If your organization is using ‘mailing lists’ for direct marketing, you are missing the opportunity to optimize you campaigns by using data. By creating a database built for direct marketing, you are able to utilize best practice techniques to manage the costs, and optimize the results of your campaigns.
How to Build a Direct Marketing Database
Identify Sources of Organizational Data
Securing customer and prospect information is a core requirement for a direct marketing database. Addressing data is needed to mail or email these customers. You also want behavior and traits for segmentation. POS and Loyalty programs are rich sources for this kind of data.
You also want to include other types of marketing information in this database. A framework for thinking through the possibilities is the classic 4Ps of marketing. What do you sell? Where do you sell it? This type of information is the basis for segmentation. Often data exist in different systems. A good database professional can integrate data from these disparate systems.
Designing the Marketing Database
Once you have determined what organizational data is available, a data programmer (or DBA) can design a database that supports your direct marketing objectives. This is specialized work, so it is important to use a programmer with database marketing experience.
There are a number of hygiene steps that should be performed to cleanse your data. In terms of addressing, these include Delivery Point Validation (DPV), National Change of Address (NCOA), and Deduplication. You also need processes to standardize the behavior and trait data in your database.
A best practice is to maintain a campaign history table. This table tracks which records received each direct mail piece or email message. This is important because a coordinated strategy of touches with both direct mail and email often outperforms the same spend without coordination.
Data as a Competitive Advantage
The result of building a Direct Marketing Database is a high-value asset that is a foundation piece for optimizing your direct marketing campaigns.
I help marketing leaders and their teams innovate by utilizing business acumen, technology, and data. I am energized by the process of learning about organizational challenges, specifying the root causes and effects, and then envisioning a desired future state. I then prioritize tasks for both myself and team members to make that vision into reality. My passion is solving problems, reducing complexity, and creating elegant systems that deliver significant insight and value.
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