Database Marketing’s “Playground Problem”

May 30, 2006 10:05 PM  By

Relying on an incomplete view of your customers is a sure way to doom your database marketing efforts to failure, says Jeff Hassemer, director of product strategy at the data management solutions division of marketing solutions provider Abacus.

“I like to call this the playground problem,” Hassemer said during a Webinar hosted by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT and “Direct” magazines. It’s a particular problem in organizations that have separate groups handling online and offline marketing or that use multiple systems to support separate channels. “All the cliques go to their part of the playground, and no one can play with [the other groups’] toys.”

Hassemer detailed why relying on an incomplete view of your customer can be deadly:

  • Customers are moving through the buying cycle across multiple channels. For instance, a buyer may become aware of you via a search, browse your Website, request a catalog, buy via the contact center, and exchange merchandise at your store It happens and at an ever increasing rate.
  • When only a single source is used, the marketer is making decisions based on one channel of interaction only. There is no way to determine who the customer is with that view.

Fortunately, Hassemer continued, there are several ways of avoiding this situation:

  • Get data from all sources.
  • Make sure that you collect at least zip code and name from store buyers, and preferably phone number as well.
  • Develop a solid match-and-consolidate strategy based on name and address matching.
  • Do not rely on the source systems to assign customer ID; it is generally always wrong.

    For the rest of Hassemer’s Webinar, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Database Marketing,” log on to for a free replay. And if you have questions for Hassemer, you can send them to him directly at the “Ask the Experts” section of MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT’s Website: