How much is bad marketing data impacting your business?


Marketing Data Management Four Key Problem Areas You Need To Fix

Did you know that one of the biggest factors underlying the success of your marketing campaigns is the quality of your data? For most marketers, keeping data marketing-ready is a huge chore and an ugly one at that. What is needed is a routine. Just like eating right and exercising, good data management brings higher productivity, clarity and more predictable results.

Just how bad is the problem of bad data? A recent survey by Zoominfo says it causes these glaring inefficiencies:

  • 62% of organizations rely on marketing and prospect data that’s up to 40% inaccurate,
  • Up to 25% of B2B database contacts contain critical errors, and
  • 40% of business objectives fail due to inaccurate data.

Here at Cultivate, improving the quality of our prospect data is a major priority during the coronavirus downturn. It’s not an exciting task, but it can pay big dividends. When you have more complete, accurate and up-to-date records of the right people, you can run more successful campaigns and attract more of the right customers to your products, services and solutions.

4 key areas to focus on for data cleansing

Before you begin your next new marketing initiative, you need to determine the marketing-readiness of your data. Here are four key areas you need to focus upon:

  • Stranded data,
  • Dark data,
  • Dirty data, and
  • Untrustworthy data.

Problem #1: Stranded data

Every company has stranded data – prospect and customer information that is stored in disparate locations. For example, your company may have some data stored within its CRM, but other pockets of data reside in a customer support database, salespeople’s email programs and your website “contact us” form submissions.

There is likely very good intel in these various locations. But because it’s scattered among a variety of data sources, it’s hard to get a clear picture of the data at your disposal to create relevant connections with your prospects. As a result, your marketing communications aren’t as effective as they could be. You’re missing opportunities for additional leads and sales.

Solution #1

Maintain an inventory of all marketing and sales data entry points and storage locations. Our database worksheet contains a list of 10 common places to look for stranded data. You can download it here [Marketing Data Scorecard].

Problem #2: Dark data

Today, most companies collect terabytes of data from their website, social channels, sales, customer service and operations in the hope of extracting business insights from it. But most of this data never gets used. IBM estimates that 80% of all data collected by organizations is dark data.

Storing dark data costs money. Veritas estimates that it costs the average mid-sized organization (holding 1000TB of data) more than $650,000 annually to store non-critical information. That’s a huge amount of money to spend storing something you don’t even use!

The other problem is that dark data creates an opportunity cost to the organization. The sheer volume of it causes the firm to miss out on valuable information –tiny needles hiding within a massive data haystack.

Solution #2

We recommend that you maintain an inventory of the types of information that you collect, then prioritize the most important data types needed to support your communication objectives. Use the database worksheet for a comprehensive list of information types (accounts and contacts) that you should collect from all your data sources [Marketing Data Scorecard].

Problem #3: Dirty data

Dirty data is riddled with errors and inconsistencies. It can contain mistakes such as spelling or punctuation errors, incorrect data associated with a field, incomplete or outdated data and duplicate records.

Dirty data is by far the most common problem companies face today. Its cost is enormous: MIT Sloan Management Review reports that dirty data costs the average business an astonishing 15% to 25% cent of their revenue!

Dirty data can cause many problems. Salespeople waste time because they’re using the wrong data to contact prospects. You waste marketing dollars trying to deliver messages to invalid or outdated addresses. Incorrect segmentation can lead to poor personalization. Your company may even lose customers because of poor quality service and mediocre customer experience.

Solution #3

A common solution to dirty data is data cleansing – software that pores through your data, fixes common problems and flags others that need attention. Strive for a quality-focused data management culture. Establish your data quality plan. Define your cleansing schedule and KPIs. View our database worksheet for a list of common data quality issues and solutions to them [Marketing Data Scorecard].

Problem #4: Untrustworthy data

The integrity of your data isn’t consistent. In other words, your data is untrustworthy because no one knows which conflicting data points are accurate. For example, is the email address in your CRM correct or the one obtained from a list provider?

When you have multiple sources of prospect and customer data, you often have conflicting information that impacts planning, day-to-day functions and reporting across marketing and sales.

This breeds misalignment in organizations, especially between marketing and sales. That’s a big problem when you consider that sales and marketing alignment can help businesses become 67% better at closing deals, according to a recent study by Marketo and Reachforce.

Solution #4

Define a master file, a centralized location for marketing-ready data, also known as a Single Source of Truth (SSOT). An SSOT is a data storage principle that designates one database as the central repository of all the organization’s most accurate data. When inconsistencies arise – and they will – they are resolved and saved in the master file with a time stamp. In marketing terms, the SSOT is a single database that holds the master prospect and customer data.

View our database worksheet for a list of four SSOT platforms you may be able to use as your SSOT [Marketing Data Scorecard].


Just like eating right and exercising regularly helps you stay healthy, your company needs a data management regimen to maintain the health of your marketing data. The good news is that it becomes a habit after you follow the regimen for a while!

To help you, we have created a marketing data management worksheet, which you can use to assess your data sources, their degree of health and action steps to fix them. You can download it here [Marketing Data Scorecard] Then reach out to get your free 30-minute consulting session with us.

For more articles in this Fast Forward series, please click on the links below. Each article contains a free, downloadable worksheet, which can help you get started implementing the approaches you’ve read about: