The importance of building the right marketing database

It’s all very well saying you need a good database to build your business, but first you need to know what you want to achieve and which section of the paying public you want to target.

Marketing is driven by three crucial aims: widening and deepening your current customer database; keeping existing customers and obtaining new ones.

The first step is to hold a brain-storming session with key members of staff to come up with an aim, then once you are focused it will be easier to acquire the right data.

Thanks to technology that a company such as Selectabase employs, businesses are able to sift through a vast amount of data enabling them to make better, well-informed decisions. That means they’ll be better placed to know how to spend their hard-earned cash on marketing to get the best value for money.

Once you are happy with your database you can decide which customers are:

  • likely to be more receptive to a particular promotion: Recency, Frequency Monetary value (RFM)
  • more valuable to you: Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • better than others
  • how you acquire more of the better type of customer
  • how you package your message to certain sections of your customer database

In short, your marketing database should be anchored on solid foundations. There are no quick fixes and it is a labour-intensive exercise: it should be because your business is depending on it.

There are various ways of collating your own data, but it may be found in many places within your organisation not just the sales ledger. Look at systems you use every day, for instance: accounting; orders; sales tracking; outside lists and then link this data with your customers to get a picture of their buying behaviour.

You’ll want to know where they live, what they bought, when they bought it, where they were when you made the sale (the doorstep, the business premises, over the phone, via a leaflet or catalogue).

Once you have the structure in place you’ll need to clean the data. What does this mean? Simple, Selectabase’s service will identify people who cannot or will not respond to you; can sift out name and address duplications; update names, addresses and phone numbers and quite crucially, run a Telephone Preference Service check (TPS) to ensure you don’t contact those people who have expressed a desire not to be contacted by phone by marketers.

Should you phone someone by mistake who has actively tried to stop marketing calls, your business is breaking the law and could be fined up to £500,000. So watch out!

Marketing experts say that many businesses fail because the quality of their data or its structure is poor. You need clean data to understand your customers and this is an on-going process.

You do the maths. If 20 per cent of the addresses in your database were wrong and you spent £10,000 on a marketing initiative, you’ve wasted £2,000 before the project started.

Database marketing will continue to evolve, but the basic elements remain the same: you need to update your customer data on a regular basis and a business needs to gain quick answers to marketing queries. Technology is changing the landscape all the time of how marketing is delivered and how data is acquired, so ensure you keep up.

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