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What Is Data Capture And How Can You Increase It?

3 February 2022
by Adam Oldfield

Data is at the heart of every marketing strategy – from offering must-know metrics to help you evaluate the success of a particular campaign, or providing the laser-sharp user insights that got you there in the first place.

But while the fundamental shift from assumption-lead marketing to reliable, data-driven strategies continues to flourish, many marketers are still getting to grips with the tools and processes now at their disposal – and the pivotal role of data capture is often completely overlooked.

The fact is, today’s marketers are squandering precious time trying to manipulate cumbersome Excel spreadsheets or cluttered CRM data before they even get to the chance to build an email that compels.

The good news is, with Force 24, you can strip away the jargon and complexity to fully optimise your marketing strategy and save hours per week – with clever use of data capture and segmentation alone. And by integrating directly with your CRM system, you can immediately sync your data across. Not only that, the platform’s latest big data search functionality means you can build complex searches and yield specific data segments, without much thought.

And guess what? All this can be automated based on customer or prospect behaviour using our Journey Manager feature.

But What Is Data Capture And Why Is It Important?

Data capture refers to the process of collecting and managing information about customers and prospects to gain a deeper understanding of their of-the-moment interests. With this information, you can hone your savvy marketing skills to encourage leads deeper into the sales funnel and develop hyper-relevant comms from start to finish.

What’s important to remember, though, is that the performance of any marketing efforts can only be as good as the quality of your data – as they say, garbage in, garbage out. Having a seamless data capture strategy therefore plays a pivotal role in growth and success, allowing you to deliver high-quality comms that ultimately enhance your relationship with customers and prospects and propel your company growth.

How Can I Capture Data Effectively?

Of course, your core strategy will depend on various factors – including the specific focus of your marketing efforts – and there’s no one-size-fits-all, silver-bullet solution, but these are some of the most effective tried-and-tested tips to kickstart your data-capture journey…

Decide Which Information You Need: Identifying the detail you require from customers and prospects is a sure-fire way to maintain focus on your objectives. From there, you can investigate whether or not this data has already been captured of where you might find it from in the future.

Don’t Neglect Existing Data: If the information you’re looking for has already been or is already being collected – for example, through your CRM system or in less explicit locations like paper invoices – don’t waste precious time going back over the same ground.

Identify New Data Capture Opportunities: Once you have identified gaps in your data, you need to brainstorm where the best place to retrieve missing information is in the future. Review your customer touch points to see where opportunities might arise to confirm existing details and add depth, such as through gated content or requests for details on account statements.

Strike The Right Balance: Evaluating the amount of data you’re asking for versus the value of the content on offer is key. For example, prospects are unlikely to reveal personal information just to read a light-touch blog post, but they might be inclined to spill a few more details for access to something longer and more high-quality. And there are some great, intuitive ways you can handle this – Typeform is just one killer example.

Honesty And Consent: These values are key in the eyes of today’s consumer. In any data capture strategy, stating exactly how you intend to use data gives you the opportunity to build and maintain trust with customers and prospects, improving loyalty and engagement.

Avoid Free Text Fields: Although these may seem harmless, open answer boxes often result in jumbled, unreliable data that can invalidate areas of your research and add on lengthy checking time – responses could include variations such as ‘UK’ and ‘Britain’ if you requested ‘country’ as a free text field, for example. Utilise drop-down lists or tick boxes to remove the need to validate fields and ensure consistency throughout your responses.

Validate Data: Rather than attempting to fix inconsistencies at various intervals, be sure to validate any information in real-time – ideally, as it is collected. A simple example would be to check that an email address is in the correct format, or validate a postcode against a database of addresses. This step would be the point of entry onto the system – conducting robust checks early on mitigates the risk of poor quality data.

It’s also important to remember that data erodes – this not only has implications on what you collect, but how you maintain it. Ask for information that is not likely to change where possible, such as a date of birth instead of an age, and be sure to diligently maintain the information you hold to avoid distribution insensitive or irrelevant comms that might jeopardise your brand.

Incentivise Customers: Consumers expect to receive something in return for their information – and this doesn’t need to be costly. You might incentivise your audience through gated content downloads, for example, or offer small discounts on products and services.

Another incentive is making the data capture process simple. By breaking it up into stages and showing a level of progress, you can maximise the chances of getting what you need. You can also determine whether an existing process is proving to be a barrier by measuring the dropout rate of a certain sign-up form or survey.

Acknowledge The Value Of Different Types Of Data: The observed behaviours of your customers and prospects often has a much greater value than surveyed data, because self-perception differs radically from the truth in many instances. Just because someone says they do something or want someone, doesn’t mean it’s true – bear this in mind during data capture to develop a richer understanding of your customers.

Data capture plays an integral role in propelling your business forward, and the most successful marketers will have an extensive, reliable database built around data capture to use at their disposal. But it’s not just about building a strong database – it’s also about understanding the real value that data capture can bring and how you can use it effectively throughout your organisation.

By integrating a trusted, expert platform like Force 24 to automate the relevant processes for you, and provide around-the-clock training and support, you can create significant efficiencies in both time and money, not to mention boosting customer satisfaction all-round.

Harness the power of data capture by downloading our free ‘Guide to Saving 8 Hours a Week’.

Book a no-obligations demo with Force24 – the UK’s fastest growing marketing automation platform – today. Call: 0845 272 5990 or email: info@force24.co.uk.

Photo of Adam Oldfield
Adam Oldfield
Managing Director & Founder

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