While conducting our own research one theme came through time and time again. The industry still faces its biggest issues around purchasing good quality campaign data from reliable sources and then ensuring it manages that data well on an ongoing basis.

Marketers agreed purchasing or working with existing poor data undermined campaigns at the very start as well as tying up resources and focus long-term. Many agreed that despite recognising this they still knew of many businesses unprepared to spend adequate resources to ensure their data strategy was right. Many marketing departments were still trying to spend minimal levels of funds with the expectations of achieving good results.

Key to resolving the data issue is the development of a clear long-term data strategy that can work alongside the marketing programme outlining how the business will purchase, build and manage data and the expectations over time that can be achieved. Purchasing external data is only an initial starting point, with data traditionally only being 20% to 30% accurate despite the claims of numerous data suppliers. The next part of the strategy is to determine if you should invest time to qualify the data, identify gaps and build missing data. This will take up to 2 months but bring the data up to 60% to 70% accurate as your own research will start to identify target organisations and then the roles that have responsibility for the areas you want to sell to.

Live campaigning provides the greatest opportunity to further build and maintain good quality data over time and attention to detail through managing responses to campaign information is important. A key part of data strategies that deliver long-term benefit outline responsibilities for usage and maintenance of the data within the sales and marketing departments. Reports also reveal that universal development of user-protocols for managing data and storing data contact information and regular review and segmentation of data to identify opportunities are beneficial.

Done well marketers agreed that once they had tackled the data issue they then increased the impact of their marketing programmes and decision-making over time. In our view a good place to start is to carry out a data-clean-campaign to the target database which allows you to begin opening conversations and verify the data by email, low-cost DM and calling focused on providing an information asset that the audience can request.