Are Your Data Management Processes Setting You Up For Failure?
The availability of data can completely transform the profitability of your B2B publishing business.
But it’s not enough to simply build a big list – and that’s why a focus on quality data management is so critical. After all, data is meaningless (and possibly useless) if you can’t analyse and proactively use it to inform your marketing and better understand your customers, prospects, and suppliers.
With this in mind here’s a crucial question.
Does your data management software/provider help or hinder your operation?
To help you decide, here’s a list of seven essential elements that your data management software/provider should be able to address (and deliver). Are they providing you with the insights, information, and functionality that you need to succeed?
Let’s take a look…
Which of these seven elements does your data management software/supplier offer?
- Transparency through reporting and analysis
First up, you need to know exactly what your data shows.
Transparency is critical to ensure you know what’s happening under the bonnet of your database.
Reporting can help you gain this understanding – but make sure you’re clear on the parameters with your chosen supplier. As you know, data can be cleaned up and ‘manipulated’ to make the results look more favourable than they really are. And while this may be preferable in some cases, when you want the truth, you need to be clear on how you want your data presented.
It may be worth reviewing the reports that you receive, and ensure the information that’s presented helps you move closer to your bigger business goals.
- Data cleaning tools that take the hard work out of data hygiene
You must ensure your data is accurate and up to date. If you don’t, inefficiencies and inaccuracies start to slip in and undermine the quality of the information that you hold. For example, you need to remove duplicates, ensure contact details are up to date, and check job titles, statuses, and other fields that are important to your publishing business.
In the end, there’s no substitute for the human eye to discern dirty data, but tools can help by taking the guesswork and drudgery out of this vital job. After all, checking data is time-consuming and expensive if you get it wrong.
It’s worth having a conversation with your current supplier to discover how they maintain the integrity of your list. Ideally, your supplier should use a blend of tools and human intervention. Also check the frequency as to which data hygiene is carried out. If checks are too infrequent, it could be that the integrity of your data is undermined.
- Parent and child relationship
It’s essential that your data collection be set up in the right way.
If you ever need to analyse your data in terms of companies and contacts, there is no other way than to have a robust parent/child relationship set up – preferably one that also enables you to match your audience against the relevant industry.
Do check with your current supplier, to ensure that any data input rules are strictly adhered to. Otherwise your measurement of your audience could be compromised.
- Integrated email tools
As a modern B2B publisher, email marketing is likely to be an important medium you use to distribute your content and market your product. Integrated email tools allow for automated marketing and scheduling and alleviate the need to download from your current database and upload to your current email provider allowing you to easily use your freshest data
If a profitable return on your marketing investment is important to you, integration is the only logical solution so ask the question. How does your current data provider help support your wider marketing strategy?
- Multichannel import ability
For best results, you need your data to be up-to-date and accurate – so don’t make it difficult for new data to be imported into your database.
Ideally, you want to be able to upload new data whether you’re offline or online. Also, you want the ability to manually import data easily (for example if you collect a business card) as well as importing data automatically from a lead capture or opt-in form. Does your existing supplier allow for all of these options?
- Data analysis function
You need to be able to understand what your data reveals about your business, your customers, and your prospects. For example:
- Who buys what?
- Which are your most profitable campaigns?
- Which subject lines work best?
- Which demographics buy what?
If you can’t get a top line overview and then drill deep into your data to pull out meaningful information, you need to take a serious look at the value of your data management provider. A good sense check is to review whether your current data manager provides you with all the information that you need, or are there holes in your knowledge that you’d like data insights to fill?
- Full suite of demographic options
As a B2B publisher, it’s likely you’ll have a range of different customer avatars – each of which will consume different content and respond to different messages and different offers.
As such, it’s inefficient (and not a good practice) to send blanket broadcasts to everyone on your list. Instead, you need the capability to segment your data, as this makes for cleverer marketing and market segmentation. What’s more, irrelevant content creates more unsubscribes so you lose valuable data, which you’ve spent time and effort generating.
It’s important your data management processes give you access to a full suite of demographic options – so do double-check that your current provider offers this. Without this capability, you’ll miss out on the capability to target your message to different demographics – and that can compromise the return on investment of your marketing activity.
How does your data management stack up?
Does your data management or software provider really give you what you need, to survive in the increasingly demanding world of data management?
If you can say ‘yes’ to all seven of the above, it would seem that you’re in good hands!
If you feel there are gaps it’s well worth asking the questions that will help you to tighten up your processes. After all, without the analytical insights and communication capability that quality data provides, your competition could get the upper hand.
And if you’d like an informal chat to help you figure out what you need to do next, feel free to get in touch. Either give us a call or leave your questions in the comments below.