Preemptively setting up data governance practices before a lack of governance becomes a problem is a great thing for any marketing team to achieve, but, like most housekeeping duties, we tend to be more reactive than proactive. That’s because more often than not, it’s easier to recognize a problem you’re facing as the impetus for data governance than it is to predict what may become a problem from the outset. With that in mind, here are a few common situations that may arise for any marketing team that can prompt you to realize it’s time to start thinking about data governance becoming a priority:
When it’s time to improve data quality through standardization:
Pulling regional filters or exclusions in segments feels like pulling teeth because of how many spelling variations and abbreviations for each country have to be included in order to capture all the appropriate contacts.
Lookup tables and the Contact Washing Machine app can both provide some cleanup to your data but with so many different sources it’s hard to ensure these patches you put in place are catching every use case. It’s important to ensure all entry points are being cleaned up in the same manner, but understandably this can be difficult, especially when manual uploads and form submissions are typically routed differently upon entry into the system — not to mention API or SFTP driven data or even CRM integrated data that may rely on GUIDs or IDs that aren’t human-readable and don’t coordinate with form population sources. Setting up a standard process for all entry points is likely your best line of defense against this type of data governance issue.
When it’s time to improve data quality through enrichment:
Finding that lead scoring off of key fields in your instance is returning mostly D’s (on a scale of A-D) due to overwhelmingly high numbers of blank values.
Relying on existing data for Lead Scoring is great if you have enough data to make a contributable difference in your reporting, but oftentimes understanding your limitations is an important part of data governance as well. Factoring in what external sources can provide in terms of enrichment can help with populating blank data and identifying bucketed picklist values that can help with ongoing data management for enriched fields.
When it’s time to improve data quality for the purposes of compliance:
Reporting on suppression counts through a variety of shared filters, shared lists and CDO or contact fields just to identify who is reachable and who needs to be deleted in order for you to stay under your contractual threshold maximums.
Oftentimes, old or unusable contacts can stack up in an Eloqua system silently taking up room until you’re over the contractual limit for your database. The quickest way to get back under is to purge unusable contacts from the system, but it can be difficult to quickly identify who that is when using a variety of methods to suppress contacts. Eloqua of course maintains a global unsubscribe and hard bounceback list through automatic actions, but what about regional compliance factors like CCPA or the EU’s right to be forgotten? What about if you allow contacts to specify the frequency at which they’d like to be emailed? This is often controlled by Shared Lists, not an easily identifiable metric on a Contact or CDO record. All these and more are acting as separate checks inside a system that may be better managed by a single CDO capturing all opt out and preference information for each contact that can be quickly checked at any given moment in time to ensure both ease of use and accuracy.
When it’s time to archive old and unused assets:
Searching for associated assets using a keyword returns hundreds of results instead of a few because so many marketing cycles have re-used the keyword that it’s hardly a “key.”
Establishing a naming convention is an important component of being able to actively search for and find assets with ease, but naming conventions re-use the same key words and a few years in you might find yourself looking at multiple emails all talking about the same thing. How imperative is it to keep that email HTML from 5 years ago? Eloqua reporting only goes as far back as 2 years, so archiving is another essential component of routine asset maintenance. Archiving older assets can declutter your instance, especially within your active folders. Maintaining good naming conventions and folder structures are both crucial at ensuring the best infrastructure is in place to easily support ongoing marketing activities.
When it’s time to document current processes:
A ‘Create Lead’ failure with the integrated CRM prompts a Nancy Drew-like investigation that causes a search through numerous program builders/canvases, update rules, lookup tables and the like in order to find where the fallout happened.
We’ve all been there. You can’t quite figure out what went wrong to cause an integration failure or where it happened so you have to backtrack and follow the record’s path from start to finish, validating it has the required fields populated, that it didn’t get stuck in some kind of infinite loop checking for the same data point over and over again or that it’s not sitting in some forgotten track in an old program that no longer points to an active entry point. Walking through a series of program builders or program canvases trying to find your stuck or fallen out record can be daunting, especially if you’re working blindly without documentation to guide you. Knowing where to start can be incredibly handy and time-saving. Having custom processes well-documented will help jog memory for long enabled “set it and forget it” type of programs as well as providing direction for new hires who may not have the historical knowledge of what and why certain processes were set up. Keeping the overall process in mind and documented is an important part of data governance and can support change management efforts as well by providing a starting point of what’s in place currently.
Data governance initiatives may be primarily reactive rather than proactive but think of it as the monumental spring cleaning we force ourselves to do each year, compared to the daily but incremental housekeeping we all try to maintain in our marketing systems. Huge effort involved, but often hugely needed too. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Well, in marketing lingo that means necessity is often the driver for identifying pain points and subsequent solutions. And data governance can provide the overarching solutions that ensure long-lasting success through continuous data evaluation and management, an established and easily navigable asset structure, and readily understandable documented processes.
If you’re planning for data governance, and need guidance on where to start, Relationship One is always here to help.
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