Data quality remains a major barrier to growth

A Benchmark report rates data as ‘questionable’ across key record areas.

Companies are struggling to create good foundation data and maintain clean records despite acknowledging that poor data quality can hinder marketing goals, a benchmark report has found.

The B2B Marketing Data Report 2016, from commercial data specialists Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), revealed that 41% of B2B marketers said inconsistent data was the biggest obstacle to maximising ROI on marketing technology (MarTech).

A further 44% cited data quality and completeness as their number one challenge. This is despite nearly half of respondents saying that their need for accurate and complete data to achieve marketing goals is more important than ever.

To produce the report, D&B surveyed more than 500 B2B marketers from small to large organisations across all industries in the US. It also analysed 695 million customer contact records through its data optimisation platform.

Michael Bird, D&B General Manager of Global Sales & Marketing Solutions, said good quality data was essential to realising marketing goals. ‘Whether it’s improving customer experience, launching new offerings to existing clients or creating demand with new prospects, one constant undercurrent determines the success of these activities – the ability of the organisation to access and derive meaning from the amazing amount of data now powering the systems that execute them.’

Records rated ‘questionable’ on key indicators

The 695 million records analysed were rated against four data quality indicators – email delivery, record completeness, phone connectability and record duplication. Overall, the records scored a health scale rating of ‘questionable’ or 3/5 on a scale of ‘risky to optimal’.

In terms of individual indicators, record completeness and phone connectability scored lower than last year and received an average ‘unreliable’ rating. Email deliverability was rated ‘questionable’ while record duplication fared better achieving a ‘functional’ rating. None of the quality indicators averaged high enough to receive an ‘optimal’ rating.

Top three data-marketing trends

D&B also highlighted the industry shift that now compels companies to look at ‘digital marketing’ as simply ‘marketing’.

This shift was evident in the top three data-marketing trends that emerged from the analysis. ‘Every area of marketing is now digitised in some way and is fueled by data from start to finish. The data you feed into your programs can make or break the success of each effort,’ the report said.

  1. Marketing Technology (MarTech) is changing how companies manage marketing budgets and execute marketing programs. The companies that are capitalising on MarTech and driving growth have the advantage of being backed by good data.

The report advised companies to tackle their data issues head-on or risk diminished ROI from their MarTech stack and missing out on growth opportunities.

  1. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) practices are increasingly being used to identify the businesses, buying centres and decision-makers that organisations want to build relationships with.

Nearly 60% of companies said they used relevant demographic and firmographic data (descriptive attributes of firms) to identify best audience segments. However, more than 75% of the files D&B processed lacked data on industry, revenue, and employees.

  1. Online advertising is becoming more automated, and programmatic ad buying is rapidly emerging as a common B2B practice, with 54% of respondents buying advertising programmatically.

Nearly 80% of B2B marketers will commit up to half of their budgets on programmatic this year, and 36% said the main objective was to increase lead generation.

Foundation data key to harnessing trends

While data is a central component of these trends, D&B said an organisation’s ability to harness the power of the trends “could be dramatically increased” with a consistent focus on data quality.

Yet it also noted that marketers did not invest enough in foundation data and that often companies paid ‘lip service’ to the importance of clean data. ‘Great marketing starts with great data and you can’t maximise outcomes and success without addressing your data issues.’

DCA’s view: Quality data is achievable

In line with D&B’s report and through reviews of our new clients’ databases, we’ve also seen how poor quality data can cost an organisation a substantial percentage of their annual revenue. Data cleansing and hygiene is a critical step on the road to quality data for any use: from segmentation to marketing campaigns, reporting and more. 

DCA helps organisations to develop their data strategy and identify the building blocks of good data to help drive marketing objectives and realise ROI.

We consolidate data from multiple platforms and also ensure data quality through a range of robust and auditable processes. Marketers need confidence in their data and how it comes together to provide a single customer view, which DCA can help to achieve.

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