Let’s talk about hygiene. We all know there are some things we do have to do in the background to keep up with our own. When you neglect your hygiene, it might not always be immediately apparent, but inevitably, something unpleasant will make itself known. This is true for your personal habits, and it’s true for your Marketo database.
What are the consequences of poor database hygiene? There are a few common ones discussed below. None of them are positive. Any marketing automation strategy developed on top of a poorly maintained set of records is going to be flawed in its execution over time.
Deliverability. Poor deliverability is probably the most consequential over the long term. Keeping a clean database reduces the chances of sending email out that reduces your deliverability credibility. If your credibility is poor, you are more likely to be classified as spam. Being spam is obviously going to reduce your effectiveness as an email marketing machine. Recovering credibility after sustained losses is not typically an easy undertaking.
Cost. On a financial note, poor database hygiene increases the difficulty of managing record bloat. Marketo Engage licenses include size limits for each instance’s record database. When those limits are reached, Adobe will alert the account owner that they need to reduce their database’s size or license a larger database. At bare minimum, good database maintenance will allow for timely identification of records that can be purged, keeping costs down. More aggressive database hygiene will automate at least some of the record removal process slowing down the database’s growth rate in real time.
Data. Lastly, on a more personally strategic level, poor hygiene leads to flawed data. Clean databases keep their records up to date. Marketing teams spend a lot of time making important decisions about who to target for their campaigns. The realization that the audience or trend is not, in fact, what everyone thought it was because of flawed data leads to frustration. Frustration leads to finger pointing, and no one enjoys finger pointing.
Leadous has plenty of experience helping clients implement and expand their database hygiene plans. Typically, the first thing we see and recommend is clients setting up different campaigns to handle various kinds of potentially problematic records. For instance, the response to a record that received one soft bounce response is going to be different from a record that received an email is invalid response. Our consults help our clients identify the various categories. Once the categories are defined, we can also advise what to do in each case. Then we can build out smart campaigns to comb through all of the records and take those actions.
Once the problematic categories start being identified, some of the responses taken in response to those records will help address record bloat. How aggressively they choose to do so is another strategy the Leadous team can help guide. In any case, once the time for an active purge arrives, previous database maintenance will have identified the categories that are likely targets for elimination. From there, it would be a relatively simple task to actually remove the records.
Keeping records accurate is also part of the maintenance required for a healthy database. An important part of that is data normalization campaigns. In a pretty traditional example, country names typically need to be normalized into an expected value. Automation enforcing standardized names prevents future ambiguity. Why include “USA, US, United States, United States of America” in all future filters? Instead, one campaign can look for all the potential variants and change them to a singular, preferred standard. Some data fields that typically benefit from a data normalization campaign include state, professional title, and professional role among others.
These ideas represent just the beginning of database hygiene. All of the advanced phases of Leadous’ Marketing Automation Progression Model depend on the foundation created by trustworthy data. The effort required for this foundational work pays off in the short term, but it also yields additional dividends down the line. Team Leadous loves helping our clients address their data challenges and ensure they have a funnel that is quality from the bottom up.
Questions about your data? Talk with an expert today!