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Good data is imperative for email marketing success. How good is your data?

Published on 31 May 2011
Is Your Data Good Or Bad

Email marketing isn’t just about promoting a brand, product or company using email. It’s a science where data is used as the kingpin to achieve strategies, drive engagement and of course uplift sales.

Data may be sitting at the core of every email campaign and strategy, but relevant data isn’t always available. As a result, email marketing hasn’t progressed much in practice for many companies. This issue of eMarketing Insight focuses on the importance of data and what areas to look at to enhance current data streams.

Data: How important is it really?

Without the correct data, embarking on a successful email marketing program could be a futile exercise. You need customer data in order to remain relevant, target your customer base and to trigger communications – not only when an action is taken, but also based on matching preferences or previous activity history.

Having said that, it’s not always that easy to get the required data. This is not to say that email marketing cannot continue without it, it will just make the campaign irrelevant to the audience. So what are the stumbling blocks and is there a solution?

What data do you have?

Getting the required data out of company legacy systems can be tough – add to that the challenge of dealing with people who might not understand why the marketing department needs all this specific and detailed information.

Once you have the customer records, you need to start slicing and dicing – a task that could require the skills of a data and/or business analyst. The task gets increasingly complex and this is just the start.

Do you have all the information?

For the most part, databases have the bare bones when it comes to information, so specific campaigns need to be launched in order to enhance the data (list hygiene). It takes time to get the required information however and of course there will be some customers that just won’t supply it.

Is your data current?

Another problem is that data ages. For example, preferences could have changed over time or – if your database makes use of age ranges as opposed to birth date – eventually you will no longer know the age of your base. Adding to this, people move around and so contact details change. This creates another requirement to launch ‘database updating’ campaigns.

The solution

Take it one step and one day at a time. Map out the actual data required for your triggered and targeted email campaigns and roll out projects to expand and update the data needed.

Implementing a successful email marketing program that is relevant, targeted and triggered at customer touch-points takes time. Plan your strategy and focus on the data. Once you have that, the rest will start falling into place.