How good is your data really?

how good is your data really

Owning the customer means knowing the customer

Our last post focused on the conundrum traditional organizations face as digital native companies swoop in and attempt to take share. Do they partner to gain digital chops quickly but lose ownership of the customer? Or go it alone but risk failing?

One challenge we’re seeing an awful lot lately is organizations not fully appreciating just how bad of shape their data is in. This is the data that’s supposed to drive growth. The data that expensive campaigns are being based on. The data that’s serving as the last line of defense against hungry competitors. And it’s simply not up to the task.

We recently had a client bring us a data file with about a quarter-million customer and prospect names. This data had very recently been used in support of a failed growth campaign. Once we began digging in we determined that roughly half of the data was completely unusable. When the dust settled, we determined there were only 6,600 real, truly deduplicated customers and about 42,000 prospects. A respectable starting place, sure. But a far cry from the mass of data the company had previously relied on.

By the time we conducted a lookalike analysis and identified an additional one million prospects, we created an audience unlike any the company had previously targeted.

Mind you, our client had no problem finding takers willing to use the original, bloated database for campaigns. Not only did it not have an edge in courting market prospects, it was wasting money chasing dead ends.

“Buyers buy, non-buyers don’t buy”

This obvious but important adage has stuck with me since I heard it many years ago. Spinning wheels on people who will never buy is not just a waste of money and resources but creates a negative, false impression of marketing’s value.

For reasons we’ve previously discussed, there is an urgency for organizations to identify prospects with propensity to purchase and target them effectively.

Marketers must ask themselves: are you paying close enough attention to customers? Do you know who they are and the current status of their relationship with the company? Do you know when they’re set to renew? Should they be buying more? Are they qualified upsell targets? Are they actually costing you money because they’re no longer profitable?

Truthfully, most organizations are not set up to track relationships at this level. They don’t understand why customers are changing behavior so don’t have the necessary info and understanding to win them back or prevent the same from happening to other customers.

This is not a new problem

Chief revenue officers are often at a loss for how to best address this persistent challenge. This is because they often try to solve it by looking only through the lens of marketing.

In reality, this is not a marketing problem, this is a problem that starts from the top down and ripples through the entire organization.

With this in mind, here are a few top-level strategies to keep in mind when attempting to cleanse data and position to better understand customers for more effective account-based marketing:

  1. Make data a C-suite issue. Data is the lifeblood of business in the digital age. The entire C-suite should have a vested interest in ensuring it is timely, actionable, and complete. This means appropriately funding initiatives and teams related to its collection, maintenance, and use in campaigns. Data strategies must be ingrained in the company’s DNA.
  2. Put your data to the test. Match your data files to ours for a complete cleanse and refresh. We’ll help you not just separate the wheat from the chaffe but help you understand each and every customer and prospect. Who is profitable? Who’s not? Who are the best potential customers in your database and what lookalikes in ours can be added?
  3. Make maintenance a priority. How will you grow and maintain your dataset? Regular ongoing communications, sales contracts that are up to date, purchase pattern identification, market trend impacts to your future business and more must all be tracked and supported with a focus on how it affects every person in your datasets.

Finding your next customer doesn’t have to be hard. But it does take commitment and appreciation for the power of data to unlock the true potential of your business.

Interested in testing out your data? Get in touch with me here.

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