Despite the late onset of snow in Toronto, April not only signals the start of spring but spring cleaning. Armed with broom, mop and Windex, I have an almost manic impulse to make sure everything in my apartment is spic and span. This is also the time of year where I apply that same energy to my marketing platform. Just like cleaning this is often a painful and cathartic process. The first thing I always tell myself is this:

Your data will never be perfect.

From incomplete tradeshow lists, CRM user error, to just plain old outdated information – there are just some things that as marketers we cannot control. So what can we do to clean up and keep our database as healthy as possible? Here are three simple ways to help keep your data clean:

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – Let Smart Campaigns Do It For You.

These magical smart campaigns, are like Cinderella’s little birds and mice, they can keep your data clean in the background. You can use them to normalize commonly misspelled values or settle on one variant of a value (eg. which version of United States/USA/U.S. will you have in your country field?)   This also has two nice side benefits: 1. It simplifies filter logic for your active and future programs and 2. You take the frustration away from your CRM users and form fillers – no one wants to scroll through extra long pick lists.

KISS it better – Keep It Short, Stupid.

If you ask for a lot of information to access one infographic, you’ll increase the likelihood of bogus data coming into your database. Keep your form short, and don’t ask for too many required fields. The side effect of this is usually more form submissions, so not only will you get better data, you’ll also get more people that might have been put off by your long form with a lot of required fields. Side Note: You’ll want to test out the ideal number of fields for your organization. In some industries, people are not turned off by long forms with a lot of required fields. So if you ask for 10 fields vs. 3 fields and this doesn’t change the quality of information, or the quantity of forms submissions, go for it!

Fill in the Blanks with Data Enrichment

Sometimes the problem isn’t just dirty data but data with holes. There are a few ways to improve this. If you decided to keep the form fields short, you can use Marketo Progressive Profiling to ask for new information the next time the user submits a form. And if you don’t want to wait for the next form submission, Data Enrichment applications like ReachForce’s SmartForms, can quickly give you more company level data on the way in during form submissions. This is another awesome tool in your cleaning arsenal because you can use the extra data to fill in the blanks or even update the user entered data based on confidence level. Hope these tips help you make your Marketo instance shine! Happy Spring Cleaning! Need help sprucing up your Marketo instance? Learn how data enrichment can boost your inbound strategies.