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Keepin’ it Clean: Why Data Cleanliness is Always Top of Mind for Successful Marketers

Spend some time with Marketing Operations professionals and it will become obvious how important data is to a high functioning Marketing department. This truth was validated when we interviewed dozens of marketers for our report, The Essential Framework for Optimizing Marketing Performance. During these conversations, many topics were discussed, but data cleanliness consistently came up as a “must have” when optimizing marketing performance.

Here is Why Data Cleanliness Rises to the Top:

Data is the key ingredient to show progress
While a strong executive vision is important in setting a target for the entire department, and clear measurements and visibility into data is necessary to communicate priorities and results, none of this can be done successfully without quality data. A clean set of data leads to accurate measurements and increased credibility for marketing.

Clean data is a requirement to make smart decisions
Clean data gives you the confidence to make the right decisions. Imagine changing market focus or pivoting product focus based on data that is bad? You can only improve performance if you have reliable data to gain insights from.

Technology is an enabler, not the answer
Technology is part of the vehicle needed to create clean sources of data, but it takes more than just buying a new tool to solve a data problem. People and processes need to be involved, as does an idea or goal of what is to be done with the data once it is in the desired format.

Data cleanliness is a full time job
With some projects you can set it and forget it. This is not the case with data cleaning, different variables are introduced all the time. The market changes, a new field is introduced in your CRM, the company’s go-to-market is switching to an Account-Based approach.These are examples of external actions that affect a company’s core data and use of data. For this reason, marketers must constantly prioritize data cleanliness when managing marketing performance.

To learn more on data cleanliness and mastering Marketing Performance Management join our webinar with Debbie Qaqish Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group on Jan 31 on How the Best Organizations Run the Business of Marketing and Drive Growth. We will provide detailed insights into how the most successful companies are managing marketing performance to drive more revenue.

Real Talk: Very Few Marketing Organizations Have GREAT Control over Data.

In our 2017 MPM Maturity Benchmark Report, the results showed that data cleanliness is a major issue for most marketing organizations. The chart below shows that 42% of companies report that they can only run baseline reports on past Marketing Performance, while another 13% don’t even know where their data lives. That’s 55% of companies that can’t optimize marketing performance because of issues with data!

Marketing organizations that can’t get to data or don’t have clean data, will be challenged to create a positive impact on their company’s bottom line.

Expert Marketers POV: Andrea Benson, VP Demand Generation & Marketing Operations, SimpliVity 

Let’s start with two points:

1. Data is core to everything.
2. Getting control of data and cleaning it is hard.
Full stop.

Overall, there are different categories of data. Some data marketers have complete control (think campaign data, response data and investments). This is easier for marketing because we are setting up the framework and foundation – we have the control.

Where it gets harder is when collaboration with other departments is required. Establishing frameworks, definitions, and rules around data quality must be done with counterparts in Finance, Sales, and Customer Success. The reason it’s a necessity is these partnerships get you to the data points that are CORE to doing meaningful analysis that benefits the entire company.

How I recommend you proceed is to first take care of your own house (this is part of the reason we invested in Allocadia and Pardot early on). It’s super critical to establish the rules of data collection for Marketing first! Once that is complete it makes it easier to actually keep the data clean. And as a bonus you can lead by example and “show your work” to the other departments.

Next you will want to move to collaborating with other departments. Understand that this process is never quick, but the only way to progress is to take the time and build relationships. Make sure you communicate to the other department the reasons why you want to influence change. When they understand that you’re trying to help the company, they are almost always willing to pitch in. Who wouldn’t want to help the company succeed? The only caveat is you have to be right there with them doing as much if not more of the work.

What does clean data get you? Well, that’s when the world opens up. You can answer questions like: How can we course correct? Can we predict what will happen if we take a certain action? But ultimately, it means being able to make business decisions and be confident in those decisions.

And without clean data… it’s just smoke and mirrors.”

For more insights from our Benchmark Report join a live webinar on Tuesday, January 31st at 10:00am PST / 1:00pm EST with me and Debbie Qaqish, Chief Strategy Officer of The Pedowitz Group