Data driven marketeers often use the term “garbage in, garbage out”. By this we mean that if you base campaigns, reports, analyzes or other activities on low-quality data, the results will most likely also be of low quality. But who is actually responsible for the data quality? And how do you safeguard and maintain it?
Why is marketing data quality important?
Of course, more is needed than data to conduct good (data-driven) marketing, but without good quality data as a basis, this will not work anyway. The consequences of poor data quality can be enormous. Consider, for example, the consequences of:
- sending information to a person who has since passed away or has moved;
- targeting wrong target groups during emailings or social media campaigns;
- incorrect management decisions due to errors in reports and analyzes;
- sub-optimal use of marketing budgets;
- CPC bids that are too high or too low;
- not complying with GDPR/AVG.
Who is responsible for marketing data quality?
However, getting and keeping data in order is not that easy. Just think of the fact that a lot of data, such as a customer’s address, is time-bound and has a limited expiration date. You actually only know whether data is of the right quality when you want to use it. That moment may be a lot later in time than the time when the data was collected and stored. Unfortunately, you often find out that the data quality is insufficient. And arranging data afterwards takes a lot of effort and is expensive.
It is therefore important to check and validate data before it is processed. The correct answer to the question “Who is responsible for data quality?” is therefore: everyone within the (marketing) team who receives or processes data. But who are these and how can they contribute to data quality?
The marketing manager, to begin with. He or she must monitor marketing data quality and identify issues. The easiest way to do that is by drawing up data quality KPIs and monitoring them in reports or dashboards.
Typical data quality KPIs that you as a manager should monitor, are:
- the difference between the turnover reported by your webshop and your bank;
- differences in number of leads between your CRM system and Google Analytics;
- differences in orders between your ecommerce platform and Google Analytics;
- the trend in both numbers and percentages of hard-bounced mail in email campaigns;
- the trend in both numbers and percentages of returned mail packages at direct mail campaigns.
If you see differences or negative trends here, you can investigate these further with the relevant employees in your team.
Marketers involved in setting up and executing campaigns play an important role in making the input and output (and thus the results and ROI) of these campaigns measurable. They do not have to do much work for this; consistent and central tracking and recording of names and IDs of campaigns, ad sets, ads, audiences, selections, UTM codes and other tracking is sufficient. The web and data analyst can then combine, unlock and use this data for both campaign reports and data quality reports.
Where campaign marketers are mainly concerned with outbound activities, content marketers often also deal with inbound activities such as SEO and social media. By making and keeping all web content measurable and every social media posting in the same way as providing campaigners with UTM codes, they ensure that the correct inbound marketing data is also collected.
Customer service employees
Customer service and internal sales staff are the ones with the most personal contact with customers. The common example of sending information or an (e)mailing to a person who has since passed away or has moved or to someone who is no longer employed can be prevented by also involving these employees in data quality.
This can be done by setting up and monitoring procedures in which bounced emails, returned direct mails and other contacts are immediately followed up and processed in the CRM system, which is also the basis for campaigns aimed at existing customers and prospects.
The role of ICT is modest but important. If you collect and store marketing data centrally, this department must ensure that this data is collected and stored in the right place and in the correct format in the marketing database or data warehouse. However, marketing and marketing data is usually not the expertise of an IT department, so they need the expertise of the web analyst or marketing data analyst.
Web and data analysts
Last but not least, the web and data analysts. They are the ones who have access to the marketing data from various sources and use it in the (data quality) reports and dashboards used by both the marketing management and the various marketing employees.
Questions about your marketing data quality?
I do hope this article gives you tools for maintaining and safeguarding the marketing data quality of your company or organization. If you have any questions or need some help with this, please contact me.