Data is an education company’s most important asset. Accurate data allows company leaders to make good decisions about business initiatives. Creating marketing and sales programs that efficiently generate qualified leads depends on clean, accurate data. Maintaining data hygiene in databases means that each area of the company is working with the same data for an accurate and comprehensive view of the customer.
Clean data results in more effective marketing, higher lead conversion, better customer relationships, and steady progress toward achieving company goals.
According to ReachForce, a B2B marketing organization, “dirty” data reduces lead conversions at a cost of $83 per 100 records in the database. They also estimate that 2% of information in a marketing leads database goes stale every month. Of course, this estimate is across all industries, but even in an institutional market such as K-12 education, there is job mobility among buyers and prospects.
With many education companies turning to marketing automation systems, it is important to note that the inaugural 2016 MarTech Data Report, found that data hygiene issues, such as data scrubbing and de-duplication, were a problem for 49% of respondents using a marketing automation program. The report states, that “poor data management, quality and access are hindering marketers from realizing significant returns on investments into marketing automation platforms.”
The Data Decisions Group maintains that the “ability to combine data and analytics to improve business outcomes is the single most important competitive advantage in the world.”
They outline specific negative outcomes if data hygiene is not a top priority:
- Wasted marketing budgets
- Missed revenue and profit targets
- Frustrated customers and prospects
- Lost reputation and brand equity
Basic Hygiene Practices
The case for investing in regular file maintenance is strong. So what are some good list maintenance practices? Whether or not you are using a marketing automation platform, the following suggestions apply to both your prospecting and your customer files:
- As you mail your files, ensure there is an ongoing process in place to remove bounced or inactive addresses.
- Create a process that provides a periodic, routine review of your database. Develop strategies to reengage those who have not clicked through in a specified amount of time, and remove them when they don’t reengage.
- Evaluate your sign-up metrics to ensure that you are getting the quality of leads you need.
- Make the opt-out process as simple as possible. Don’t annoy your prospects and customers by making this complicated. They may show up at another school or district and you want them to walk away with a good feeling about your company.
- Segment your list so that there are other options for prospects to modify the number and type of emails they receive rather than just unsubscribing.
To recoup the investment that companies make in their marketing and sales programs, it is clear that good list maintenance practices increase ROI as well as customer satisfaction. A company’s abilities to reach its business goals is enhanced or impeded by the health of its databases.