Open Source Reference Data for Marketers
A little secret about this site – one of the top pages since 2012 has been the Global 2000 data page. People are constantly looking for a clean data sheet of standard data, or what financial firms call “reference data.” One of my earliest posts was a Country Picklist text file formatted for Marketo’s old Form 1.0 system. Why? It was painstaking to create the right Country picklist formatted for full ISO names. And one of my favorite posts and tools is the Personal Domain list for cleaning a list or managing email deliverability.
Other reference data examples include the list of German Salutations, Australian States, and Canadian province abbreviations.
Without these difficult to compile tools, life in Marketing Ops would be a bit harder.
At a recent Marketo User Group, someone spoke about a new project called the Marketing Open Data Project. This site is an open source resource of reference data that includes standard values such as Country, State, or non-corporate domain names.
I had a chance to interview Allen Pogorzelski, Vice President of Marketing at Openprise, and one of the founders of the site. Here’s our interview:
Why did you decide to set up an open source dataset project like this?
The Marketing Open Data Project was a natural extension of the work Openprise and our customers were already doing. As you know, Openprise is a data orchestration solution that allows marketing teams to automate how they onboard, clean, enrich, and unify data across systems.
It takes data to clean and enrich data. For example, if you want to fill in missing City and State fields in your Contact records, or normalize all of your State field values to two-character postal codes, you need a data set to do that.
As we’ve added more and more datasets to the Openprise solution to address new use cases, our customers realized that they could benefit from the data that other customers were creating. For example, we’ve curated a list of hundreds of suspect contacts names (a.k.a. “The Mickey Mouse List”)—we doubt “Barack Obama” really downloaded your marketing whitepaper, so you probably don’t want to route that lead to your ADR team. Sharing this type of list and letting others build on it benefits everybody. The Marketing Open Data Project has grown to include a wide range of datasets that are useful to marketers, and a group of volunteers are continually adding to it.
How do you source the data? How much should I trust the data?
Data curated through the Marketing Open Data Project comes from a variety of different public and private sources. Some are widely available from government sources, like our datasets of Postal Codes by City, State/Province, and Country. Others, like the Mickey Mouse List and more obscure ones, like a list of Portuguese job title keywords, were created and continuously improved by Openprise customers that have agreed to help and by Marketing Open Data Project volunteers. You can trust the data because it’s been vetted and continuously improved by the Marketing Open Data Project and Openprise communities.
How do you maintain the data?
Many of the datasets rarely change—like census data. Others are constantly changing, like the Mickey Mouse List of questionable names. Volunteers are always making suggestions, and those suggestions are vetted by Marketing Open Data Project volunteers before they’re formally updated into the free datasets you can download on the Marketing Open Data Project website, www.marketingopendata.org.
Data management is a big challenge for many marketers, so much so that it is often left for last. As martech pros, we both know data quality is holding back firms from extracting the maximum ROI from many initiatives. How do you sell data management to executives and busy marketers who may not be experts in this space?
Great question. We often work with marketers that are interested in data management/data orchestration solutions, but are concerned about getting executive buy-in. To help, you can download the whitepaper we’ve written on that topic, How to Build a Business Case for Data Management. There are a couple of things that are important to consider. The first is that CMOs who haven’t spent time in the trenches working hands-on with Martech don’t know the issues you face, and you have to build your business case with numbers to establish the ROI. Make sure you have your industry benchmarks and statistics at your company ready to go.
Sirius Decisions wrote a great piece, The Impact of Bad Data on Demand Creation. Their research shows that when a company improves the quality of its marketing database from average to strong, it can yield 2.6 more deals for every 100,000 names, or $390K in additional revenue, assuming an average deal size of $150K.
If you wanted to build a business case using your own data, you could start with these areas we cover in our Openprise whitepaper:
The second thing to make sure you do is tie your data management project to the other key initiatives that matter to your CMO. That might be marketing automation, ABM, predictive analytics, attribution, personalization, or segmentation projects. You need great quality data for any of those initiatives to be successful.
How can someone join the project to keep the data fresh?
That’s easy. Just visit marketingopendata.org, scroll down to the bottom of the page where there’s a form, and let us know that you’d like to volunteer. You can volunteer for as much or as little as you want–as little as a few minutes a month, if you like.
The Marketing Open Data project is a fantastic start to core data cleaning and standardization. Remember to build upon that foundation with cleaning flows and tools to keep your list in tip top shape.