Modern marketing programmes are built on data...But how well do you know your data?
Knowing which data you need – and more importantly when to invest in it is critical to sales and marketing today. Investing too early can mean that it is stale by the time you need it – investing too late and it will sit there unused.
Understanding your data is key and here are 3 questions you should be asking yourself about your data.
1. How was it created?
Rory Sutherland described how “facts” come about in an interview recently for the Marketing Meetup.
First they are new (a toy)
–> then something to be tested (a theory),
–> then a tradition (or best practice)
and finally a trap where you assume it works but might actually not.
This can be a real challenge with data.
An email open for example is not a reliable data set. An open can be triggered without actually opening the email because the platform has downloaded the images (which is how an open is tracked).
It was once a good metric because you would be pretty much forced to download images to view an email many many years ago.
Today not so much.
2. How old is it?
Defining the lifetime of your data allows you to understand how much faith you should place in that data.
When it comes to data provided by people. Self selected data can become invalid over time. We rarely go back and change those preferences after being asked.
Behavioural data on the other hand can evolve and change and is extremely timely. Understanding those time frames is key to activating accounts – either in sales or marketing.
3. How deep is your data?
In an ideal sales/marketing world you would know everything about an account. What their challenges are, which events they are attending, when the best time is to contact them etc.
Of course thankfully (!) that isn’t reality and all we can do is look for signals that suggest what we need to know. Or in marketing speak, figure out the likely right time, right place and right message.
To do this, you need to research each account.
Know the stakeholders, the company and their situation. But doing this too early can mean a lot of wasted investment in insight and data that will become stale by the time you identify the right time to contact them.
So as well as understanding what you do know. You also need to understand what you don’t know and when the right time is to fill those gaps.
Overall, understanding your data and having processes in place to clean your data is critical to all marketing programmes and even more so in an account based marketing one.
So we leave you with one final question…
How well do you know your data?