9Data Capture and HygieneYou're Only as Good as Your Database

When it comes to driving epic success with behavioral marketing, there's one element that's the best predictor of all: a focus on data. Although I believe in the Art of Marketing, data needs to be the fundamental basis of how we operate. That doesn't mean we deliver less-than-compelling content or ignore the human factors involved with great marketing. It does mean that we apply science first, then art—but more on that in a minute.

I've seen average marketers up their response rates by 50–100 percent by factoring for simple demographic elements such as age or gender or location. Demonstrating even the smallest bit of data-driven personalization can push response rates through the roof. From a behavioral perspective, some of my most progressive customers have an amazingly simple tactic: they resend a second version of every standalone email (same exact content, different subject line) to those who didn't open the first email two days after the initial send. Most often, this picks up another six to eight percent opens, and inevitably turns a conversion or two.

So let's dive deeply into the complex topic of data capture and hygiene. The most logical way to tackle the idea is from the top. I'll begin by describing how to think about the concept pre-implementation; then we'll talk through five key tactics that are the building blocks of great data focus, and finish up with how to make sure great isn't the enemy of good ...

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