Direct marketing – data is number 1

Accurate customer data is the cornerstone of a successful direct marketing programme. The right data obtained from your current customer base or an external source can provide you with an important and insightful view of your existing or potential customers.

The marketing insights provided by your data resource will help you generate a better picture of your target customer. The more you know about your customer – the more likely you are to send relevant, timely and engaging information that results in a purchase or an intended action.

In this post we discuss the key considerations for developing your direct marketing data resource. Four key questions when building your marketing database:

1. How do I want to communicate with my customers or prospects?
2. Do I need their email, physical address, phone number, preferences or demographics?
3. How will I track my activities and the resulting customer actions?
4. What kind of customer details will help me deliver the right service or product in a way that leaves the customer completely satisfied?

Planning for success

If you know from the outset the type of marketing information you need and how you will use it, you are already ahead of the game. Over time you may alter your business requirements and therefore your data system will need to adapt to meet this change. Creating a data plan and purpose will give your market data collection a focus. General marketing experience suggests that your next sale is most likely to come from an existing customer, therefore utilising your customer database for promotional activity is a real opportunity.

The age of your data

It is a common practice for companies to let their databases go out of date and become inaccurate. What most people don’t realize is how quickly your data can degrade. The general rule of thumb is that you can expect about 16% of emails addresses to become invalid each year from changes in circumstances.

Do you know how old your database is and each individual record?
When did you last validate the contact details you have?

Buying data

There are a number of data suppliers in the NZ market and they each have their own areas of expertise. A free database report is provided by Kompass to download, giving you a solid grounding into who the providers are. Commercial data can be expensive, making a blanket marketing campaign costly. It is important that you are clear about who you want to target, making sure that your offer is focused and relevant in order to keep the cost of acquisition down.

Permission based data

Avoid spamming your recipients by making sure your marketing communications are compliant. We recommend that you review the best practice guidelines. This information and a range of resources can be found at the Marketing Associations website. If you are sending an email communication, remember to always give the receiver the option to opt out from your database.

Storing your data

Is your data secured and can you protect your customer privacy?
Do you have a backup strategy and can you protect your data from damage?

Finally, building a good customer or prospect database is well worth the effort it takes in order to send relevant and timely communications.