A quality database is the key to building one-to-one business relationships
Those who sell into business-to-business (B-to-B) markets see great promise in one-to-one marketing, a systematic approach to forming relationships with worthwhile prospects that builds on previous communications and delivers them to the sales team when they are primed for contact.
However, many who have strived to make one-to-one marketing work in their B-to-B campaigns have been met with disappointment: too few leads, very high cost per lead and/or sales force resistance to lead follow-up.
The marketing database is the most critical factor in determining the success of a one-to-one marketing effort, providing the targeting information and acting as the institutional memory for the interactions between a company and its prospects. The key is to ensure the quality of the data within the marketing database. To do so, the data must be consistent, complete and well maintained.
Integrate Data Sources
When the process of implementing a one-to-one marketing program begins, the marketing team often finds itself staring at reams of raw data from disparate sources. There might be several different databases and subdatabases, some with different conventions for input fields, some kept current, some poorly maintained.
The first logical step in making the data consistent is to merge and normalize the data, seeking to arrive at one set of accounts and one set of customer locations (defined here as “sites”), with each unique contact name linked to a site and account. Data aging must be a consideration as well; every month, 2 percent of the data in a prospect database become useless. Take this into account when determining whether to continue to work with older data sets.
The next step is to standardize and grade contacts. To ensure reliable data, each field must be internally consistent (containing the same type of data, in the same format, for each record). Also, the data should be validated using third-party tools, including the U.S. Postal Service’s Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) and National Change of Address (NCOA), and DUNS number matching service from D&B (a unique nine-digit identifier for individual sites, including a relational hierarchy to other corporate entities).