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Marketing Database Health Maintenance

Data come from many sources in the marketing database and not always in the optimal state. As there could be some process running like Lead routing and if the incoming data is not in the optimal state or may be missing mandatory fields, that lead might not become part of it.

Bad practices of data collection can leave marketing databases with gaping holes and will require extra scrutiny at some point.

Importance of Database Health Checks
Oftentimes, during database health checks, the data are found messy. One might see:

  • Address fields like Country, State, City are incomplete or not in the proper format
  • Important fields are incorrect or missing altogether, etc.
  • Names that are misspelled or not capitalized
  • Badly formatted Phone Numbers

These inaccuracies in the data happen during the process of data collection.

Human error is a factor and also, data change over time. The inaccurate data lead to miscommunication, poor results of marketing efforts, and revenue loss.

However, when data are cleaned up and enriched properly, it saves time and marketing campaigns are likely to be far more effective. Ultimately, data cleansing results in:

  • Better ROI and protection of revenue projections
  • Reduced errors that negatively impact the reputation of the organization
  • Better and long-term relationships with customers

How is a Database Health Check Performed?
A database health check can seem like a formidable task, more so as the list grows, but it is an integral part of a good marketing strategy.

To reduce the amount of time required to complete the database cleanse and make it a more digestible process, break it down into several pieces. The process may include the following.

Step 1: Data Standardization
This is the most common issue found while performing database health checks. When data come in from different sources, they are naturally going to be in different formats.

Some frequent formats are Emails, Names, Phone Numbers, and Addresses.

There can be extra spaces or characters that hurt the integrity of the data and increase bounce rates. Sometimes they are just typos, other times they are caused by encoding issues, etc.

It’s important to correct these issues.

While these errors aren’t going to necessarily kill a deal, they do reflect poorly on the company when something goes out with a name not capitalized.

Others, however, can be really important to look into.

For instance, Emails that have spaces or aren’t in the proper format. Obviously, if these issues aren’t fixed, Email communication sent to such an Email address will bounce.

One of the best things to do is to create and follow a standard that indicates how each field will be formatted.

Step 2: Merging Duplicates and Purging Bad Contacts
Now that data has been cleaned, the next step is to purge the data of unnecessary records and fields. This will reduce data bloat and may even save data storage costs. Wondering what to remove? Here’s where to start:

Remove bounced contacts
There is no point in keeping the hard bounce records in the database as those reflect invalid Email addresses that actually do not exist. Removing the hard bounce Emails is a good step to be taken. Also, keep an eye on soft bounce Emails periodically.

Remove unsubscribed contacts
Records that have been unsubscribed have an owner who doesn’t want to receive any communication. These could be removed from the marketing database. Removing such records will free up space in the database.

Merge duplicate leads & fields
Removing duplicate contacts is another huge step! These duplicates can cause several problems, particularly if the duplicate has inaccurate or different data than its counterpart.
The same goes for duplicate fields. There’s just no reason for this. The redundant data will just weigh down storage size and make the contact look cluttered.

What to do with the Results of a Database Health Report
Once data cleanup is done, one can start implementing marketing campaigns with the confidence that they’ll be reaching the right people and qualifying leads for sales opportunities.

In addition, the marketing team is now aware of data gaps and can work on filling those, whether it’s data from existing prospects or new leads.

Moving forward, it’s equally important to perform regular health checks every quarter or 6-12 months as data tends to become obsolete over time. There are tools, like Discoverorg and ZoomInfo that can aid in keeping data integrity once the initial data cleanse has been performed.

Database health maintenance can be a tedious process depending on how big the database is.
If marketing does not have the bandwidth to handle this project, or if they would just like a professional team to come alongside help analyze database health and provide solutions to optimize the same, please Contact RightWave

1. Chuck Rue, Database Health and Its Impact on Marketing, Nu GROWTH Solutions, August 25, 2016.
2. Matt Benati, My Simple Secret for Maintaining a Healthy Database, Adobe Marketo Engage, undated.