3 Ways That Poor Data Hygiene Can Hurt Your Revenue

By Deborah Gibbs 4 min read

Data hygiene is the process of identifying the inaccurate lead records from your database and then replacing, modifying or deleting the “dirty” data.

In the case of marketing automation in general, the success of your nurture programs always depends upon the health of your database. (In Marketo, a “program” is like container for all the items such as landing pages, emails, Smart Campaigns and reports that are needed to complete a  single marketing initiative.)

Poor Data Quality = Poor Marketing Results

Here is an example of how poor data and equal poor marketing results: Suppose you receive one list with 2,000 records to import into your system. The list originated from manual entries by members of your Sales team. The list contains 1,000 records with incomplete or inaccurate information, such as missing, outdated or misspelled email IDs, incorrect lead source values, missing first/last names, and missing country values.

Due to how your system is configured, all of these fields are required for the list to be imported. When you upload the list, however, due to the poor quality of the data, Marketo finds only 1,000 records to which it can send emails. This reduces your program’s success and reduces the return on your investment in Marketo.

Now let’s look more closely at what else could happen as a result of the scenario mentioned above.:

1. Your Leads Are Not Assigned to the Proper Owner

Continuing the scenario above, let’s say your CRM is configured so that lead owners are determined by country:

  • USA leads will go to Lead Owner A
  • Canada leads will go to Lead Owner B
  • UK leads go to Lead Owner C, etc.

Per your usual process, you run a program in Marketo to send all the leads to the CRM. However, the list you uploaded had records missing a value in the Country field. As a result, those leads go in a generic queue, because the CRM cannot identify the correct Lead Owner.

While your CRM and MA power users sort through the mess and try to identify the proper lead owner for records where “Country=blank”, valuable time that could have been devoted to digital nurture or Sales engagement is lost. And in both B2B and B2C scenarios, lost time often means lost money.

2. You Risk Being Identified as a Spammer

Let’s say you continue to email to the list with outdated and inaccurate emails addresses. The first time you hit the “Send” button, you receive 800 bounce backs (hard and soft bounces). Keep doing that, and chances are your IP address will be flagged as a source of spam by ESPs.

Well-configured marketing automation instances have ongoing data cleaning processes that prevent repeat email sends to hard- or soft-bouncing email IDs. For example, in Marketo you can use Segmentation to prevent sending emails to contacts who have “Email bounced/Soft bounced back = true.”

There can be major business costs related to getting blacklisted or suffering a downgrade in your reputation as an email sender. The labor spent to recover your deliverability will be more expensive than the labor spent in basic hygiene tasks, and the revenue lost when promotional emails fail to deliver during peak buying cycles could actually be a crisis.

3. Your Marketing Automation Database Becomes Bloated and Expensive

The size of your database will directly impact your total cost of ownership for marketing automation. Although each marketing automation provider has a unique approach to pricing, data quality impacts your costs in all situations.

If your MA provider charges by the size of your database, you don’t want to pay for incorrect or useless contact records. If your provider charges by the volume of email sends, you need to avoid sending emails to under-performing contacts.

Either way, data hygiene pays off by reducing your database to relevant contacts whose behavior indicates a healthy interest in your brand and offerings.

Are you interested in getting help with data hygiene and other maintenance tasks? We’d be happy to help you. We can run your analytics or basic maintenance tasks for you and free up your time to focus on the really strategic aspects of demand generation. Contact us for help.

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