Sourcing and Storing: Keep Your Marketing Database Environment Stable

Feb 02, 2009 9:47 PM  By

With every effort to improve communication to customers and prospects, marketers find relying more than ever on the sources and storage of their customer data.

Increased technology and channel options have made more and more data available to marketers. Naturally, the next imperative is making that data actionable. Organization and easy access are the pillars for marketing success.

But databases are usually disparate. Companies use them for fulfillment and attempt to add on marketing functionality. These two entities live by very different business rules. It’s important for marketing purposes to maintain as much credible information as possible, even if some of it is incomplete.

Mailing a catalog or direct mail piece to an address without knowing the phone number or suite number or even contact name is commonly accepted. And due to title inserts or pass-along at a business, this may even result in an order. From a fulfillment perspective maintaining these elements is vital, especially if the cost of the goods shipped is considerable.

Marketing databases with fuzzy logic can bring together questionable matches due to address inaccuracies and aggregate information that would otherwise be useless. A company’s business model may strongly target buyers during the first 12 months after their first purchase. This builds the relationship and creates a strong lifetime value. But if the purchases are not rolled up accurately these valuable customers may end up in separate marketing buckets and not get the attention they deserve.

Once the 12-month window is closed the costs of reactivating that customer or building its lifetime value may become prohibitive.

Databases can also serve as the central collection point for each channel to better understand the true profile and actions of a customer. With Web 2.0 advances and the changes in tracking customer movement on the Internet, a true profile cannot be complete without adding this activity. When a shopper abandons a cart, or does comparison price shopping, or leaves feedback on a product, this user-generated content can fill in the profile of a customer. In addition to demographics, lifestyle information, and transactional data, the other side of the coin is a person’s online activity.

The end result is that customers receive communication when and how they want, at optimal times for maximum purchases. As the country goes greener and the costs of paper and postage skyrocket, making smarter choices is no longer an advantage, it is essential.

Analysis and execution, supported by experienced and tenured partners, will provide the results needed to pull multi-channel marketing entities and even the economy out of its precipitous decline.

Justin Jackson ( is an account executive with Donnelley Marketing.