It's your biggest time of the year. The super bowl for your industry. And you and your team are running on all cylinders. Your ad agency came up with a killer campaign and you're ready to deliver it to customers and prospects to drive them back to your site, your store, or your call center to make that purchase. 

You ready your best "Take it away!" scream to give the green light and get this show on the road! Now it's time to sit back, wait, and watch them all roll in to get your latest widget!

So, you wait. And wait.

Why isn't anyone coming? You've delivered the greatest campaign you and your team has ever come up with. Where is everyone? You turn to your team to find out what's going on. They toss, they turn, they dig.

Then the light bulb goes off: No one checked the data. 

You had that list pulled from your demand gen team over a month ago. But they've had massive turnover and your data specialist left over 6 months ago. Your CRM data hasn’t been refreshed since. Your message was delivered successfully to only 20 percent of that list. The other 80 percent have no idea about your latest and greatest widget. And they likely never will. 

All of this could have been prevented if only you had the proper systems in place to ensure you had the correct and most current data—automatically. 

Smart companies know how. It all boils down to identity.

Targeting Alone Has Its Limits

As marketers, we spend millions of dollars to reach prospects and turn them into customers. Whether it’s through online advertising, direct mail, or email blasts, we’re constantly trying to reach our target audiences.

But do we have the right steps in place to capture the correct data on these coveted audiences? And are we ensuring that the data we collect is current? And what do we do once we’ve collected it? How will we know we’ve correctly identified the particular individual?

Questions like these highlight why it’s so important for us to identify customers and prospects as best we can the moment they show interest in our product or services or company as a whole. Not doing this will not only result in wasted spend but can also hinder our messages from getting to our intended targets.

The real question is: Why is it so hard to identify customers and prospects? The reason is change. Thousands of people every day change their phone numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses… and even their names! To keep up with these constant changes, you need to make sure you have the right tools in place to track and capture them. This is why it’s imperative for your CRM data to be of the highest quality. And that means having high quality identity data. Here are two steps to getting there:

Step 1: Identify and Verify. Once you capture identifying data, you need to ensure that it’s relevant and correct. Bad data can have you spinning your wheels, wasting time and money on marketing that will never reach the intended recipient. Name, phone number, mailing address, email address—it’s all information you should be capturing and then verifying its authenticity.  This is also the first step in helping you create the right profile for your customer so that later on you’ll be able to deliver targeted and personalized messages and offers. Is Jimmy Shoes really at 215 Mockingbird Lane? Or is he at 45 Third Street? You need to ensure you have the right steps in place to identify and verify exactly where he is, before entering it into your database.

Step 2: Cleanse and Append. Next, you need to ensure that your CRM database is up to snuff and complete. That means you have to cleanse and append: Purge the bad data and replace it with correct information. This includes adding additional information to your database that you might not have had before. For instance, you may have had Mary Smith’s address, but you did not have her phone number until now.

Working with an information and analytics company such as Neustar can help you integrate robust solutions into your CRM system to ensure that your data is of the highest quality. Capturing the information is half the battle. It’s what you do with that information that makes the magic happen. Whether you’re verifying that it’s valid and complete or you’re appending additional data, you need a partner who can make your data authoritative.

To illustrate, let’s walk through an example. Say I’ve recently moved to New York from Virginia and I call the local cable provider to set up TV service in my new home. Because I call in using my cell phone, the number captured has a Virginia area code. Naturally, an uninformed customer service rep would be caught off guard on seeing that number come across.

But with a powerful solution in place that can identify who I am at the time of my call, the service rep could verify and match that information to me as soon as I enter the queue. The solution would also provide any other available and current information that could be associated with me through my phone number. In effect, the service rep would instantly know that though my call originated from a Virginia number, I recently moved to New York, because my new address is now being associated with that phone number.

This is just one example of numerous every-day real-life situations. Whether you’re sending out a direct mail piece or an email, or someone is visiting your web site, your message will only reach its intended recipient if you know who that party is. The key that holds all of this together is having identity data that’s correct, complete, and current—data that’s authoritative.

Authoritative Data Streamlines Your Marketing

Finding a solution to augment your data, which integrates with your marketing automation platform can make it much easier to ensure you have authoritative data. A data tool that integrates into your marketing activities will help improve your lead data management by cleansing customer and prospect data in real time by verifying contact information and scoring prospect data.

For Marketo customers in particular, Neustar’s partnership with Marketo makes it easier for you to integrate our authoritative data into your activities to help improve your lead data management. With Neustar Lead Intelligence, Marketo customers are able to cleanse customer and prospect data in real time by verifying contact information and scoring prospect data. And with that, you’ll connect with many more of the prospects you’re bringing to your door through all of your marketing efforts.

As you’re planning your next campaign, take a step back from the creative. Think about the data. Consider how much better your campaign could perform if your data were the best it could be. Because then you’ll know your message will be received…and that kind of assurance is priceless!