How to Clean Up Your Marketing Data in 5 Easy Steps

150 150 Pete Furseth


Everyone keeps talking about data. As a purveyor of data analytics, we can’t help but talk about data. We love clean data! As a marketer, you should love clean data, too. A clean marketing database is key to delivering the right message, to the right people, at the right time.

A recent Gartner study noted, “the annual financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million.” It also highlighted that data about existing and prospective customers remains a top priority for 90% of businesses.
Data Inspection
Here are 5 things you can do today to improve the quality of your marketing data:

  1. Merge Duplicates – Duplicate leads cost you money. They take up room in your marketing database, skew your reporting metrics, and cause you to send duplicate messages to the same lead. In addition, each lead record might have different information, so merging them helps you gain a better image of your potential customer. Most marketing automation platforms have a tool that will help you identify possible duplicate leads. You should take advantage of this. Once a month you should go through your lead database and merge duplicates. If you schedule this as a routine task, you will not find yourself staring down the barrel of an unmanageable list of dupes. References for your marketing automation platform: Eloqua, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, and Marketo.
  2. Remove Inactive Leads – Inactive leads have a similar effect as duplicates, they take up space and skew your metrics. If a lead has not engaged with you, or they have unsubscribed, it is time to consider removing them. You can use marketing automation to help with this. You can set up a campaign (or program) that identifies all leads that have not engaged for some reasonable amount of time. The time depends on the length of your lead lifecycle. It could be as low as 90 days or up to 18 months. An effective campaign would identify leads to remove by following this type of logic: Leads that have not:
    • been identified as a customer
    • been passed to sales
    • been created in the last 12 months
    • visited your web page in the past 12 months
    • filled out a form in the past 12 months
    • registered or attended a webinar
    • open, clicked, or forwarded one of your emails in the past 12 months
  3. Clean Up Your Folders – If you have a mess of folders and random lists and campaign names it is time to sit down and clean them up. If you are the only person who knows how to find campaigns in your folder structure, then you are doing yourself a disservice. Your folder structure and campaign naming convention should be understandable to anyone in your organization. We recommend between five and seven folders at the root level. This typically includes one folder for operational campaigns (scoring, data management, etc.) and one folder for test or training campaigns. As for the campaign names, we suggest adding the date the campaign started, the type of campaign (email, landing page, webinar, etc.), and a short description of the content. For example, “20170310_Blog_Clean_Up_Marketing_Data.”
  4. Consolidate State and Vertical – One of the biggest offenders of data hygiene is the state and vertical fields. We have probably seen the state of Texas represented 25 different ways in marketing databases. The same is true for vertical. Both of these fields are useful for customer segmentation, so cleaning them up will help ensure you are delivering the right message to the right person. Marketing automation can help here, too. You can easily set up a campaign that maps all combinations of a state back to a value you can use. For example, you can identify all leads that have the State field equal to “TX”, “Texas”, “texas”, “tx”, “Tx”, “tX”, “teXas”, etc. and write their state field as “TX”.
  5. Remove Unused Fields – If there are data fields that you are not using, you should remove them. If you have data fields that you are using, but all records have the same value, you should remove those too. Finally, if you have the same information represented in multiple fields, one of them is a prime candidate for deletion. Although your marketing database doesn’t charge you extra money for extra fields, it is still costing you time. When you pull reports or are trying to analyze your data, you can easily get distracted by fields that add little to no value. This is especially true if you have the same data represented in multiple columns. You should field that has the truth data.

A clean marketing database will save you time and money. It will help you deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time. These five steps are a good way to get started cleaning up your database. If you would like more information or would like to know how ORM Technologies can help you clean up your marketing database, send us a note at