Top 4 Signs you MUST Clean Up Your Marketing Database Now!

Marketing databases are one of those things that every business has and frankly, few truly understand.  In my work as a consultant, I work with many businesses over time and one of the first orders of business is to analyze the existing database.  The incoming CMO must make an assessment of the value of that database and determine if what is there is sufficient to meet your lead generation goals.

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After many iterations of this, I have a set of observations about the process.  In general, my going-in assumption is that “something is useable here” That’s a good assumption to start with but as they say, “your mileage may vary.”   Here are 4 clear signs that you should be thinking about a database refresh and clean up:

  1. No one knows where the database came from.  This is the first sign of a dead database.  If there’s no documentation and you truly do not know how the database was built over its life, you are headed for disappointment when you actually use the database.  It’s even worse when you get more than one story about what is contained in the database.
  2. Most records are just name and email.  It seems to be human nature to overestimate the completeness and quality of our data.  Having just an email address is not a marketing database, it’s an email list.  A database has enough data such that you can begin to tell what is what and start to segment the data.  No one would intentionally build an email-only database and expect segmentation from it would they?
  3. Each mailing brings spam notices.  Many of the vendors that we use to send out email (including Marketo and Eloqua) will ding you whenever some level of bad emails are sent out from your account and ultimately will reduce your ability to execute.  If you do not clean it up, it will be more difficult over time to send out emails and the vendor may shut you off altogether until you clean up your act.  Use an email verification service and only mail verified emails addresses.  It’s not cheap and takes some effort, but it is worth the hassle. It will keep you out of hot water.
  4. The percentage that have opened an email in the past year is tiny.  In general, if you email someone and over some extended time they do not open your emails, they are not likely to all of a sudden begin opening your emails and acting upon them.  Consider reducing the database to just those records that have opened or clicked on an email in the past year.  While this feels like a radical action, the non-openers are very unlikely to ever respond, so you will not miss them in your database.  You may also pay less to your Marketing Automation vendor for housing a smaller database.

The joy of having a clean database is a marketers’ dream.  Once you have one it’s real hard to go back.  A clean and maintained database will become a source of new leads with minimal hassle.  A database filled with unclean data will yield nothing but frustration.  Bite the bullet and clean up your database now!  You’ll be glad you did!

What issues do you have with your marketing data?  Have you taken steps to clean up your database?

 

You can connect with Eric on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ericlundbohm/

Follow his updates on Twitter @lundbohm

 

Top Four Ways to Improve Your Lead Generation

A typical marketing department handles all sorts of specialized activities.  You have visually creative people, writers, trade show experts, public relations specialists and the database whiz.  Each of these people has an area of expertise and they operate sometimes totally within that specialty.  But at some point, all of what marketing does needs to come together and help bring in and close new sales.

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More recently, some companies have implemented “lead generation” titles, dedicating a person whose job it is to be responsible for lead generation.  This person plans the outbound campaigns, executes the marketing and studies the results in search of the perfect marketing campaign.  With or without that position, marketing needs to generate leads and provide them to sales.  It’s really the prime objective.

So, for lead generation to be successful, all the specialists within the marketing department must do their jobs.  In addition, there are some steps that you can take to improve the chances that your lead production is up to par.

  1. Develop a detailed lead generation plan.  Sit down with sales at the start of your planning cycle and determine how many “qualified leads” are going to be needed to meet the new revenue goals. Make those numbers the goals for lead generation for the entire marketing department.  Track results to those goals.  Then, in the event you get behind on goals, you’ll be able to focus better on where the issues lie; are there enough leads or has something changed in our ability to close them?
  2. Make sure the qualification criteria is well-understood.  The most important aspect of successful lead generation is the hand-off between marketing and sales.  The exact definition must be understood by both sides and applied evenly across the board.  Any discussion with sales concerning lead quality should center on this criteria, not individual campaign dynamics.
  3. Track leads from cradle to grave.  Great strides in CRM quality have been made in the past decade.  While there are numerous issues with tracking lead source and additional customer touches, the more you can track, the better.  Where did “a lead” enter your system and where did it leave?  How many times did we touch each prospect?  Once you can effectively count the currency, it becomes much easier to adjust and improve the system.
  4. Be transparent with campaign results.  Today’s CRM and marketing automation tools provide attractive dashboards and data presentation tools.  Use these to automatically track and share the up-to-the-minute results on campaigns.  Share it with everyone in the company who is interested.  Invite conversation about the value of each campaign.  You want everyone to feel marketing’s issues and understand what goes in to and comes out of a campaign.

A great deal of effort of every business goes into creating leads to generate new sales.  It is indeed one of those mission-critical aspects of a company’s success.  If you follow these steps, you’ll be way down the path of creating ample leads, with the least hassle.

Which of these steps does your company do?  What is the biggest hurdle to your lead generation?

You can connect with Eric on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ericlundbohm/

Follow his updates on Twitter @lundbohm

More Numbers, Less Measurement?

When I was in college, automobiles were not quite as reliable as they are today. In those days, you often had issues with your vehicles that you lived with for a while or forever. I had a couple cars like that myself. Two issues I had with my old clunker cars come to mind under the topic of measurement.

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I had a car where the gas gauge did not work and yet another car that the speedometer didn’t work. It’s not hard to see how these would impact your day to day driving. Both issues open up potential negative consequences, such as running out of gas when you had no idea you were low or getting caught exceeding the speed limit, again with no real idea how fast you were going. But hey, a little white knuckling while you’re young is okay, right?

There have been many times in my career, I’ve had that same feeling. I’ve come in to a situation and asked the questions but didn’t like the answers. How much does that product cost us? We don’t know. What was the return on that campaign? Not sure. How are delivery dates? We’re behind, but we’re not sure how much.

There’s enough “white knuckling” in running a business without creating more by not properly measuring the things that matter in your business.

I’m not specifically saying we should have more measurement, because we’re often inundated with data. We now have a whole industry known as “big data.” I’d suggest that it isn’t just getting a bunch of data together and “crunching” it. It’s about find the right data, the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help you understand your business. Like the data missing in my old cars; how much gas do we have and how fast are we going. Some cars today will calculate your miles per gallon, average speed and other stats. Probably great data, but not as critical as the data that was missing in my old clunkers.

I use a GPS in my car, sometimes even when I know the route well. Why? Because my GPS gives me a critical piece of information I never had before: expected time of arrival. Takes into account my location, speed and traffic conditions. It’s a KPI of how I am progressing on my goal, which is arriving at my destination. We can find these new KPIs in our business. Today’s technology, like my GPS, make it possible to create new ways of looking at our progress.

Focus on finding the measurements that matter. Find the new “ETA” computation in your business that will truly make a difference. Make sure you’ve covered the basics, the equivalent of the gas gauge and speedometer. The key to improvement is not reams of data, it’s finding, creating and understanding the right ones.

What KPIs matter to your business? Have you ever measured things that didn’t matter?

I have to end now, as my “total words in this blog” KPI is over 500…

You can connect with Eric on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ericlundbohm/
Follow his updates on Twitter @lundbohm