A to Z of Marketing: D = Database

The A to Z of marketing is designed to give you a flavour of the multitude of components that need to be considered when marketing  a business.

This week we look at D=Database.

The database is a pivotal tool within the marketing manager’s, or business owner’s armoury.  It is core to maintaining the ongoing dialogue with a company’s customers, pipeline of prospects and target audience.

Yet it is staggering how many reasonable sized businesses that I go to see who still have no database or CRM system in place.

Now CRM is a much more advanced database system, but even a very simple contact management system is a start in ensuring that you are hitting the right audience with the right communications in both a timely and cost effective manner.

When people think about marketing , rightly or wrongly, they think about lead generation and attracting new customers.

In order to do this effectively you need to firstly decide who your core target audience/market(s) is going to be and then create a message that is going to resonate with them.

You may have 3 or 4 different target markets and the message to each one may be slightly different – so a clean, well sorted database will allow you to quickly and effectively segment your data so you are sending tailored messages to the right audiences.

I bang on about this quite a lot but “ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL”.  You can’t buy a general list of “companies trading in Yorkshire” and blanket market to them.  Well you can, but it won’t work – you need segmented data and market specific messages.  You will waste time and money in sending out a message that you believe has reached everyone but has in reality failed to reach the consciousness of anyone!

Another area which companies often overlook is to generate more value from their existing customer base.  It costs around 7 times more to win a new client than to extract the same value from an existing client.

The database is key in enabling you to analyse your customer’s purchasing patterns and spotting opportunities.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could, within a couple of clicks, pull up all previous clients of product X who have been inactive in over 12 months.

Why have they stopped purchasing?  Have they just forgotten about you? If you haven’t been in touch with them in this period then it is no surprise.

This is a just quick blog to hopefully try and raise awareness of how key a database is to a business.  It saves you time, money, significantly enhances the targeting of communications and allows you to understand the behaviour of your customers and the metrics of your business.

I have really only scratched the surface here…but if you are operating without a central database or CRM system , then you are not operating as effectively as you could be!

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.