How should small business owners handle their customer databases?
Whether you are a small or large company, your lists are your lifeblood.
And the maintenance and management of them often becomes one of those activities that continually falls to the bottom of that endless list. And this is a huge mistake – because it affects sales outreach and marketing in an extremely negative way.
Our company provides different types of marketing support for event producers, media companies, associations, and others.
Telemarketing has become a large component of our company's projects - and one thing I have noticed in doing this for about 7 years - is that many of the lists we receive for calling are terrible...
We call people who have been gone for companies for years, or worse yet - have died years before. It has led me to wonder about how companies can and should refresh and renew their lists on a regular basis.
Arguably, for media companies, their lists are their bread and butter - they sell access to their advertisers and exhibitors and their lists need to be current, accurate and well researched.
Sponsors, advertisers and exhibitors now expect a much more personal experience - where number of leads is much less important than reaching the right contact.
But this is also true of other companies – whether business-to-business or business-to-consumer – you cannot be successful if you don’t know who your customer is.
There are other list issues as well. Very few seem to segment their lists - so it is not always easy to pull a prospect list that really fits the need - so we tend to contact everyone.
No wonder people unsubscribe - and there is such high list fatigue!
The answer is a very tedious process - especially when it has not been done for a long time or ever. Few companies can afford to free up their already busy employees to tackle a project like this. My contention is - you cannot afford NOT to do it.
If we don't do it - we are living in a constant state of denial - telling our clients that our list is over 100,000 (or whatever) - when 20,000 or more of the names are not viable. We are kidding them and ourselves - those lists are not useful for anyone and affect the success of your campaigns and events.
What is the answer?
Be honest with yourself on your lists - and take action. We have worked with many of our clients on list building and refreshing - as well list cleanup and verification. Or - do it in-house - but make sure it gets done.
The longer you wait, the worse it will be.
For us - we call the lists as given to us - and try to correct them where we can. But, we hate to do projects that have bad lists - because it adversely affects our call campaigns. Our goal in calling is to assist you with your marketing - and reaching out to the wrong people just wastes your (the client's) money....
Is this something that has affected your company? What have you found to be most effective in your industry?
About the author
Christina Condos is president of her event management consultancy, Kentwood Partners. She has spent close to 30 years in the event industry running large trade shows, small conferences and everything in between and has worked on events in many diverse industries including technology, franchise, travel, education and marketing, to name a few. She holds a BBA in Business from Adelphi University and has been honored as a Woman to Watch by Min Online in 2008 and Show Manager of the Year by the Expo Group in 2002.Website