As email marketing becomes increasingly more sophisticated and challenging, data appending and list cleansing play an ever more important part in achieving marketing success. Experian QAS’s recent study found that the most common types of email database errors are incomplete or missing data, outdated information and duplicate data. As Experian notes, businesses that operate on inaccurate information risk wasting resources and damaging the customer experience they work so hard to create.
As studies by Lyris, Silverpop, Optify and the Epsilon and Email Experience Council show, the best email marketing results are achieved through segmenting and targeting, which is leading marketers to invest in creating customer profiles and buyer personas.
The basic data needed to create customer profiles and buyer personas—such as age, gender, marital status, location, education level, income level, ethnic background and political affiliation—typically are not readily available and can be acquired via demographic appending.
Indeed, appending third-party information has become increasingly popular, says Experian, reporting that 63% of businesses append third-party demographic or behavioral intelligence.
As Experian notes, because of the increasing need to rely on data to communicate with consumers and obtain business intelligence, marketers are combining buying patterns with purchase history, third-party demographics and behavioral intelligence.
Marketers who are appending information use the data to enhance loyalty efforts, tailor emails with specific offers and tailor website displays to target prospects, says Experian.
Meanwhile, as marketers strive to engage higher percentages of top-level prospects through more refined segmentation and targeting, reaching prospects’ mailboxes has become more difficult because of the more stringent filtering criteria imposed by ISPs and mail hosting services, as well as more intensive filtering at recipients’ inboxes.
Because a significant percentage of email addresses inevitably become bad over time (from 20% to 30% on average), list cleaning enables you to improve your performance in all important areas—percentage of prospects reached, conversions, revenue generation and reputation (fewer bounces, less spam flagging—which in turn, improves your deliverability and performance).
Experian recommends cleaning both your existing internal data and all incoming information at point of capture. Cleaning internal data, says Experian, translates into more accurate data, which allows businesses to more easily search information, combine duplicate records and analyze data.
Cleansing and appending data go hand in hand to boost email marketing results. Besides improving the accuracy of information to enable you to optimize your marketing efforts, Experian explains, cleaning data at the point of entry ensures that your business can get more accurate matches from third-party data providers.
Experian’s recommendations jibe with those of other experts, including Sales Inside Inc., which in “Data Cleansing for Improved Marketing Effectiveness” recommends a similar regimen of cleansing and appending.
The cost of dirty data is the cost of lost opportunity, argues Sales Inside, pointing out that in a time of ever increasing competition, the difference between winning and losing in a market could boil down to your database accuracy.
Because dirty data degrades that valuable asset on a regular basis, it is imperative that your database be cleansed, appended and maintained in a way commensurate with the revenue-generating power it holds, says Sales Inside.