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Data Quality Still a Struggle for B2B Marketers

By Jan 28, 2013

Many B2B marketers have serious data quality issues to deal with, particularly when it comes to phone and email contact information, according to new research from NetProspex.

“The issue of managing data is starting to bubble to the surface,” notes Maribeth Ross, vice president of marketing, NetProspex. “Marketing technology has grown leaps and bounds over the last 10-15 years, and we’ve been so busy getting up and running that the management of the actual data has fallen to second priority.”

The B2B Marketing Data Benchmark Report accessed companies on a 5-point data health scale, with 5 being the highest, in four areas: record duplication, record completeness, phone number data and email deliverability. More than half had an overall score below 2.7, putting their data in the category of “risky” or “unreliable.”

“The ability to manage relationships is impaired by bad data,” says Ross, noting that because people change jobs so frequently the average B2B database decays 2% each month. “A quarter of your data is inaccurate in a year, if you don’t have a [data management] system in place.”

The average company database in the study had an email deliverability rate of 72%, meaning 28% of emails went undelivered. Companies in manufacturing scored the highest for email deliverability, with an average score of 88%, while Internet and media had the lowest with 64%.

Over 100 million records were processed in the analysis. Which verticals fared better? Manufacturing fared well in record completeness, as did telecom. Industries that showed lower scores in some categories included energy and utilities.

Companies included in the study varied in size, with revenues ranging from $1 million to over $1 billion. The size of a business didn’t impact results, Ross says. In email, the highest scores came from companies with revenues less than $25 million. The second highest scores were from the largest companies measured.

The report was based not just on data but primary research into the marketers’ practices. “

“The hypothesis around email deliverability is that companies that are growing quickly are growing quickly are in a ‘sell-sell-sell’ mode and may be paying less attention to data hygiene itself,” says Ross. “Small companies have less data to worry about and bigger companies have staffs to tare care of data hygiene.”