I’ve Got 99 Problems and Data Integrity is #1

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As marketers, business leaders, and professionals in general, we are called upon to spin a lot of plates. From my experience, marketing is often thought of as the ‘pretty’ aspects of a brand, but it goes so much deeper than that. I often find myself thinking I should have double majored in psychology so I could get really granular with behavioral targeting and “figure people out.” There is a lot of science that goes behind even the simplest daily tasks, in fact, I was just interrupted in this sentence by a call about email deliverability!

In a world that is increasingly digital, we have see a lot of our old practices fall to the wayside. We are no longer required to memorize phone numbers, utilize a rolodex, or even maintain a hard copy planner, unless that is your personal preference. All of our daily management can happen from a device that fits squarely in the palm of our hand, in a pocket, or at the very largest – a magazine-sized machine nearby. In theory, this would mean it’s a lot easier to manage our day, but I have seen that it does present it’s own challenges of “out of sight out of mind.” Once you save a doc, how many times do you really go back to it? This is why we don’t memorize phone numbers anymore – we put it into our contact list and then never have to see it again because it always pops up with a name when you click “call.”

This transition to a digital environment has caused a rocky road for the plate-spinners in this world that depend on data accuracy. I literally have 99 problems, probably per day, when dealing with the mass amounts of data in our Salesforce environment. To avoid this turning into a rant, here are the top 3 challenges I have encountered, and the steps I am taking to resolve them:

  1. Consistency
    Establishing guidelines up front and early on will solve many of your headaches on this one. We personally use preferred name, legal name, and last name, so it is easy to make sure we are able to personalize emails in a way that likens to our general familiarity with the recipient. Additionally, you will want to agree on casing – ex: Dear Amanda, Dear AMANDA, Dear amanda – only one of those is correct! And third, if you are using a parser or some kind of automatic addition to your system, it is imperative that you go back and check to make sure they do not get a garbage name like “N/A 109820385093852903402482” – because that would be embarrassing.
  2. Accessibility
    If you are planning on using your data with a third party system like Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, or a back office financial system, you want to make sure that the criteria you might use for lists and personalization are readily available on the record in a field. Related lists or objects are not always accessible to these systems, therefore if you are recording imperative data there, rather than on the record, you will have problems executing on your plans.
  3. Accuracy and Updating
    Email marketing and automated communication is a great way to clean your data over time. I always want to thank people for unsubscribing because that means I am not wasting our message on someone who is not interested (similarly, I feel marketer’s guilt when I delete emails for a long time without actually unsubscribing). However, relying on users to come back and update their preferences as often as they change is probably not the best way to keep your list engaged. Therefore, the “updating” element means that you should be keeping an open human dialogue with your customers and updating their preferences and information as you are speaking with them, so as to keep delivering a wanted message and continuing your business relationship for a long time!

Of course, we all only have two eyes and two hands, so it “takes a village” to resolve these challenges, in addition to diligence and self-discipline. How have you stood up against your data challenges? Share your war stories on one of our social media channels below!

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Staff Writer

Victor is a resilient and driven lifelong student of technology, with his most recent emphasis on Analytics, Healthcare, Microsoft and Salesforce. His personal mantra is to seek "victory, however long and hard the road may be." Victor is a staff writer committed to staying on top of industry trends and providing expert advice for today's technical world.