Four Steps to Profitable Personalization

In today’s world of e-mail, text messages, and other emerging communications technologies, getting a person’s attention is an increasingly difficult challenge. With so many messages being thrown at them, people are less likely to respond to a “Hey you!” approach and more likely to take action on a personalized message tailored just to them.

As you no doubt know by now, building and maintaining a database can enable you to do that. Once you’ve gathered and analyzed the pertinent data, you can turn them into information that fuels all your marketing efforts. You can use these data to glean customer and prospect interests and preferences and tailor marketing efforts down to an individual level, increasing response rates and retention of existing clients while lowering costs. Here, in a nutshell, are the four phases of creating, maintaining, and using a database for an effective personalization strategy:

1) Gather information. Data-capture technology is a cost-effective way to collect information about your customers and prospects. By leveraging advanced imaging, recognition, and scanning technologies, data capture provides an adaptive, reliable, and high-performance platform for processing, managing, and archiving data and images. A sophisticated data-capture platform offers a comprehensive infrastructure that can process a virtually limitless variety of documents for automated customer information and receivables management, allowing you to collect data from the customers’ preferred media, be they print, telephone, television, or the Internet.

2) Organize and manipulate the data. A relational database makes your data more valuable by providing a complete picture of your customer. This helps you reduce the cost of customers acquisitions and provides opportunities for you to cross-sell and upsell your products and services. The single most important benefit of a good database, however, is providing you the ability to customize your marketing efforts to the individual customer level. You can improve the return on your marketing investment by spending more marketing dollars on customers and prospects who are most likely to buy. Database marketing is also the most efficient means of discovering untapped areas of interest that may provide future revenue.

3) Get personal. Once you’ve determined exactly what your customers and prospects want and need, along with how they want to purchase those customers and services, it’s time to determine how to execute a personalized marketing approach. There are myriad channels at your disposal: direct mail, e-mail, Websites. Using the information from your relational database, you can create different marketing campaigns for different groups of people based on the information you know about them. This ensures that everyone will receive an offer about something that interests him using the delivery method he prefers. There is no “junk mail” in these efforts; your marketing dollars will be used very efficiently.

4) Close the loop. Maintaining a functional relational database is the most important step in developing and benefiting from a cyclical marketing approach. Capture your data, feed them into your marketing database, create personalized marketing tools to reach your target audience, and receive their feedback – and then start the loop over again. With each cycle you learn more and more about your customers and prospects and become better equipped not only to market to them but also to serve them.

Communications Data Services is a Des Moines, IA-based provider of data management services.

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