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My Love Hate Relationship with Data

My Love Hate Relationship with Data

I hate data…… and it seems many other marketers do to;  according to the 2013 Email Marketing Industry Census report by Adestra and Econsultancy, marketers top hate is data when it comes to email marketing.


The list is endless….lack of data, poor quality data and poor understanding and utilisation of data. It’s all so boring and time consuming…yawn.  Like most marketers I like to do the cool stuff, the shiny stuff, the creative stuff! The sheer mass of information available and the state of your database is enough to scare any marketer into ignoring it; but for those who are brave enough to confront it head on and get a hold on it there are big rewards!

So having been in my current role as Marketing Manager for over a year now, I’ve finally pulled my head out of the sand and am ready to tackle our database. As we move away from the big brand awareness stuff to the boring stuff…cough…sorry a more tactical approach. I need the data to be in tip top condition; and this is what I will be focusing on. Of course you have to know WHO your target audience is first but I know you all know that. Surely you must do right?! Ok let’s get started!

1.       Get your house in order – know your database

Before getting started take a look at what you’ve got and what state it’s in.  What’s missing? Are there competitors in here? Spam traps? Records with empty fields? Do the right people own the right accounts/leads? What needs to be cleaned or deleted? Make sure you utilise dashboards and reports for this – a great way to get a full view of your database on one page.

2.       Spring Clean -  sort into piles and make decisions

So as not to get overwhelmed it’s a good idea to sort your different data assets into piles and work through them one by one.  Start thinking about what you want to do with the data – this will help you decide whether you need to add any new fields or remove anything that’s not important.

3.       Fill in the gaps and enhance

As your cleaning out the bad stuff you’ll notice lots of gaps. If you don’t fill these gaps you are limited when segmenting data for campaigns. Perhaps you could run a campaign to these contacts encouraging them to provide additional information? And of course, no data cleanse is complete without a thorough review of email addresses. A multi-channel campaign isn’t complete without the obligatory email!

4.       Get to know your best customers

Once your data is clean you then have a great opportunity to conduct customer profiling. Customers who have purchased from you before or existing customers are most likely to purchase again, so it makes sense to gather as much information as possible about this most important segment of your database. How about adding something like ‘Business Area’ in to decipher what area of, for example, commercial insurance your customers are in, are they an insurer, a broker? This will enable targeted campaigns around certain products and services you can offer them. I’ve also added in ‘Hospitality Interests’ so we can treat them to events that they will be interested in. The better we know our customers the more special they will feel. Email marketing = relationship building.

The possibilities are endless

And so that’s where I’m at, I’m on the journey to a better database and I’m learning to love data…I’m not quite there yet, there’s lots to work on but I urge all you other marketers to get your hands dirty and dive into your database.  Whether you’re a small business or a large multi-national corporate the benefit within an organisation to have a single customer view so you can cross sell and upsell is of utmost importance! It’s not easy, it’s time consuming and sometimes boring but once clean, the possibilities are endless and the marketing automation tools and CRM systems available out there make it all the more exciting.  Good luck!

I’d love to hear from other marketers with a similar challenge or even from those weird marketers (you know you are) who love data.  Who knows, maybe I’m becoming one….nah never!

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