Standardization – Keep it Consistent

This is the second post on marketing best practices, some of which you may not think impact your overall marketing effectiveness, like deleting old contacts, but they do in a big way. Standardization is one of those areas that can make or break any marketing program and impact an organization long-term if not done correctly. Without standardization of fields, metrics, data and processes, reporting will be skewed, integration of the technology stack will prove challenging, and too many manual processes will be necessary to understand performance, if it’s even possible

shutterstock_19765420Where to start? Focus on building the basics listed here and then go from there:

Perfect your reporting:
When you have clean, normalized data in your fields, not only is it easier to pivot data (utilize data in various ways) but it’s also easier to show results from programs and attribute them to specific tactics. Marketing will be able to show hard numbers for their efforts if there’s adoption around standard values across the organization. Think about what data you need to have to measure results and build a robust database, and then work backwards to ensure consistency across the organization.

If data fields aren’t consistent across the organization, there is a chance that vital customer or prospect data will be lost or disregarded, and may cause an opportunity to be missed according to a recent article in MarketingLand. This leads me to my next point that standardization will create happy reporting across all your technology systems.

Optimize integrations across the Marketing Technology Stack:
Long gone are the days of the simple technology stack consisting of a marketing automation platform, one CRM system and a few other technologies sprinkled in. There are apps and platforms for just about everything that promise to make your work a little bit easier, a little faster and a lot better. No matter where your ‘one true source’ of data lives, it’s in your best interest to be collecting information in a standard format across your Marketing Technology Stack.

Update progressive profiling fields often and ensure your lead sources and tracking fields are consistent across the organization (marketing, sales, support, customer success, accounting, and others).  All of these impact reporting and will save manual cleanup time by standardizing.

Remove manual processes:
There’s no winner when you have a large database full of dirty data. Data clean up may keep your summer intern busy, but there are better things for an intern to do. Standardization removes a bulk of manual process around any data uploads, cross platform data, and the weekly/monthly/or quarterly cleanup done before formal reporting. It not only saves time, but also reduces the margin of error due to complexity across systems and departments.

The topics of clean data and standardization aren’t sexy, but are an essential part of any marketing best practices that impact results. These tasks aren’t easy, can be time-consuming and tedious, especially when coordinating across multiple team, brands, business segments, or global strategies. However, once done properly and strategically with an eye on ways to utilize the data for optimization (cross-sell, up-sell, customer retention or new product launch), it’s worth it. The only data that matters is actionable data and if it is not standardized, it’s not truly actionable on a large scale.

Author: Kathleen Hoehn @KathleenHoehn Marketing Automation Consultant, Eloqua practice, ANNUITAS