How To Produce Reliable Email Marketing Lists
From The Ground Up

Arturo F Munoz Open QuoteThere are reasons some businesses are hugely successful, others 'get by' and the less fortunate fail. From a marketing perspective it seems quite simple: You must know your customers and what it takes to make them happy.

-- Bruce Johnson


More than once I've stood by the edge, peering into the chasm. It is the chasm between a) the most critical sources of contact information in a company and b) the company's main repository of contact information on which it relies to do marketing and sales.

I stand there pondering "How will I bridge this abyss? How will I end up delivering reliable email marketing lists for this Fortune 1000 company?"
email marketing lists
For, you see, on the one end I'm confronting a massive heap of dated, unvalidated, unenhanced marketing and sales data that has sat inside a single repository mostly unexplored and under exploited for years.

On the opposite end, I'm facing a cascade of independent streams of raw behavioral data, jetting unfiltered against this ancient lump, and commingling with it into a pit turned to a messy bog. Not a pretty picture.

But this swampy mess often is the single most important watering hole for sales and marketing information in the entire company.

This is where marketing and sales come for their email marketing lists.

Drinking from this place is a major problem. A sampling of email marketing lists from it reveals major data inconsistencies. Consumption of these email marketing lists harm corporate wellness.

Many list users won't drink from it, preferring to go thirsty, also known as ignorant or opting for expensive bottled water, i.e. rental lists. Many discard whatever is said by those who drink from this bog.

Here is what characterizes the "the bog" situation:

  • Unified worldwide campaign management does not exist.


  • Email marketing lists performance tracking and management does not exist.


  • Access to fresh data requires regular involvement by technical resources.


  • Tracking of contact interactions with the business does not exist.


  • Contact and response rankings for use in list selection and targeting does not exist.


  • No central control exists for tracking contact list opt-ins/opt-outs


  • No remedy for response attrition exists.


  • Response and leads data commingle, making tracking of response-to-qualified lead conversions impossible.


  • Insignificant data stewardship processes or inconsistent QA routines allow for the creation of duplicate data.


  • A voluminous number of contact records end up rejected and in limbo for failing obsolete data quality control rules.


  • Unrefined "data enhancements" misclassify contact records


  • Barriers to response capture are in place, thereby diminishing response rates.

  • marketing lists
As I said before, this is not a pretty picture.

However, it is possible to make email marketing lists reliable. What does it take to do this technically?

It takes going through a rigorous program of data integration, data quality remediation and control, plus creating a central marketing database, fed with data from specialized operation tools designed for email execution, content management and business intelligence gathering.

There is a tried and specific way of accomplishing this work. It does not begin with technology.


What Makes Delivery of Reliable Email Marketing Lists Possible?

Here is what characterizes a "fresh fountain" situation in contrast to the "dirty bog" situation:

  • Global campaign management is possible through one integral platform


  • Email marketing lists management and targeting intelligence are one and the same


  • Data freshness is validaded and safeguarded


  • Contact interaction control is measurable


  • Programmatically cleansed, standardized and refined contact data are invisible


  • Response quality tracking is available


  • Opt-in control is automatic


  • Response-to-Lead conversion tracking is automatic


  • Professional data cleansing and minimal contact record rejection are enforced

  • Demographic data enhancements are regular


  • Easy response capture is built-in


But more than technology, the following 8 factors make possible the delivery of sound email marketing lists:

  1. The Marketing and Sales organization has embraced a common demand creation business process.


  2. There is a commitment to integrate regional efforts with a central Global Demand Creation team, who would provide the overarching global strategy for campaign branding, messaging and positioning.


  3. The corporate strategy is developed with the involvement of regional marketers and not in a vacuum, thereby becoming subject to input from unique regional perspectives.


  4. The central team is delivering guidance on both the business process definition and the interfacing with technical resources for the rendering of an appropriate marketing and sales automation infrastructure to be used by the periphery team.


  5. This central team also partners with the regional operators to secure appropriate funding for business expansion, promotional program execution and sales support.


  6. In exchange for these services the regional marketing units would have been corresponding back to the central team with open, direct and precise communication of business requirements, priorities and result objectives, specifically on how they align to the overarching corporate strategy and how the local marketing team expects the global marketing team to facilitate objectives achievement.


  7. The regional teams, however, must also have agreed to adhere to a common promotions management methodology and be accountablefor results and deliverables, which are only possible to accomplish locally.


  8. These agreements between the central and the regional teams at the periphery would have been documented in the form of Service Level Agreements (SLA).



It is only then that the foundation is set for the creation of a marketing operations model that can deliver on sound email marketing lists as part of any promotional activity.

In fact, to initiate any promotional activity as a unified team the entire organization must first be in alignment regarding the adoption of a new and optimized marketing operations model and terminology.

The model helps everyone picture the same workflow process. The terminology helps everyone speak the same language.
email marketing database
Since the purpose of each promotion is to be effective without being inefficient, effectiveness requires advance planning. Efficiency requires adherence to general rules with few exceptions.

So the entire team must not forget that most exceptions to a general rule can be handled without renouncing the entire operations model.

In other words, regional needs can be met as adjunct rules to a new general marketing promotions model. The regional rules enhance the general model instead of replacing it.

So collaboration between the core and the periphery teams is job 1, otherwise every group in every region will continue to attempt to work independently of one another.

Autonomy is what undermines the quality of email marketing lists, by producing the "bog effect". The cure? Collaboration.

Each time I've begun to plan how to charter the course to a new marketing operation to deliver on better quality email marketing lists through a new marketing and sales business process and automation platform, it never fails to impress me how wide a gap there is between what is available and what is yet to be delivered.

Most challenging of all is not the technology to deploy, but getting people to work with each other, which requires that they step away from themselves to live for their neighbor.

Therefore, a marketing and sales organization guided by a leader who puts customer and employee first is far more likely than any other to end up producing not merely reliable email marketing lists but a reliable team that will last in being successful at marketing and selling.



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