Building A Data Warehouse (1,009 words)
by Eric Cohen
To understand how to develop a database marketing solution, it's important to first understand what a database marketing system is and how it can positively impact your business. A database marketing system starts first with the data you have in your customer database.
Take Inventory: What Do You Have?
Similar to taking an inventory of products, you should inventory your data. Your data may be centrally stored and managed in one place, or it may be distributed throughout your business, as well as potentially stored in the databases of your business partners. Identifying the sources of data, and understanding how that data will be used over time are critical for collecting a comprehensive view of your customers. From the data you collect, you can determine the answers to the following questions:
• Where do your customers live?
• What have they purchased? What have they returned?
• How often have they purchased?
• How did they come to you initially?
• How do they order? Phone, mail, Web?
• What do you know about their families? Occupations? Payment histories?
If you're marketing in a business-to-business environment, are multiple people from the same company ordering your products? What about headquarters vs. branch offices? The answers to these questions—and more—are the gas that will run your database marketing engine. Additional fuel to your engine is knowing how your organization intends to use the data. Most likely, everyone in your organization will not require to see all of your customer data, but will be required to see everything in the data you have collected about a particular customer or industry-type of customer. And, like a car, the more gas you have, the further you can go.
Shop Around: What Do You Need?
In addition to the data you collect internally, consider external data that could be appended to your customer database, such as demographics (income ranges, ages, race, marital status, household type, etc.), neighborhood lifestyle clusters, purchasing behavior, media preferences, credit history and more. Think of every available database, evaluate its usefulness, and then obtain it to add to your file.