Email Deliverability and Data Quality

Email deliverabilty and data quality are paramount for any successful Demand Generation Strategy. However, they are topics many marketers struggle with. Last week at the Atlanta Eloqua User Group Meeting, email deliverablity and privacy expert, Chris Arrendale of InboxPros, shared his knowledge on deliverability and privacy essentials. The event also included presentations from Oracle Marketing Cloud Marketing Advisor Melissa McConnell on data quality management strategies and Verint Senior Marketing Manager Kathrine Hogrefe on blind form submits.

Email deliverability is one of those things that you can never know too much about and Arrendale knows more than enough and loves to share. He discussed email deliverability, filtering, bounces, complaints, spam traps, list management, shared vs. dedicated IP, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, sending volumes and signals. Phew, that was a lot. The majority of the questions post-presentation were about list management and the best free tools to manage your deliverability.

List management isn’t simple. When is it okay and when is it not to rent a list? Often times your sales or marketing team will pressure you to purchase a list. The advice Chris gave the group was that if you have to purchase a list, he recommended sending 10% of the list over a 30 day span and then evaluate the engagement post-send. If you have high engagement, then send another 10% of the list. If not, ditch it. So for example, if you purchase a list of 10,000, just send an email to 1,000 of the list over 30 days and see how it performs. Never drop that 10,000 into a campaign without validating the list. Poor performance can impact your deliverability rates and have larger implications in regards to privacy and CAN-SPAM violations if you are not compliant.

The other great takeaway from the meeting was learning about two free tools you can use to manage your deliverability rates. The first one is Gmail Postmaster Tools, which provides sender rates on a day-to-day basis, delivery errors, IP and domain reputation, spam rates, authentication, encryption, and delivery errors. The second, Microsoft Smart Network Data Services (SNDS), gives you the data you need to understand and improve your reputation at Microsoft (Hotmail, Outlook, MSN, and Live). Data from SNDS includes filtering color, complaint rate, and spam trap hits (which is very important to know).

Melissa’s presentation on data quality was also very valuable many clients deal with the quality of their data. As we see all too often, “poor data quality can cost companies 15% to 25% (or more) of their operating budget,” said Larry English, founder of Information Impact International and developer of the Total Information quality Management (TIQM) methodology. Lost opportunities, a fragmented customer experience, and discontinued relationships are a stake if your data quality is poor.

So how do we improve it? Melissa gave us a very simple approach to start with better data quality. Once that is in place, you will see improved marketing and sales conversions and then with time, increased revenue. Now we all know that’s big picture, but the detail consists of five steps to data quality.

Data quality mgmtOnce your five steps are complete, you can start your data maintenance strategy. The foundation consists of designating one person or a group of people to be the primary data owner(s) and documenting your data flow (various systems and databases visually represented and how they’re related). Next is defining buyer personas, creating a data dictionary (or what ANNUITAS refers to as a Field Mapping document), defining your data import process, data cleansing process, and finally, creating data dashboards to allow you to quickly and easily identify data issues.

These five steps reflect the need to have data-driven marketing organization and a well-defined process. Delivering the right message at the right time, via the right channel is key to optimal email deliverabilty. However, understanding the basics of email deliverablity and data quality will improve your overall marketing engagement. No to mention, ensure you are compliant and adhering to data governance best practices.

Author: Leah Brenner @LeahRBrenner Marketing Automation Technology Architect, ANNUITAS