No one likes dealing with Company and Contact data in Excel. Engineers don't. Analysts don't. And your campaign managers definitely don't. Why everyone hates this is a complex subject, so let's dissect it.
Company and contact data is extremely complicated.
There is a tremendous amount of information to consider when you're building audiences to target with your marketing campaigns. It starts with selecting the companies to target based on things like industries, locations, and sizes. Then you have to identify the people to reach out to based on job titles, corporate hierarchy, and experience.
Each layer is a multiplier on complexity. So imagine once you start to add data like conference attendees you've met, intent or technographic targeting data, and your current customers that you want to suppress from your lists.
All of these choices make sense. They WILL help your marketing campaign perform. But, now you have a data science project on your hands, no time to get it done, and limited technical resources to execute on it. To top it all off, EXCEL JUST CRASHED YOUR COMPUTER! AHHHHHH.
Excel was not built for this!
Excel is a fairly simple spreadsheet utility, not a data platform. It's got some fancy features for the very few people who can turn around a pivot table without trial and error in the drag and drop, or the very rare person who can script macros, but most of us are simply using it to organize rows and columns.
Linking sheets is hard.
Merging sheets is tedious and manual.
Cleansing and deduping data is basically impossible, especially when the data is multifaceted from many sources, like company and contact data tends to be.
What you should be using is a true database, but again:
You are not a high tech data business.
You don't have a bunch of extra data analysts.
You don't want to manage any more company and contact data than you already do in your CRM. It's a nightmare there already! 😉
Keeping your audience data up to date is impossible.
Let's imagine for a minute that your campaign team somehow manages to create a single clean excel file that represents your TAM (total addressable market). It's got all your potential target accounts (companies), and all the people that work at those companies.
What happens next?
You have to immediately start tearing that clean list apart.
Your sales team only wants the C-Level execs to hammer on the phone, but needs the file formatted for upload into your CRM. That's going to take hours or even days to figure out. Should this list even be in your CRM?
Your email team wants only the decision maker emails, and just sent you a list of 1,000 titles from your CRM. Even after matching, most titles don't resolve, and this target audience is grossly incomplete.
Your digital team needs to upload this file to Facebook and your DSP, but you don't have any of the IDs needed to do so. This campaign reach is going to be horrible, at best, maybe ~5% of your total potential audience.
Finally, and maybe most complex of all, your CMO and VP of Sales want to run a half dozen different campaigns to different segments of your TAM. That's a complexity multiplier of SIX TIMES on everything you just did.
This project has exploded, and your clean excel file is broken into many sheets again. Changes are hard to track. The process and logic for organizing it was lost. Lists are overlapping. Teams are getting impatient, and you realize you'll never ever be able to update your TAM again. This is why your company is still targeting customers on an excel file your CEO created five years ago.
Flatfile’s 2020 State of Data Onboarding Report shows that:
96% of people have problems importing data
54% of businesses import data daily
23% of companies estimate data importing takes weeks or months to complete
You are not a data company, nor do you want to be.
If you're really lucky, your business is doing well, and your marketing team is sophisticated then, maybe, just maybe, you've got some engineers or some data analysts, and a centralized database, or maybe even a DMP or CDP. Even now, managing your TAM, the thousands of companies that make it up, and the hundreds of thousands of people that work there is a major challenge.
Data updates take months or even years.
The engineering team built everything for one purpose, but your analytics team now needs it to do something else.
Your campaign team is marketing against the CSV file that was dumped out last year because they simply can't wait for technical upgrades.
STOP managing data, and start managing your campaigns!
Here's the dirty little secret nobody wants to admit.... EVERY MARKETING TEAM trying to compete in the multi-channel and digital world (with rare exception), no matter how sophisticated, or how well funded, even if they have a dozen engineers under their CMO, is still struggling with all the problems above.
Do you like managing lists of people, and companies, and emails?
Do you think staying up to date with privacy and compliance concerns is fun?
Does it seem like a good use of capital for your business to need engineers and analysts?
OF COURSE NOT!!!
We know so much about this reality because, we've been helping the most sophisticated marketing teams, at the largest, most well capitalized companies in the world, target their customers across every marketing channel for the last decade.
We understand the struggles.
This is why we built the NetWise Audience Platform. Our in-house engineering team started work on what would become the platform specifically to help our operations and sales teams manage audience data for our biggest customers. We perfected it for their needs, and now it's available for any company, no matter how small or large, simple or sophisticated, to create, manage, and activate multi-channel advertising campaigns.
With the NetWise Audience Platform, you can reach the same person at work and at home, across every channel, on every device, via any sales or marketing platform, without any of the headaches of managing your own data. We take care of the company and contact data, so you can focus on your brand, your messaging, and your campaigns.