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Independence Day is about celebrating our freedom. We celebrate with picnics, family barbeques, and of course, fireworks. In the spirit of the holiday, how does a data-driven marketer celebrate the occasion? With free and open data, of course—data that gives you the freedom to use any way you want.

Dazzle your co-workers by taking a little time to create some amazing data pyrotechnics and make your co-workers say, “Ooooooh, Ahhhhhh!”

Here are a few easy marketing data projects you can do to celebrate the holiday:

  1. Improve Segmentation with Job Function Data

Some of the most important fields for segmentation, lead scoring, and personalization are Job Function and Job Sub-Function (e.g., Marketing Ops, Demand Gen, Product Marketing), but most marketers have this field blank in their CRM systems. Declare your independence from expensive data providers and populate the field yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Download an open source list of title keywords. You can do this without registration (or taxation) from marketingopendata.com or other open data project sites.
  2. Now you’ve got a list of keywords, and the Job Functions associated with each. From here, in Excel, you can use a simple VLOOKUP function to assign a Job Function or Sub-Function to each Job Title.
  3. Ready to take it to the next level? Many open data lists also include a Priority field so that when you have two keywords you know which is more relevant. Add in a few nested IF functions in Excel, and you’ll have done a pretty good job of populating the Job Function field.
  4. Finally, create a simple pie graph in Excel and share with your coworkers the distribution of your database by Job Function. Listen for the Oooooohs and Ahhhhhhs.
  5. Classify All Your Leads by Job Level to Deliver More Customized Content

Job Level is also an exceptionally important field for just about everything—putting people in the right lead nurturing program, scoring, and personalization. You can follow the exact same process you followed to derive Job Function to segment leads for Job Level. Open source data sets like this one even include common misspellings and abbreviations like “mgr.” Use the Priority field to amaze your peers with how you’re able to properly classify a tricky title with multiple keywords like “Assistant to the Vice President” as an individual contributor, not an executive. Wow!

  1. Dump the Junk

Everybody’s marketing database has some bad records in it. It’s amazing how many databases have the name, “Mickey Mouse,” along with the ever popular first names, “asdf” and “Not Telling.” Since most marketing automation solution providers’ licensing fees are based on record counts, dumping your junk records might save your company enough money for a pretty lavish July 4th team outing. All you have to do is match your records against an open source list of known suspect names. Here’s an open source one to get you started.

  1. Classify All Your Leads by Urban Area to Identify Your Best Territories

Ever find yourself trying to figure out which cities to include in a road show or ever had to make a recommendation about where to hire your company’s next sales rep? You start by looking at where your existing leads are. The State field works fine for reporting on the number of leads you’ve generated in Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., but what about big states like Texas and California? Those parts of the “land of the free and the home of the brave” are pretty darn big. Thanks to the US Census in 2010, there are lists available of every city, state, and urban area, by zip code, from sea to shining sea. You can append Urban Area / Metro Area info to each lead, so you can easily report all the leads in, say, the San Francisco Bay Area without having to research which zip codes, area codes or counties to including in a filter. All you need to do is download a list like this one and compare it with your lead data using the COUNTIF function in Excel. Instantly, you know where all of the pockets of interest are from your demand gen programs.

  1. Enable Direct Mail Campaigns, Especially for ABM, with Validated Address Info

Companies move all the time. Want to kick out all the invalid addresses before you do an expensive mailing campaign? Google My Business provides basic access to their API, and allows you to do 10,000 updates per day to validate businesses, addresses, and phone numbers. The savings can easily pay for picnic baskets for everyone on your team. It’s not open source, but it is free. You can learn more here.

There you have it—five exciting things you can do to celebrate July 4th using free or open data that you have the freedom to use any way you want. If you’re not ready to become an Excel jockey or your data set is too big for Excel, consider using a data orchestration / automation technology that does all this for you, and then some. You can see an online demo of one here. Happy July 4th!