Category Archives: Data

All about cleaning, updating and using data.

The 5% Data Solution

One field at a time. One day at a time.

That’s how the quality of your database erodes.  It doesn’t go from perfection to garbage overnight, but you can be sure that with every passing day your data quality is degrading, if you’re not doing something to fix it.

Updating information in a database is the marketing equivalent of upgrading your drains.  It’s a boring, expensive job that no one wants to do.  Spending money on lead generation, nurturing, customer events and advertising creates programs that you can directly tie to more revenue and justify your very existance.  But upgrading a database?  Nope. No one wants to spend their budget on that.

But it IS necessary. Your data quality is CRITICAL to deliver ROI (even though it might not be instantly evident). So, how can you make it less painful?

I’d like to propose the 5% Database Maintenance Program.  Conceptually it’s about as simple as it gets.  Tack 5% onto the budget for every single marketing program that is driven off your company database and at the end of the program invest that money into improving the data in the records where problems were found.

If it’s something that you haven’t been doing already,  in the beginning, that 5% will not be enough to fix all the bad records and flawed fields you find.  You’ll need to prioritize your data improvements.  Here are some examples of the types of information you might choose to fix first:

  • Verify that companies are still in business
  • Correct company phone/fax fields
  • Fix email addresses (although I suggest that an email that suddenly starts to bounce back is probably a bigger issue than a bad email address)
  • Verify contact employment
  • Fix address information
  • Update/replace/verify employee names and titles
  • Contact phone numbers – direct lines and extensions
  • Key qualification information – system types/current product sources/fiscal dates/planning cycles

Early on, when there isn’t enough money to complete all the fixes, you’ll probably focus on replacing lost contacts and confirming whether companies are still in business, but if you choose the right partner to do the work with/for you, you can communicate your priorities and over time, bring your data to the standards required to deliver good campaigns.

Drive Leads and Repair Your Database Simultaneously

I see a lot of companies finally starting to dig out of the financial mess we’ve been living in for the last few years and for a lot of them that means finally taking a look at some of the messier details that have been swept under the carpet.  It’s not pretty.

A big casualty has been the quality of many company databases. Mind you, not all of them are bad and many of the bigger, stronger, more technically sophisticated organizations have done a better than decent job of maintaining the quality of their data. But, as is the case with so many different types of programs, there’s a big divide between the haves and the have nots.  And most companies are in the “have not” camp, which only means that they are dealing with a few extra problems – like bad data, not enough staff and an overall shortage of marketing resources (like for example no marketing department at all).

Database clean up has always been a task that sits at the end of a long line of priorities – which is pretty stupid when you consider that most  sales and marketing initiatives use that database. It’s a lot like a home renovation I guess.  Owners are happy to put in new granite counters in the kitchen but hate to have to replace the plumbing.

Title only voice messaging campaigns are a great way to not only kick start your marketing communications programs but also update the quality of your data and they’re simple to run as long as you’re working with a program that allows for human intervention on each of your records.  You can simply set up a priority on your contact attempts. The first attempt goes to the exisiting name ( assuming you have one) and if that fails, designate your second contact to go to that job title.  Build in a mechanism to capture the phonetic name from the voicemail box or from the receptionist (although they aren’t as likely to provide that as they once were) and in a perfect world, put in a third attempt to verifiy the information.  You can verify the information either with another call to the company – strangely enough, the same receptionist who refused to provide you with a name in the first place is usually very helpful when you only need to correct the spelling or you can use a site like LinkedIn to verify the name and title information.  The real beauty of using LinkedIn as a verification source is that there is usually some very handy additional information you can glean.

Where can you go to run a campaign like this?  Try calling Boxpilot.  We can help

A Little Known Service

Boxpilot has the capability to help companies requiring fast database research.  One of the advantages of a large call center geared to delivering messages to businesses is the availability of skilled callers who have abundant experience in reaching out to businesses, verifying and sourcing contact information over the phone and confirming that information with a message delivery.

In fact, the same call center teams can pre-test lists and obtain some of the most basic information using the internet.  You can do that as well of course, utilizing your own in house resources, but the question is can you do it as quickly or affordably? For purposes like major event communications plans with an unknown local component, a  specialized industry focus or even a geographically sorted list of prospects its not unusual to find that the house database gets a little skimpy when you need to dig deep.  Time sensitive opportunities won’t wait the several weeks it usually takes to retask inhouse resources with database building.

So the next time you need something pulled together quickly, you could try talking with  your Boxpilot sales rep.

Just a thought.

Case Study – Reclaiming Names for the Sales Funnel


The marketing group at a leading provider of collaborative business commerce solutions is constantly on the lookout for innovative and efficient ways to add new names to a typically voracious sales funnel.  Like every other business, this team knows that many of the names will fall out of the funnel before they turn into sales They also know that it was becoming increasing difficult and expensive to find new quality names.

The Challenge
A list of several thousand accumulated and previously qualified names offered an excellent opportunity to add contacts to the sales funnel, however the list presented some challenges:

  • The list was a mix of lapsed customers and qualified prospects from several different verticals
  • It was made up of contacts who had failed to respond to several different emails sent in the recent past
  • Given the failure to respond, the accuracy of the contact information was questionable

Further considerations needed to be met in order to create a successful program:

  1. With tens of thousands of names on this list and no assigned budget, final cost was a major consideration.
  2. The offer needed to have value to both lapsed customer and prospect contacts as well as appeal across a range of verticals.
  3. The messaging needed to be tailored to match the specific interests of each group.
  4. Careful message control to meet corporate image and branding requirements was necessary.
  5. Bad data needed to be separated from non-responsive contacts

A discount worth several hundred dollars for a high profile paid event offered the best opportunity to create a response.  The question was how to communicate the offer and meet the following conditions:

  • A unique message was needed for each vertical customer/prospect combination.
  • The creative required a “High Priority” tone.
  • The total program needed to generate enough paid registrations to cover the cost.
  • The maximum timeline for project completion was 30 days

So, what was considered?

  • Email could be customized and was affordable, but had already failed to generate responses from this list.
  • Direct mail offered customized messages, could create an impact and allow for image/branding control, but the cost was prohibitive and the timelines impossible
  • Telemarketing, using in-house resources met cost and message control requirements, but could not be delivered within the necessary timelines.
  • On shore, high quality telemarketing was time and cost prohibitive.
  • Off shore high volume, budget telemarketing would sacrifice control of the quality/consistency of the message delivery and was not judged as likely to deliver revenue neutrality.

Guided Voicemail was selected as it met every necessary requirement

  • A unique voicemail, for each vertical prospect/customer combination was recorded by a high profile company executive to communicate the High Priority of the offer AND allow 100% control of the message content delivery.
  • The short set timelines and relatively high volume capabilities of guided voicemail versus traditional telemarketing/telesales allowed for the delivery of messages to 25K+ contents within two weeks.
  • The complete post campaign reporting offered by Boxpilot, allowed the marketing group to clearly identify and separate bad contact data from unresponsive contacts.
  • The total cost to execute the program could easily be funded with only a minimal response rate.


  1. Paid event registration created a revenue neutral program.
  2. Other responses provided several hundred responses for the sales funnel.
  3. Forty percent of the contact data was demonstrated to be accurate, providing 10,000 contact names for the marketing database for further follow up.  Marketing was also able to avoid any investment against the data that was shown to be incorrect.