Creating robust processes can sometimes feel like you are ‘over engineering’ your marketing. But, creating a step-by-step approach to building, maintaining, and enhancing your database, and then following through consistently with rigour and attention to detail, is what will get you where you need to be. At MPG we approach database optimisation using a 5-step framework based on the widely used Database Lifecycle Management framework. Here we share MPG’s database development and optimisation processes, with a downloadable resource to use when growing your B2B marketing database. DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF MPG’S DATABASE OPTIMISATION PROCESSES HERE #1 Data Cleaning Over time, data can become unusable and may need to be suppressed, refreshed, or removed from your database. If your database needs a lot of work now, clean and enhance existing contacts via a batch process. Then set up ongoing processes to regularly review and ensure good database hygiene at all times. Research ‘email bounces’ for people who have left the business: for every contact that has left a company, you can obtain two new records – the replacement person and an updated record with new contact information for the original record. #2 Data Collection When growing your database, it is important that the right types of data, both basic contact data (such as name, job title, company name, sector, company size) and enrichment data (advanced demographic data that allows for smart segmentation) are collected. Data collection should be approached via three methods – ideally always running in parallel: Inbound lead generation via website lead generation forms should produce a steady trickle of relevant contacts that are highly engaged. Web forms are an excellent way to constantly grow contacts, as well as intelligence on your contacts’ interests and demographics. You need to have all other marketing channels performing well to push relevant new people to your website for this to work, especially social media, PPC, and advocacy – as these are the best ways to reach more of the right people currently not in your database. New data acquisition through data research, either using your in-house database research team or a third-party specialist research agency, can generate higher volumes of new contacts more proactively. Although these people should be relevant, they will not be engaged. Adding new relevant contacts to your database through an iterative/batch process approach means you can start directly targeting the right people with engaging email campaigns. Drip feeding new batches of data into your database will ensure good email deliverability – avoiding the spam traps that look out for large new data sets being pushed into email campaigns. Data cleaning should be ongoing – researching contacts already on your database who have previously bounced or are no longer engaging. As mentioned in #1 Data Cleaning, this method allows you to collect both data for where the contact has moved to, as well as their replacement. The performance of newly acquired contacts should continually be assessed. Monitoring the conversion rates of researched data as well as new contacts acquired via inbound marketing, will mean you can adjust your marketing database growth approach in a responsive and intelligence-led manner. Database KPIs to consider include: Number of contacts and % database growth, ideally broken down in to prioritised data sets Conversion rates – of web visitors to both leads and purchasers Total revenue generated from newly acquired contacts ROI in terms of revenue over cost = % age pay back DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF MPG’S DATABASE OPTIMISATION KPIS HERE #3 Data Usage Understanding how database contacts will be used by marketing is an important consideration when deciding what data to collect. Once a new person has been added to your database, you should send them an intro email to introduce your brand and provide an overview of your relevant products. As a first effort, a content-led email is a fantastic way to warm up new contacts as it is a much softer – and more welcome – approach than immediately sending them a pushier product or offer-led message. The focus should be on lead generation and the email should be positioned as an ‘invitation’. Depending on jurisdiction you may need to include some data protection information, e.g., how you are going to use their data going forward. New contacts should then be fed into your marketing campaigns so will receive all future emails. Deliverability of the above ‘intro emails’ should be monitored closely. If below 85%, there is something wrong with the data and the source of that batch should be re-examined. Another way to raise brand awareness with your new contacts is to upload them to a PPC channel for retargeting before they receive an intro email. This will warm them up and familiarise the contacts with the brand or product before they receive a direct communication. #4 Data Storage When it comes to marketing data, where and how it is stored and organised is incredibly important. One key rule of thumb when considering your marketing database and tech stack supporting it, is that customer and prospect data should all be stored in one place – or at least in an integrated stack that allows you to manage data properly. From a marketing perspective: If data has multiple uses (e.g., email, direct mail, telesales), use a dedicated CRM system connected to the marketing automation platform. Salespeople should work with the data stored in the same CRM. If data is only to be used for marketing email campaigns, a marketing automation platform can be sufficient to use on its own. The systems used, and how they are configured, will affect how the rest of the data lifecycle is managed. Your systems should include data redundancy strategies (such as backups) and data security strategies (such as storing data) in a way that it cannot be accidentally altered. #5 Data Maintenance Properly maintaining data is essential to ensuring that it remains accessible between different teams, and that it is always ready to be used for its intended purposes. Data can be maintained through both automated and manual processes. Automated processes could include: automating population of company specific information, such as company type, for contacts where these values are already known, for existing contacts at the same company. automating the population of relevant segmentation properties based on engagement with your website content and email communications. Automations should be used wherever possible, but some manual processes such as ensuring the whole business – especially salespeople – are always updating contacts (basic data like email addresses, and enriched data like job titles) as they communicate with customers are just as important. If you have robust processes in place to make sure each of these 5 steps is being covered consistently well, then your marketing function, and your organisation, will be well placed to support a resilient and growing business. Do you need help optimising, or growing your existing database? MPG’s database and martech experts know what it takes to develop and grow a database for high performance marketing that converts. We also know how to optimise existing databases on an ongoing basis in a practical, systematic way that keeps your database in ship shape for highly targeted campaigns. Get in touch today to find out how MPG can help you attract and convert enough of the right customers to help your organisation be more resilient – and grow.