Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Technology Marketers: Finding the Right Path to Effective Database Marketing

As marketing practitioners in technology industry, one of the topics of great concern for you is how to manage the customer database properly, so as to better allocate resources and turn numbers into helpful insights about your customers. As a graduate student from the Medill IMC program in Northwestern University, I did research on database marketing and discovered two articles that provide insightful ideas on managing quality data.

In his article How to Waste Money and Be Ineffective at Database Marketing, Brad Nelson talks about five things that should be avoided by marketers in doing database marketing. As he points out, to maintain a healthy and effective customer database, it is essential for marketers to attach importance to database hygiene and target distinct customer segments in different manner based on reasonable segmentation within the database. Moreover, since the cost of acquiring new customers is much higher than maintaining existing ones, more efforts should be taken to develop loyalty programs rather than attract new customers, given the tight marketing budgets. Marketers should also put emphasis on testing and set strategies in doing database marketing, so that they can have a better control of their campaigns and keep on a consistent track throughout the process. 

                                    (Source: http://bdapac.com/blog/tag/database/)

A problem facing marketing data analysts actually lies in the quality content. According to Martin Doyle, data of poor quality can be harmful to brands, while decisions made based on high quality data helps raise the reputation of brands (Why Data Quality Is a Marketing Problem). He argues that poor data quality tend to have a negative impact on marketers’ balancing act. Launching marketing activities based on the poor quality data, marketers may target the wrong group of customers with ineffective method, which will finally lead to a waste of resources and even damage to the brand image. Only data with high quality can provide meaningful hints on customer recruitment and retention.

Based on the two articles regarding database marketing, there are three actions you need to take now to better manage their customer data.


1.     Establish Quality Measures Get rid of irrelevant and out-of-date data which would have negative impact on the overall quality of the database. This helps to make the database clean and organized, preventing the interference of data that are irrelevant or misleading.
2.    Maintain Data Consistency – Create certain criteria to standardize data in preparation for further analysis. By doing so, the customer data will be consistent, which will improve the efficiency of data filtering and processing. 

3.   Align with Marketing Objectives – Make the database an important tool to achieve the marketing objectives. Alignment between the database and the marketing objectives will keep marketers on the right track and prevent them from being distracted.  

The era of big data brings both opportunities and challenges for modern marketers. While database marketing allows you to have a comprehensive view of the customers, it at the same time poses problem on data quality. As a Data Manager, you need to keep it a relevant, accurate, and focused asset for your company. Following the actions above, you will find a right path to effectively manage your customer data.

Mo Chen is a Master of Science candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University with focus on digital analytics. She had previous working experience in media companies and public relations agencies.

Questions and comments? Contact me on Twitter @MoChen_IMC or LinkedIn.

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