Penrod Blog

Bad Data, Bad Cocktail: Why Good Marketing Automation Starts with Data

Ever make a cocktail? Was it good? If it was, it probably started with the right ingredients. This is why you need good data, a connector, and proper data flow to make the perfect marketing automation cocktail.

In this post, we'll discuss:

Why good marketing automation starts with data
How to clean up bad data
How to ensure good data flow

In order to create the perfect cocktail, you need to start with the right ingredients. The same goes for effective marketing automation. After all, a tumbler alone doesn’t make straight whiskey a cocktail, just like scheduling an email doesn’t make it marketing automation. It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not everything it could be.

When it comes to automating marketing programs with Salesforce and Pardot, there are three main ingredients you need to make the cocktail delicious – accurate data, a connector, and proper data flow.

Good Data

A good cocktail starts with quality ingredients, and effective marketing automation starts with good data. This entails all aspects of data collection, storage, and interpretation. The secret sauce of marketing automation is in the data, not necessarily the tool (although it helps to have a quality one, like Pardot). To be blunt, if your data is shit, your campaigns will take a hit.

Here are just a couple of the potential problems caused by bad data:

Increased cost
If you’re billed based on the size of your database, why would you pay to keep disqualified prospects in it? Export those low-quality prospects from your database to ensure you have an archive, then delete or mark them as "do not email" (DNE). Alternatively, you can send a permission pass email that will allow members (if they’re interested in your content) to opt-in. In Pardot, you can either use forms or customer redirects followed up by an automation rule to accomplish this.

Inaccurate email statistics
Blindly blasting a bloated database only ensures that your deliverability, open, and click-through rates will be skewed significantly lower. This makes interpreting your email reports much more difficult.

Spam Flags
If you’re blasting people who have no interest in your product, you’ll have a greater risk that they’ll flag you as spam. This can lower your sending reputation, leading to compromised deliverability to your quality prospects.

Poor Personalization, No Segmentation
Let’s face it – inaccurate data can lead to some pretty hilarious, but ultimately costly errors. Maybe you want to personalize your email by starting it with your customer’s first name. So, if you have good data, it might read, “Hi, Person”. But if your data isn’t consistent, it could read, “Hi, PERSON”, AND THEN PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE YELLING AT THEM.

Perhaps you’d like to segment your customers by who their sales rep is, which means you’ll need to know where they live. In order to know where they live, you will have needed to ask them for that information prior, perhaps on a form on your website. If you don’t have the data, you won’t be able to segment on it.

Good Data Flow

In order for Pardot to function properly, the data needs to be flowing correctly between Salesforce and Pardot, and vice versa. There are different ways you can manipulate the connector to make it work for your business needs. You can customize the connector settings to manipulate the data if you need to be more HIPAA compliant.

  • If you have certain record types that you don’t want to be flowing into Pardot due to PHI data, simply block the “Pardot Connector User” from being able to see this data.
  • Pardot has the option to turn on a bi-directional sync between Salesforce and Pardot, meaning any new leads or contacts created in Salesforce will automatically be created as a new prospect in Pardot. If you’d prefer prospects only be created in Pardot, then you have the option to turn this off.
  • Once you have the connector turned on, you won’t see much data flowing into Pardot. You will need to do an initial import for all of your Salesforce records that you want in Pardot. Once this initial import is done, then the data will sync.

Additionally, you also need to understand exactly how your data flows and syncs between the two systems. If you are a visual learner, there are two diagrams here to give you a visual representation of what happens between Pardot and Salesforce behind the scenes.

  • If a prospect in Pardot has a blue cloud next to their name, that means they are also a record in Salesforce. If not, they are a prospect that has the opportunity to be converted to a Lead in Salesforce.
  • Depending on the field, there are three different options of when and how data can be updated. The data could be “owned” by Salesforce, Pardot, or whichever is most recently updated. Understanding this for each field will be helpful in knowing how your data is being updated, and what the source of truth is.
  • You might have fields in Salesforce that you don’t initially see in Pardot. This might be because they are considered custom fields in Pardot. You will still be able to connect and sync these fields together, but they’ll have to be manually added.

All of this information comes together to give you the ability to automate your marketing efforts. This will mean that you will need to put in the work up front in order to get what you want out of it. But hey, as long as you can deliver a delicious cocktail in the end, does it really matter how long it took you? If you are able to replicate that cocktail over and over again to produce the same delicious nectar at the snap of your finger, it’s worth it.

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