What is Database Marketing?
Database marketing can be one of the most important tools in a company’s armory. Why? Random mail-shots and mass telephone calling may have their place in some circumstances but they are approaches that are rapidly being replaced by the market segment approach using database marketing. This means that fewer mailings or calls are made but they are made to prospects that are more likely to be receptive to your proposition.
This is self-evident. As an artificially simple example, mailing propositions relating to over-50s health plans to 25 year olds is likely to be a waste of your time and money and just generate criticism of your organisation with regard to environmental waste etc.
It is far better to try and ensure that your proposals and offerings are put to the right people in the right place if you’d like to achieve the best conversion rates possible. This, of course, begs the question as to where the data comes from to allow you to target those prospects for which your proposition will be relevant.
There are two main sources:
· your own internal repositories of client information such as your customer database, invoicing system and so on – all ideal for account growth and cross-selling campaigns as well as customer recovery activities;
· externally-sourced databases containing client contact details.
In practice, all database marketing campaigns share a common objective irrespective of the source of the data. That is the need to ensure that the data is as ‘clean’ as possible. There are numerous examples of how inaccurate data can generate troubles for an organisation. In terms of internal databases and repositories, duplication is a major problem.
Customers can be added independently to several of your systems and it is not uncommon to find the same data in two separate sources such as one person being tagged as both a commercial client and separately as a private client. This could result in duplicate mailings or phone calls being made to the same client – not usually considered a good start to a selling process!
Both internal and some external databases can also be out-of-date, something that can lead to significant embarrassment and perhaps even negative public-domain publicity. Therefore data validation and for internal sources, de-duplication, is often an essential pre-requisite for a professional campaign.
Using an external company that can provide guaranteed database lists that are already pre-verified, may save you substantial amounts of time and money and avoid reputation damage. Similarly, getting professional help in cleansing and maximally exploiting your own internal data sources can yield major benefits. Using a specialist could help make your database marketing campaigns less traumatic and more productive, as well as being potentially more cost-effective.