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Poor data quality is the silent killer for many B2B marketing campaigns, a study suggests


By Laurie Fullerton, Freelance Writer

March 30, 2016 | 4 min read

Poor data quality is one of the most ubiquitous problems for B2B marketers with a 25 per cent of the average B2B marketer's database deemed inaccurate and 60 per cent of companies struggling with an overall data health that is 'unreliable.’ A recent report surveyed 775,000 leads generated for B2B marketers in the technology industry, and found that total leads generated resulted in 60 per cent that were deemed good, and 40 per cent that failed because of missing fields, duplicate data, invalid emails, addresses and the like. A 40 per cent fail rate on prospect data quality should not be the norm, and is considered a 'silent killer' of marketing campaigns.

The biggest issues facing B2B marketers dealing with poor quality data include duplicate data - defined as having the same name twice - and missing fields which include having the name and address but no email or phone information. Other issues include invalid formatting, where a lead may have all the required information but is not formatted according to marketer specifications. Also, a failed email or address validation where the prospect's email address was invalid or their physical address was unable to be identified by USBS database is a common problem.

Additionally, invalid values/ranges are a lead that may contain a New York business address but only leads from California are acceptable. Further, if the prospect works for a company of 50-100 employees when the campaign parameters specify that no prospects of less than 500 employees will be accepted is a significant cause of poor data.

"The issue of data quality continues to be one of the biggest roadblocks to effectively analyzing the prospect and customer journey. It also dramatically increases the costs of analytics projects and negatively impacts performance, said Sameer Khan, senior product marketing manager and IBM customer analytics in the report.

The study finds that poor-quality data effects small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), enterprise and media companies alike with 38 per cent of SMB leads, 39 per cent of enterprise leads and 41 per cent of media company produced leads not reaching their intended target. The biggest culprit is duplicate data followed by invalid ranges and missing fields, the study suggests.

Overall, with duplicates and erroneous information, lead errors occur 33 per cent of the time. While failed email validation makes up just over 6 per cent of leads analyzed, with the average B2B lead price at over $50, this is considered a wasted media spend. Additionally, duplicate data comprises 15 per cent of invalid leads across all three categories, while 10 per cent are invalid ranges and 8 per cent are missing fields. Failed email validation and failed address validation make up the remaining 7 per cent.

"Garbage data seems to be the 'cigarette smoke' of the marketing community. Everyone knows it exists, we know it will kill you but we keep doing the same bad practices and attempting to solve this huge problem with small strokes," said Justin Gray, CEO LeadMD in the report.

Finally, manual processes used to identify and correct the quality of a lead are prone to human error. Without data governance software, on average, companies analyzing the study would have to catch and correct a combined total of 313,890 lead errors.

"Data is the oil of any marketing engine, and in order to create perpetual demand generation, data accuracy needs to be a top priority. Marketers must be ruthless and deliberate about data quality and standardization at point of entry," noted Jonathan Burg, senior director of marketing and customer acquisition with Apperian.

B2B Lead Generation B2B Marketing IBM

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