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Marketing Automation, MarTech Planning & Optimization, Revenue Marketing Optimization

From Dirty Data to Gold: How to Audit Your Database

It’s no secret among Marketers that having a clean database is important, but how important is it? Think of it this way: if your marketing automation programs were the engine in charge of achieving your marketing objectives, your database would be your fuel. Having a clean list of people is essential to all of your marketing efforts within your instance, so it’s important to keep it top of mind.

You may be thinking, ‘what measures should I take to clean up my database and how will it be able to stay clean moving forward?’. Read on to find out.

The Dirty Truth About Dirty Data

According to SiriusDecisions, an average of $100 annually is spent on maintaining and marketing to a record in both the MAP and CRM. And while an organization’s data grows 40% each year, 20% of the average database is dirty.


So let’s say you have 500,000 records in your database. If you take a conservative number, say only 5% of your database is ‘dirty’, you could be spending $2.5M a year on maintaining and marketing to those folks. That’s a lot of valuable marketing dollars that would be better spent elsewhere. This is a problem that marketers can’t afford to ignore.

If you’re ready to clean up your database, consider these practical steps to help clean, enhance, and maintain your data:

Phase 1 – Discovery

Take a look into your database and find out what kind of problems you are dealing with. What does your data look like? Are there any gaps or inconsistencies? Take notes on these. This will be the basis for your game plan. Establish some good baseline stats about your database in this phase. You’ll want them later for Phase 4 when you want to measure your progress. Start with the big numbers, like number or percentage of marketable vs unmarketable records. Then think of the other trouble areas such as key field completion or non-standard values.

Phase 2 – Devise Your Game Plan

You should now have a good understanding as to what is ailing your database and the source of your data’s problems. After gaining more insights about your current situation, come up with a series of actions that will help solve those problems, and move the project forward.

Phase 3 – Execute the Game Plan

Complete all the necessary action items in your game plan. Take a step-by-step approach to correcting issues. It can be a painstaking process, but it will be worth it in the end. This will uncover key areas for optimization and improvement along the way.

Phase 4 – Measure

Remember those baseline stats from Phase 1? Here’s where they will come in handy. Look back to your benchmarks and compare them to what they were before. How far have you come? What changed? What attributed to those changes? Were those changes successful? If they weren’t, go back to your game plan and see if there was anything to be changed or added.

Phase 5 – Monitor

Look at that! Your database seems to be cleaned up and ready to go. But because your database is so dynamic, it’s essential to keep an eye on things, and put additional preventative measures in place to keep it clean. Develop alerts and monitoring reports in Marketo that can identify problems as they develop and prevent them from having a downstream impact. Find management tools that integrate with Marketo or your CRM to monitor and maintain these new changes. A tool such as RingLead can prevent duplicates, or a tool such as DiscoverOrg can enrich your data.

Conducting Your Very Own Database Audit

We’ve outlined for key aspects of a successful database audit. Your data audit and governance plan should:

  • Take a deep dive into the health of your database. Find any sources for problems within your database: bounces, invalid emails, marketable vs. unmarketable people, chronic non-responders, data inconsistencies, fields that need standard values (i.e. country), incomplete fields.
  • Improve the marketability of your database. Ensure you have cleaned out hard bounces, and “wake the dead” so that unresponsive people are now engaging with you.
  • Uncover opportunities to enhance and enrich data. This includes processes like normalization, enriching, or de-duping people.
  • Build and deploy monitoring to maintain data quality. Deploy regular alerts and monitoring systems within Marketo to prevent future problems.

Outcomes of a Successful Database Audit

An article from Capterra illustrates that by conducting a successful database audit, your organization will achieve the ABCs of data auditing. This means that Accuracy, Breadth, and Consistency are acting as the founding principles of your improved database.

If you don’t want to add a database clean-up to your to-do list, let us jump in. We can help you save on costs by uncovering the gold stashed away right inside your database and make recommendations for purging old, stale records taking up valuable space in your database.

As one of Marketo’s top partners, Demand Spring has deep platform knowledge and experience. As an integrated Revenue Marketing Consultancy, we take a holistic approach, providing innovative strategy advisory to drive pipeline and revenue results fast. If you have any questions about auditing your database, or if you just want to chat marketing automation, reach out to me and I would be happy to help!

Kris Latulippe

Director, Marketing Technology Practice

As a Marketo Certified Expert, Kris brings a unique mix of marketing automation and operations expertise to every client engagement.

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