The Business Value of Marketing Data Management and the Google Car

By: Sean Crowley, Director of Product & Customer Marketing for D&B NetProspex

I could talk about the demand generation waterfall (and I will), or I could talk about how it takes far fewer of the right targets to generate a new customer vs. lots of the wrong targets to explain the business value of marketing data management. But I want to start with the Google Driverless Car.

I’m kind of fascinated by the idea – it’s the stuff of every major futuristic sci-fi movie I grew up with – cars that drive themselves. Get in the car, give it a destination, and then sit back and read the paper (on your tablet no less). There are all kinds of technologies interacting to actually make this happen – and it is happening: Google announced that its driverless cars have logged more than 700,000 miles accident-free driving the roads of California and Nevada. Pretty cool stuff, eh?

But what is one of the biggest roadblocks (excuse the pun) to wider adoption? You could cite the cost factor – these cars are equipped with $150,000 worth of lasers and guidance computers. However, the Google team spearheading this initiative cited that wider adoption of these vehicles is prohibited by the accuracy of their data – mapping data to be exact. Also, the cars cannot recognize subtle social cues we give one another while driving (I’m not talking just about a Bostonian’s habit of “flipping the bird” as they don’t yield to existing traffic on a rotary, but the more helpful eye contact, or waving someone into a line of traffic, etc. ).


And there it is – it always boils down to the accuracy of the data. And for marketers especially, how do we use that data to interpret behaviors (buying signals) from those we interact with during a buyer’s journey. Those businesses that cultivate good quality data on their customers and prospects can more effectively map out a route that not only allows them to target the right individuals, but can also lead their best prospects to their products and services faster than their competitors. To put it simply, business value of smarter marketing data is that it generates customers and revenue faster.

So what if I buried the lead.

Data is the greatest asset for marketers. Without it, they might as well be behind the wheel of a Google Driverless car that confuses Park Avenue with Park St., or one that doesn’t have zip codes for certain counties.  If you blindly accept that your data is good, you may very well end up arriving at the wrong location. Yet, that is exactly what is happening today: many marketers are blind to the fact that they’re suffering from data quality issues. According to NetProspex’s latest B2B Marketing Data Benchmark Report, 88 percent of recordsanalyzed were missing basic firmographic data – industry, company revenue, and number of employees – and 64 percent were missing a phone number. How do you expect to arrive at a sale to a new customer if you can’t even find or contact them?

When an organization’s marketing database is muddied with inaccurate, missing, or duplicate contact records it can present challenges at all stages of the marketing and sales funnel: including lower response rates due to misdirected offers, decreased engagement in your  nurturing programs due to broad-brush targeting; poorly executed content personalization; and less effective lead scoring models that route low-quality leads to sales. Oh, and you can forget about automated marketing.

If the proverbial light bulb above your head has yet to turn on, let me spell it out for you. Marketing data management provides a higher return on investment for your hard-won marketing data by eliminating invalid data, appending contact details, and verifying connectability and deliverability. What’s more, with more complete and accurate contact records, marketers can better segment audiences and deliver more relevant messaging to prospects—the “Holy Grail” for marketers.  In fact, companies that regularly maintain their database realize 66 percent higher conversions to revenue compared to those that don’t.

So, if the goal for your sales and marketing teams is to identify the right locations to deliver your messages, and then quickly convey those people to the right destination – i.e. a new business relationship with your company – you need accurate data to make that journey as quick, efficient, and as profitable as possible.  So invest in the quality of your data and give yourself a clear roadway to revenue.


This article originally appeared on the NetPerspectives blog and was reposted to the Mad Marketers with the author’s permission.