Data Append Essentials for B2B Companies
The internet and its many users are now slowly getting to understand the power that data has. It has become part and parcel of many marketing plans, campaigns and processes. Information is used a lot today to drive decisions that bring in business. Without good statistics and its accompanying analysis, you aren’t really doing much to augment and pump up your campaigns. It has the ability to give you insights that are just not possible to come by through intuition. Now, with records, there is this thing called decay. It is essentially the bane of its existence. Bad records can cause a lot more damage than no records.
To make sure that your records are capable of giving you insights and are helping you in running smarter and highly targeted campaigns, you need to ensure that it is clean, up to the standard levels of approval and has all the required fields in it. For this, you need a data appending scheme. It is to marketing what aspirin is to a headache. It changes the outlook of the records and allows it to perform at its optimal level.
Good email marketing is a mix of the right type of records along with potent and efficient content. One without the other is useless. The best content WILL NOT convert if you aren’t reaching the right audience. It lets you do the job better, reach the right prospects and handle your campaigns better.
What exactly is it?
Precise targeting, relevant content and timing are essential elements here. With good records, you are able to achieve 2 of these easily. Increasing your engagement rates isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sending emails to the same crowd with better content may or may not see your engagement rates increase. The problem here is that most probably, you are sending it to the wrong person, or even more, to someone that doesn’t even exist!
What are the benefits?
- It reduces marketing cost and improves campaign outcomes.
- Maximizes ROI.
- It creates new opportunities for segmentation and personalization.
- It increases traffic to the website.
- Create a customer friendly value chain.
- Find more prospects worldwide.
It allows you to fill in the gaps. It gives you the right names, email addresses, telephone numbers, locations and demographic information about your current customers and prospects. Isn’t it better to have all of these with you than saying, ah well, let’s see what happens? It opens up a lot of avenues of communication. You are finally able to reach the right person at the right time and all you have to do is make sure your content backs it up.
The basics of extracting and appending
During the process, you can copy records/fields from one ACL or Access Control List table and add them to the end of another ACL table. All existing sort processes of individual fields or tables are maintained exclusively in the resulting combined table. This is the most basic formula that all data managers apply.
After the sorting is done, the final combined data appending table is always considered as unsorted-irrespective of the fact that they may or may not be sorted as the updated file at the end of the target table does not consider the existing sort order of the target table.
This process is usually used while adding files or fields to a larger table. Examples can be such when adding monthly entries into a yearly table. The appended file will retain its initial sort function and you can sort the final table according to your need.
Point to remember
Always remember to never add records into an original file. For this, there is a two stage process. Firstly, create a new target table. In this new table, extract the records from the original file and add it into the new table. Secondly, extract the records from the source table and then you can attach it to the new table.
This is done to preserve the original data appending worksheet. As we all know; issues can crop up at any time.
What you need when extracting and adding
While conducting the routine, it is necessary that your source must meet certain minimum requirements for the operation to be successful. To understand these requirements firstly we need to understand the different types of data appending deliverables. These are by record, by view or by field. They have slightly different requirements.
For complete extraction and appending of records, both the files need to be exactly similar in structure. For any other type, i.e. via fields in a view or a selection of individual fields, the structure of the corresponding fields in the two tables need be identical.
The table below will explain the minimum requirements for extracting and adding missing information.
Extraction and append- by record or by view/fields
The figure below illustrates by record and extracting by views or fields. The first set shows the need for identical structures in the source as well as target tables. The second set shows you only require corresponding fields to have identical structures.
It is possible to extract and add records from server tables and local tables. There are limitations to some, though. When you extract records from a server table, you can add to a table to both a server and a local computer. That is not the same for records extracted from a local table. You can use it to add to a table on a local computer only.
There may be differences in the structure of the information that you have and records that you want it appended to. There is a process of harmonizing the records that most software provides. You can also try to use joining and relating to make sure your elements are identical.
Now that you have a firm understanding of the basic elements, we can now move onto the process, what it needs, how it is done, the various types and the criteria you can use to fulfill this job.
The technical aspect of it
To really understand the process, it is not enough to do the basics of sorting and filing. You need to know how it is done, on a basic level, using the right software. It is complex in its own way and its insight needs to be applied to it to make sure that you are doing it right. You also need the right tools to do a proper process. You may be relying on the help of a vendor to do this; you do need to know what it is they are doing too.
Most appending software allows you to put new records into the columns that exist in the master file, or create completely new columns.
Adding to existing columns
The above chart shows you the basic schematics of how the updated file is attached to the master set. It can also be so that you can create a new subset that contains the appended file. Here the software will add rows to the existing file and all appended records to it.
Adding new records
You can add columns when combining 2 sets. The above records will show up as columns as illustrated above.
A starter Kit
Fully functional and highly business information can be essential in enhancing your results. Most marketers find it difficult to use their records at its highest possible return rate. This is due to decay and churn. You can add required customer information from third party vendors.
There are many reasons why we recommend this process. Albeit the fact that it is a commissioned best practice from the DMA, it has various benefits. While appending, you are enhancing and including new sets to your contact base. Doing this in real time, i.e. by contacting and collecting it directly from your customers and prospects will take you months to years and may or may not be successful.
You can also enhance and improve the quality and the number of fields within your list. This is called firmographics and is also supplied by these third party vendors and compilers. Having good quality records is extremely important for any marketer to reach his customers and prospects.
Here is a table of the minimum number of fields that AMPLIZ does for you.
As far as frequency is concerned, it depends on the usage by the marketing team, the campaign needs and other such factors. There is always a cost aspect to this function as it has to be cost effective to do it regularly.
5 Step Process – What you need to do
Clean in-house records
Adding missing information is not a magical fix for your campaign results. Inaccurate information will show lower join rates. So, you need to clean your in-house records first before you go in for appending. There are some cases where it was not required and just a cleanup does the trick. Following are the standard cleanup procedures:
- a) Run your own in-house hygiene processes and protocols.
- b) If you are using a vendor for your needs, ask them to run their hygiene processes. These can include processes such as NCOA (national change of address), correction of state abbreviations, ZIP Codes and ZIP+4, and so on.
- c) Set up review processes. Computerized processes may lead to the figures getting misquoted. Abbreviations, similar names, duplicates, all these can cause severe issues within records. Standardization is good, but if it isn’t done smartly, it can backfire.
Find your append partner
The process can be a success or a failure depending on the partner you choose. There are many suitable candidates in the business today, ranging from the smaller setups to the large behemoths. Depending on your business needs, you need to create a vendor list.
Here are the questions you need to definitely ask a vendor while considering them.
- Get to know about their capabilities. Some providers may be able to do a lot and some have limitations. Get a list of all the fields that they can add. Make sure your final list of candidates can attach all the fields that you are looking for.
- Confirm the source of their MDB. There shouldn’t be any ambiguity and lack of clarity when it comes to this process. Security and privacy are serious concerns and the credibility of the vendor is important here. Also, ensure that you know the time of collection.
- A sample of their work is required for you to access the strength of their process.
Testing of selected vendors
Every vendor will try to placate you with their performance with past clients. That does not mean it will occur the same with your business. For this reason, you need to run a test with them, using a sample of your own records.
Begin by asking them to run a tag on job on a small part of your own in-house records. The sample size will depend on your choice.
Input the sample with fields you already have accurate information about. This will allow you to do a quality check when you get your updated file back.
No hygiene and de-duplication process need be run on the sample. This allows you to compare, directly from your file to the updated file.
You need to come up with a precise and exact evaluation process to find the right vendor.
- Match rate- it is defined as the number of records identified from your sample appearing in the vendor’s file, divided by the number of records the vendor received from you. A high match rate means the vendor’s file is good.
- Hit rate- it is defined as the number of matched records that have the required fields, available for append, divided by the number of records that matched against the vendor’s database. Hit rates vary widely, depending on the statistical element required. For a common record entry, your match rate may be extremely high, but for more difficult entries, it can come down. So, depending on the statistical element, be flexible about the hit rate expectation.
- Accuracy- records will never be 100% accurate. So, expect it to present and make sure you clearly define your accuracy expectation. To make sure you get clear results, as explained earlier-use the sample which you already have verified information about. It makes it easier to come up with a proper accuracy rate.
- Price- price should always be a part of the consideration process. As it is a highly competitive industry, there will be players who undercut others on the price front. That does not mean you will get good quality. Hence it is important to concern yourself with the first three elements and then move on to the pricing aspect. Pricing can make a lot of difference to your ROI in the long run. It is important to drill it down to per contact price and how much you are willing to spend and what you expect from your campaigns.
Finalize and operate
Data management and marketing is an integral process for B2B companies. Always consider it as so. It shouldn’t be such where you put a lot of effort into the process and you have no time and resources for the rest of the program. Finalizing your partner will require to compile the results of your tests and then include pricing as a sub set.
- No two vendors are the same and their records aren’t unique as well.
- Matching does not mean a success. Only a percentage of the matched files can be updated. Hence it is necessary to draw the line as to what you think is a good match rate.
- It is also necessary to consider the long term options of becoming a partner. Most companies stick to their service providers for a longer time because it is convenient, easy and cost effective.
Contacting and staying in touch with your clients and prospects isn’t an easy job today. Combined with the massive influence of digital media, the job isn’t getting any easier. There are enormous amounts of demographics available that can be used to ensure that you get in touch with them with points that they will be interested in this medium of marketing has come a long way from when it started. Earlier, it was just a handful of contacts and you send out emails to them.
Now it’s a multifaceted approach where you approach them with information they are looking for through various different mediums. This makes it harder, and a lot more interesting. To make things easier, it is the tool you can use to make the most of the information you have. The process by itself won’t get you incredible results. It is the combination of good and high-quality records along with accurate analysis and the potent usage of this information, when deployed in the right place at the right time.
Companies today have experienced amazing results by using database marketing in the right way. Following are the benefits.
Improve your campaigns
It goes without saying that the process allows you to improve and create a lot of opportunities for your campaigns. To make sure you get the right results, you need substantially better records, higher quality of the information available and precise information too. Combining all this and delivering it is email appending.
Get your voice across
A mail delivered is half the battle won. With superb content, comes the need to ensure that these mails are delivered, be it digital or physical. It opens up avenues to enable this. It gives you the right contact information that allows you to get your voice and message across.
Usable records are what everyone needs and this is the best way to ensure that you get them.
No more hesitation
We always consider the efficacy of our list before sending out campaigns. Imagine a time when you are able to connect with your clients and prospects faster and more importantly-at the right time. This improves your brand recall and creates connections that are strong and based upon emotional triggers.
Marketing isn’t mechanical anymore
You need to be able to connect with your prospects on an emotional and human level. With this process, you are more likely to contact them at the right time, such as birthdays and anniversaries than before, which allows you to improve upon your chances of connecting with them.
Email appending is the way to go
Brand ambassadors are not created overnight. You need to cultivate them over a period of time. If you don’t have the right email addresses, the whole process is not going to work out. To make sure this happens, updating missing email address is the best possible solution. It not only gives you email addresses; it also gives you a whole lot more information about your contact information you can use.
All you product launches, offers, and benefits need to reach the right people. This is why a standard email append process needs to be a part of any email marketing campaign.
Niche is the new black
It has been found, from collected and historical information, that targeted and segmented data file is far more effective than the spray and pray method. Find your niche, create and execute campaigns to them and you will get higher response rates than usual. This not only reduces costs but improves overall campaign results.
Your content gets better
Content is an integral part of any marketing campaign. Imagine how much better it will get when you have a substantial amount of information about to whom you are sending out the campaign to, where they are and what they are looking for! It is indeed one of the best and most important benefits.
It deepens your data bandwidth
With the increase in fields, inclusion of more fields and higher volume of contacts, what you get is a better understanding of your target audience. This is absolutely important today, especially in the digital marketing business. It increases your chances of creating more connections, because you know who is looking for what.
One of the biggest effects of bad records is a loss of resources and money. The higher your bounce rate, the lower will be your open rate. This means that you are paying for campaigns that do not give you much in return. This is the most cost effective way to ensure that this doesn’t happen. The added benefits of this are that you get to have a better campaign health, reducing the stress on the infrastructure, eliminating issues with your IP and such other associated factors.
It has slowly moved into the top position of must to activities for database marketing executives. When done well, according to the details we have listed, it can do wonders to your campaign. With the process detailed out here, you now have an edge over others while you go about running it. It is important to know the small intricacies of the process because they can cause massive issues, loss of money and campaign nightmares if you take the wrong step.
It has a massive effect on your campaign results, which in turn as we all know, will have a deep impact on your overall ROI.