The State of the Data Industry

50% of doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class.  It’s not a made up fact.  It’s a fact of logic.  By necessity, half of people must finish on the bottom half of the bell curve.  Those that reach such a high level of education and finish in the bottom portion are unlikely to continue educating their self while they assess your health and determine the best medical course of action for you.  It’s frightening to think your 60 year old doctor hasn’t read anything since grad school, isn’t it?  That guy exists, I assure you.  Here’s another startling fact:  the majority of successful entrepreneurs were “C-Student” dropouts.  Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard.  The CEO for the email advertising firm I worked for was the former head of technology for Equifax and sold behavior prediction database software all the way up to the Secret Service and CIA in order to make his first million, but couldn’t find a way to achieve email open rates higher than average despite the fact he would work at the office from close to 3am while jamming on a full band set whenever his programming skills left him frustrated in his office (he usually showed up in his V12 Jaguar, drunk, 2 hours before we closed office to micromanage everyone, but he was a data genius so he could get away with it).  Even the data genius that built Equifaxes data technologies in the 90’s couldn’t figure out a way to find perfect contact information on everyone via software, nobody can, it’s a jungle out there.

Those who have discussed email marketing with me have heard me say that “best practice” is to create subject lines with 8 characters or less.  It’s a true story based on the numbers.  Every morning, I get a plethora of emails from sales and marketing gurus that I’ve signed up to learn from over nearly 20 years on the job.  As you may have noticed, I don’t always use 8 characters or less in my subject lines, yet I’ve always experienced good open rates (I’ve also studied linguistics and neuro-linguistic programming extensively, so that helps).  A client recently saw excellent open rate success (nearly 70%) with a long subject line that used a couple keywords I thought were excellent choices and it got me thinking, “What if the best practice advice is off simply because all email marketing statistics are skewed by the fact everyone is using bad data?  What if the average open rate would rise from about 25% to about 50% if people simply had clean, up to date, live data instead of information that hasn’t been researched in over a year?”

The across the board average bounce rate (percentage of bad email addresses sent to) is an astounding 50+%.  That means more than half of emails addresses emailed are bad.  That means most people are doing a lot of spraying and praying, trying to use birdshot on a crowd that may or may not be their properly chosen target market.  The only way such numbers happen compared to what many of us are experiencing recently is by simply using bad data.  Time is money.  If you spend 90 minutes creating an email template to send to a list of 1,000 people and 500 people turn out to be non-existent, you might as well throw 45 of those 90 minutes out the window.  Now multiply that by how many times you run those kind of email campaigns over the course of the year.  I demanded my own research team in San Diego when I timed the fact that I used more than 60 seconds just to dial one number, multiplied by about 70 bad numbers per day, multiplied by 5 days per week equals 350 minutes (just under 6 hours) wasted every week, or over 300 hours every year.  My base wage was $10/hour.  My highest commission was $15K.  My highest one year pay projected to over $262K before the Operations Manager realized I was about to take his job and ran me out of the company, roughly $131/hour after commission.

The above observations mean that dialing the bad numbers coming out of my research team before I managed my own research team would have cost me about $39,300/year.  There isn’t a single company on the market that offers on demand, live data research, hyper-targeted prospect lists, and I am deeply grateful to everyone who’s helped give MetaKong an opportunity to become the trend-setter.