Database Marketing: A 24-point Checklist
Putting customer databases in a relational form makes it possible to store an unlimited amount of information about any customer or prospect, and retrieve it in an instant in a hundred different ways. Relational databases are essential to modern database marketing.
Linked to a customer marketing database, Caller ID permits a customer service representative (CSR) to pull up a customer’s complete record before taking a call. As a result, the CSR can speak to the customer as if she knows her, bonding with her and building close rapport. This helps deliver on the promise of database marketing.
A Web site with cookies can do almost everything that a live operator can do—and much more. It can show customers pictures of the product, instructions, background information and details, while enabling them to print this customized information. Web sites are not wonderful at selling. They are a tremendous research tool and customer bonding and ordering tool. No database marketer can really be successful without a personalized Web site with cookies or some other customer identification mechanism.
Despite SPAM, e-mail marketing has emerged as a powerful database marketing tool. The ability to contact customers immediately with transactional information (e.g., “Your product was shipped today. Here is the tracking number …”) makes for vastly improved customer relationships, leading to retention and increased sales.
#10—Tests and Controls
Since 1980 marketers have been sending out direct mail and measuring the response to each campaign. Today, we can use our databases to measure much more. Setting aside customers in a control group, we can measure with pinpoint accuracy the short- and long-term effect of any marketing initiative.
Most customers are delighted to participate in well-designed loyalty programs. Airlines have been successful with these programs, and their use has spread to supermarkets, hotels, retail stores and a variety of industries. They are part of the mix of retention-building services that database marketing has made possible.