the lead data has to flow through customer relationship management (CRM) or lead-nurturing system, you’ll need to identify those fields within the data that will be pivotal to accomplish this.

And, of course, there’s the all-important step… data cleansing  

  • The data must be de-duped of multiple copies of the same record. This may require merging of records to arrive at a single, most current record – deciding what to keep and what to lose.
  • It’s important to filter out any contact data that has been ‘Opted out’ of any marketing or sales activity. Not doing this could result in damage to your organisation’s reputation!
  • You also need to cleanse data of rogue characters.  Character data that can prove troublesome includes, leading and trailing spaces, incorrectly handled carriage return and line feed characters (especially in fields like comments or enquiries), tabs, control characters and white space.
  • Lead data must contain unique fields – for example email address, account number – that are the correct length and correctly formatted to ensure they are recognisable and compatible with other systems like CRM and lead nurturing applications.
  • All mandatory fields or fields of importance should be present and formatted correctly. For example phone numbers, state/county/province codes, country codes.

Using the above points as a guide should mean your data will be fighting fit and ‘On your marks’!  In my next blog I’ll discuss the second key topic of lead data… usage.