In my last post, I wrote about the implicit Value of Marketing Data. What are some ways that you can improve the quality of your marketing data? There are endless tactics and complexities to write about on this subject, but I thought I’d simplify to give you three tips that every marketer can use to build a better quality database.

Develop a Customer Profile. Start with a list of everything you would like to know about prospects and customers in your target market. Don’t be constrained by what you believe you have available or what you think is possible. Use those data points to create a Customer Profile for your marketing database.

Configure your database with a relational model in order to enable the integration of additional, future sources of data, such as order tracking systems and other external databases. Evaluate the % complete of various data components and discovery where you can possibly use data appending strategies or campaigns to gather additional data points.

Pursue data relentlessly. As you compile response data from marketing programs, evaluate the quality and completeness of the records and make decisions on data enrichment leveraging outside sources (discussed, in short, below) or through progressive profiling techniques.

Consumer database marketing strategies often address target markets of tens of millions. Marketers should become familiar with the commercially available pre-configured profile clustering systems, such as those from Nielsen or Experian, as they will save you quite a lot of work.

These systems allow you to develop market segments based on criteria such as demographic, lifestyle and behavioral data. They also provide options for a mechanism to reach those consumers.

B2B marketers face similar challenges, albeit on a smaller scale. There are generally two major types of data sources. There are the traditional marketing databases, such as Dunn & Bradstreet and Hoovers, that offer rich company information but limited contact data such as email and phone records. There are the newer marketing data platforms like ReachForce and NetProspex, to name just two of the many, which offer a range of services including opt-in services and database analysis services. While the cost per record is much higher on those services, they often prove cost effective as they allow marketers to purchase only the data they really need. There are specialty platforms developed for industry specific targeting such as tech and healthcare.

Understand the lifecycle of your data. Marketing Data maintenance is a critical component to maintaining the viability of your database, and the effectiveness of your marketing database. The average B2B marketing database has a decay rate of 3% per month. It’s important that every marketer be aware of their own data decay rate, and take steps to refresh their data. Campaign deliverability and call connect rates are key measures that every marketer should closely monitor to ensure that data is performing at peak. Inbound marketing strategy, data enrichment and appends, as well as progressive profiling in campaign strategy can ensure that your data stays fresh and remains a valuable weapon in your marketing arsenal.