Best Practices and Data Management
Data quality is essential to all forms of marketing activity but so often it is overlooked in preference of achieving challenging deliverables and timelines. An established CRM system will only go so far before it reaches its peak performance and starts to become a liability. These problems often stem from a cultural dysfunction where essential data best practices are not recognised as being part of the process. A lack of experienced personnel and single minded approach only increase the various data issues hence the need to establish clear data best practices and management procedures.
Manage The Platform
All major CRM and email marketing tools have core functionality to maintain and manage customer and prospect data but system limitations can affect operational scope and data quality. As the market needs change so do the techniques applied to reach prospective customers and build loyalty with existing customers. Budgets will dictate the ability to upgrade and consider alternative approaches but a regular review should be undertaken of the existing infrastructure in line with the business needs and especially with an increasing customer or prospect base.
For any acquired customer or prospect data it is essential the correct market scope has been defined and a clear definition of how the data will be used. This can only be achieved if the essential data elements have high and accurate population volumes e.g. industry sector, contact names, job functions and email. It is therefore important to keep the aforementioned examples updated on a consistent basis and efforts made to obtain any missing values to increase overall population. Such an approach may represent a change to the existing working practices and a degree of effort is required, but will prove beneficial in the long term.
Understanding The Journey
The data used for any campaign is only as good as the planning put into understanding the given customer journey. Rather than send out to large volumes of data and hope for the best, it pays to first plan a strategic approach. This does not have to be anything too complex but taking simple steps to 1) Set the objectives; 2) Define target audience; 3) Set a budget & communication channels; 4) Define the message; 5) Monitor & measure the response. This will help achieve optimal results. Better targeting can also be achieved with further data analysis and segmentation work to identify specific audiences and the correct implementation of campaign response data will be key to this.
Comply With Legislation
The emergence of multi-channel marketing means following legislation is more imperative than ever and with countries having their own marketing communication laws it is crucial to be clear to whom and how the message can be executed. Firstly the defined message must be true to all accounts and not open to misinterpretation or any false statements. Secondly the targeted audience must be selected in accordance to their defined preference as contacts that have opted out of specific or all forms of marketing communication must not be targeted. Email legislation will also vary by country and so the option to opt-in or out must be applied to all communications sent and then recorded for future selection suppressions.
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