Zeta Global, Author at Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Fri, 18 Mar 2022 19:35:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.2 CRM data is messy, but it can clean itself up /crm-data-is-messy-but-it-can-clean-itself-up-382794 Wed, 23 Mar 2022 11:00:53 +0000 /?p=382794 Different strategies for data hygiene

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Lately, there has been a fair number of headlines advocating for cleaner CRM data. It’s true that more flawless CRM data leads to successful personalization marketing. And while most would agree on why you should clean your CRM data, there are divergent views on the how. 

Too many of the articles recommend batch cleansing and periodic hygiene practices. But let’s be real. CRM data is and always will be messy. It’s a lot like your teenage son’s bedroom—you can clean that room from baseboards to the ceiling once a month, once a week, even once a day. The only sure thing is that it will be dirty again, and soon.

Flawless CRM data can’t be achieved by cleaning up database tables through one-time processes, no matter how many of those processes you employ, or how frequently. It can only be achieved by enforcing rigor in a system of record with integrated, repeatable, ongoing data services. Let’s discuss the characteristics that make up a reliable system of record, and why it’s a more effective path to ongoing efficiency and accuracy of CRM data.

Actionable data requires rigor

According to one article, “Getting rid of duplicate data values is the beginning of the cleanup process.” However, that is shortsighted. New customer data is onboarded all the time, which means deleting and merging duplicate data should be a constant value whenever new data is being integrated.  It’s one of the primary drivers when companies consider adding a customer data platform (CDP)—centralizing customer data and automating the rigorous requirements associated with data unification and hygiene. You want your customer data to be accurate and actionable at any given moment, not just the day after your last merge process. 

As an example, let’s imagine you are a women’s beauty retailer offering e-commerce sales as well as storefront locations. If you have customers who purchase online and in-store, they could appear as multiple individuals in your database, depending on how the data is collected. Unifying data across devices and locations ensures a better understanding of customer behavior, and regularly refreshing that data enables you to message based on their most recent purchases—as opposed to a purchase from last week or month when the data was last refreshed.

The most valuable data is data in motion

Most of the CRM data referenced in the article would be characterized as “data at rest” or PII (personal identifiable information) data. PII data is directly associated with a consumer and doesn’t change frequently (e.g., an email address, personal demographics), but when it does the data becomes unusable. The most valuable data in marketing activities isn’t necessarily PII data. It’s data in motion or non-PII data—constantly evolving and profiled in real-time. This can be transactional data, purchase behavior, content consumption and geo-location data. When it comes to understanding customer behavior and intent, non-PII data generates the most accurate signals to determine the next best action for marketers. 

Only a comprehensive system of record like a CDP can safely and effectively graph non-PII data against existing PII records for use in real-time. It’s also necessary if you want to move forward from baseline hygiene and enrich your CRM data with non-PII data that enables you to understand customer interest and intent. Let’s go back to our example. Your beauty brand may have reliable customer data related to purchases made online and in-store, but you don’t know about recent purchases from other beauty brands, or if a customer has also been searching content from other make-up brands or researching hair care products. Data enrichment can help you further tailor marketing content with deeper and more meaningful personalization.

Bridge the gap from data to opportunities

The nature of non-PII data and the complexity of linking it in real-time to a consumer’s profile is why CRM data is and always will be messy. We can’t change how data is generated, in fact, what’s happening most often is we’re creating more devices and customer engagement strategies that in turn generate even more customer data and well, you get the picture. Bringing it back to our teenager example, he’ll continue to accumulate dirty clothes every day. The most efficient solution? Teach him to do his own laundry. You can do the same with your data.

Maintaining the quality and accuracy of CRM data is important, but it is a baseline requirement when it comes to your marketing efforts. Consumer expectations are high when it comes to personalized marketing and the recommendations they receive from your brand. The ability to identify your customers across channels and devices will require highly reliable, real-time insights—insights that can also reveal opportunities to engage through sophisticated AI. This is what the future of customer data management looks like, and why marketers should be focusing their technology conversations on the next generation of data platforms.

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Big data gives way to more flexibility /big-data-gives-way-to-more-flexibility-378278 Wed, 12 Jan 2022 12:00:03 +0000 /?p=378278 More data is only half the battle as marketers recognize the importance of usability at scale.

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The customer always comes first. This proverbial adage has been used countless times. Yet, it remains just as important today as before. Consumers continue to shift to digital-first lifestyles at unprecedented rates. In order to get in front of these audiences, brands began to realize that they needed to show they cared. That consumers deserved one-to-one experiences based on their own interests. They deserved individualization.  

The solution to this seemed simple. More data. The bigger the better. While the power and scalability of this Big Data was undeniable in terms of interacting with consumers, it also presented previously unforeseen issues like accessibility and actionability. With all this new data, how would a brand orchestrate and track touchpoints across solutions in order to form actionable insights and generate tangible revenue? The power is there, but harnessing it was still an unknown.  

The Big Data dilemma 

The acceleration to a digital-first culture has certainly increased our ability to be agile. But in this pursuit, we’ve also cultivated complexity. Multiple project management apps, an email vendor, landing page host, direct mail solution, the list goes on. Today, marketing teams work with dozens of different tools to make their lives easier. But as each solution is adopted, the tech web becomes harder to navigate. The data is at our fingertips, but it’s at the expense of cleanliness and effective orchestration between the different systems.  

For many, the problem lies in having too many apps—as many CTOs will tell you. But, if that were the case, things like your smartphone and your laptop would be nearly impossible to navigate. The real issue lies in the connectivity between the marketing tools that brands are using. Personalizing messages and marketing outreach across a consumer’s path to conversion is hard enough. But it’s exponentially compounded when tools, solutions, and data are not in conversation with each other. The goal should not be to shed weight but to create one integrated, dynamic, and accessible view of customer data.  

This desire for better and more actionable insights has led to the emergence of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), which aim to unify customer and prospect data in one ecosystem. It provides a singular “data vault” to simplify how we reach customers, but it doesn’t solve all issues completely. The next step is to take this data and put it to work. To make it accessible and actionable. To use it to inform more calculated business decisions and craft more individualized marketing campaigns.  

Big Data should flow 

Agglomerating data is a big step. So big, in fact, that many marketers stop here. But this is only half the battle. At this stage, the data is essentially a black box, only seen or understood by a few. In order to unlock its true power, it’s important to make the data accessible and actionable everywhere. Unlocking this data not only makes it easier for teams to share, collaborate, and act on insights it also demystifies the process. This helps marketers learn to ask the right questions when figuring out how to optimize their efforts.  

To achieve this, it’s important to work with a partner that can play well with the systems that are already in place. If the CDP isn’t able to recognize current solutions being used, then all of the benefits and effectively the point of a CDP are lost. The aim of the CDP is to scale and improve upon what internal teams are already doing while providing them with a uniform look at all customer data.  

How to unlock the value of your data 

We’ve discussed some issues that can arise from Big Data and why it’s important nonetheless. With that in mind, here are a few ways that marketers can use current marketing technologies and strategies in order to make the most of their data.  

Ensure low- or no-code functionality 

One of the more grueling aspects of data management is just that: the management itself. Exporting and importing data, creating charts, pulling specific accounts. It can be daunting. Work with tooling that enables marketers to drag, drop, and autofill many of these elements to empower them to dig into the data more readily.   

Pair first-party data with intent

Both first-party and third-party data can effectively engage and convert target audiences. But relying on one data set over the other would be a mistake. First-party data is an amazing way to find insights about the products or services consumers are most interested in once they come to your site, but it doesn’t extend much beyond that. Enrich your first-party data with third-party to get more insights into consumers’ overall online behaviors, actions, and interests.  

Invest in cookie-less identity resolution practices

The deprecation of cookies isn’t quite here yet, but it’s an inevitability with Apple and Google’s announcements last year. Because of this, it’s important for marketers to develop a multifaceted approach to identify and engage with customers across all marketing channels and in each stage of the sales funnel. The most powerful way to do this is to continuously and automatically enhance your first-party data with rich, third-party data that tells you how consumer attitudes are shifting in real-time.   

Don’t separate learnings from action

In other words, don’t make things too complicated. CDPs are great at connecting data, but the next step is to get it into the hands of those who will actually be using it. Analytics tools are great for those who delve into them on a daily basis. But the real power comes from taking the data collected within the CDP and making it accessible to all users in a network through the apps and tools that they use most.  


Data can and should be a great democratizer for marketing teams. Too often, marketers feel that data is inaccessible or confusing. As the shift to digital continues to intensify, a shift also needs to happen within marketing teams. Marketing automation and insights tools can work to “open the curtain” on the truth that the data are actually revealing. With this accessibility, insights can be obtained in a quick and independent way, enabling marketers to pivot and optimize more effectively than ever before. 

To read more about this topic, you can download The Business Case for Data Usability, written by Zeta.

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