4 Data Management Mistakes to Avoid in 2019

Tis the season for reflecting on both the mistakes made in the past year (hopefully not at the office holiday party), as well as the many things you and your marketing team got right. Of course, the best thing about making mistakes is that regardless of how painful they may be, they do provide an opportunity to learn, grow and in some cases become even more successful. History boasts a collection of successful inventions (microwave ovens, Post-it notes, Pacemakers, etc.) that first began as mistakes. Naturally, learning from other people’s mistakes is far more desirable than having to learn from your own, and so to help you do just that we’ve created a list of the top four mistakes to avoid when managing your data this year.

1. Being Lax About Data Quality

No other single variable has more impact on the success of all decisions and marketing campaigns than the quality of your data. After all, you can’t deliver the right message to the right person at the right time if you have the wrong information. More importantly, we live in an age where everything is in constant flux, so the old practice of scrubbing a list every quarter or biannually is woefully inadequate. It’s also a mistake that many analysts estimate could cost you big bucks. A Gartner study found that approximately 40 percent of the average company’s data is either inaccurate, incomplete or unavailable. This results in missed opportunities, wasted budgets, and an overall failure to achieve business objectives.

Sidestep Bad Data: The easiest way to avoid the costly mistake of allowing poor data quality to wreck your marketing strategy is to add a data management tool to your martech stack that enables you to continuously collect, clean, complete and enrich data in real-time. Look for a data management tool that comes with a data dashboard. Dashboards cull data into a user-friendly format that allows everyone on your team to access, see and share insights.

2. Tracking the Wrong Metrics

According to a global marketing study, only 21% of companies are able to show how marketing contributes to overall revenue. In today’s data-driven corporate culture, the need to tie marketing efforts to performance is essential to justifying budgets and preventing cuts. Doing this requires that you track the metrics that are driving results, and this requires that you focus only on core metrics that are impacting business. For example, if you want to track whether or not a marketing campaign is engaging customers and leading to sales, it can be tempting to focus on metrics such as likes, followers and open rates, but those metrics won’t tell you if your message motivated a customer to act. The metrics you need to follow in this scenario are click-through rates, number of sales generated per campaign piece, and the median profit per sale.

Sidestep Useless Metrics — Before you can extract meaningful insights, you need to spend time thinking about what it is you want to know. Once you have identified the problem you want to solve or goal you want to achieve, you need to choose how you will measure the variables that impact it, and then track the data critical to your mission, so that you can establish a benchmark for testing your theories and measuring the success of your actions.

3. Personalization Without Segmentation

While adding someone’s name to the subject line of an email will boost open rates by as much as 68 percent, it won’t get people to click-through if the content you sent is not relevant to their needs. Segmenting takes personalization to the next level by using data to speak to each customer’s unique and specific interests. There are literally countless ways to segment your lists, but a few of the more popular ways include: geography, age, gender, industry, job title, purchase history, etc. A marketing study reported that 77 percent of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns – talk about finding your motivation to get more personal with customers. In addition, another study found that segmenting customers led to:

  • 34% — Increase in email relevance
  • 28% — Decrease in opt-out and unsubscribe rates
  • 24% — Increase in sales and revenue
  • 21% — Increase in customer retention

Sidestep Phoned-In Personalization: Segmenting lists does not have to be a complex endeavor, especially when there are tools, like Reach, that work with your marketing automation platform to send highly personalized and targeted content that resonates with customers.

4. Lack of Centralization and Visibility

Recent research revealed a shocking statistic that only 8 percent of organizations have integrated their marketing, sales and finance data and made it accessible from a central location. This means that 92 percent of marketers are living in the performance-sucking wasteland of multiple data silos. In that same study, 13 percent of respondents confessed that they don’t know where all their data lives and 50 percent said they do not have full visibility into baseline marketing metrics. This is insane. If you only have access to parts of your data, you cannot make decisions that are wholly on strategy. You cannot see the big picture because too many pieces are missing. In the realm of choosing your battles, fighting to centralize access to data and make it visible is something that will not only determine how far your company is able to go, but whether or not it is able to stay relevant in a data-driven economy.

Sidestep Data Silos and Blind Spots: These days, there is no need to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to connect data sources across a variety of tools, systems and platforms because modern martech integration platforms equip you with the ability to connect everything in your enterprise. Once connected, you can centralize access and provide everyone in your organization with 360° visibility by using a data management tool with a user-friendly dashboard.

David York
david@sureshot.io

David York has spent the last 15 years at the forefront of the martech revolution, and is an expert on its past, present and future.