Seven marketing database strategies which can help your business
In our first installment we covered B2B Data-driven Marketing: What Is It and Why Is It a Challenge?
In this article we'll look at seven data analytic strategies.
1. Evaluate your top customers.
If your business is small enough, you know your customers. Usually in B2B small businesses, you can count your best customer on your fingers and toes. But that doesn’t mean that you know all you need to know about them. Successful small businesses survive because they respond faster to a market demand than larger companies. But to do that, they have to know how the market is changing and make moves to strengthen their positions quickly. Knowing how your top customers are responding to any market dynamics is your first piece of business.
2. Separate your accounts receivables from your customer information.
Accounts receivables and order information are important to tell you who is purchasing your product, but not always so good at telling you WHO is signing off on the purchase. Often this name is NOT in your sales order information, but is very important. Making sure that the purchaser’s name and contact information is available to sales and marketing can help in the sales process. As purchasers become more and more important in the buying process, this data grows in importance as well.
3. Decide what information is important to know and what information you have.
Not all data is important to helping you sell more or attract the best customers. Some information is available just because you need it to fulfill orders or manage customer support. Before you begin evaluating the data, however, it’s advisable to think strategically about what information is important to your sales and growth. Start with your sales managers to determine what information they know about customers that is not usually available in any system. For an example, do your sales people know who plays golf on Thursdays and who has a wife who is Vice President at the local bank?
For every data element that is important to marketing, there are probably several more that are unimportant but extremely necessary for order processing or support. Select and set aside in your marketing database the data elements that are most useful to marketing. Those are the ones that you will concentrate on maintaining and using to attract, retain, and develop customers.
4. Establish a way to acquire, maintain and retire data.
Once you’ve determined which data elements are necessary for identifying the “best” customers for your business, your next job as a marketer is to acquire, maintain, and retire data.
Let’s start with retire first. If you have a marketing database today, chances are that you have a good number of records that were acquired over a year ago, have never really yielded any revenue for your company, and have not responded to most of your marketing messages. In short, you probably have about 20 percent of your data that is not useful. Getting rid of it and concentrate your database marketing efforts on the most useful records.
The second task is to bolster the records you do have and improve their quality. This is where the data audit comes in. A good data audit will profile your data and let you know which elements are useful and should be kept. With a data audit in hand, you can concentrate on completing fields that need additional information and cleaning up those that have errors.
Finally, your comparison of what you need to identify the best customers and what you have already on hand may provide a list of data elements that you don’t have. That’s where acquisition plays a key role. Interestingly, most marketers go to acquiring data first. But without knowing what is really needed and what you already have makes acquiring data an expensive first step.
Next Strategies 5-7
About the author
Theresa Kushner is a journalist-turned-marketer and currently Executive Vice President at Dell leading their state of the art nalytics initiative. Formerly she was Vice President of Enterprise Information Management at VMware responsible for master data management, business intelligence and advanced analytics. She and Maria Villar co-write a column for LatinBusinessToday.com. They are co-authors of Managing Your Business Data: From Chaos to Confidence, published by Racom Books in 2008.Website