Database Marketing Trends
Target Marketing spoke with Forrester Research’s Senior Analyst Dave Frankland, who provided database marketing tips for 2008.
Target Marketing: What factors are driving database marketing investments at direct marketing companies?
Dave Frankland: Analytics is probably the biggest driver of marketing investment right now. Marketers are investing in visualization technologies, market mix modeling, as well as predictive and descriptive analytics. Analytics tools have become more user-friendly, such that nontechnical marketers can glean insight that in the past would have required time and input from technical resources. The power of insight is sitting directly with those that have the power to execute as a result.
Marketing databases are increasingly being used for more than direct marketing. In the most sophisticated cases, marketing databases—and the department that runs them—are viewed as a critical strategic asset. In these organizations, the marketing database provides insights well beyond the marketing department, helping to drive elements such as corporate strategy, product development and merger and acquisition activity. Socializing the marketing database insights beyond the direct marketing department requires a new breed of database marketer—one that can marry strategic and business thinking with database and analytics expertise.
TM: What database marketing activities still largely are underfunded?
DF: True cross-channel contact optimization is still a long way off for most organizations. Most organizations can point to isolated examples, but very few can claim to have a well-orchestrated, multichannel, optimized strategy.
Multichannel has meant e-mail and direct mail to so many marketers; and just as many begin to combine the view of their e-mail and direct mail customers, they are also adding on multiple other communications channels that increase the complexity and levels of data that they must then analyze and optimize.
TM: For which database marketing activities will direct marketers scale back budgets?
DF: Direct mail activity is in flux in many organizations as they reduce their mail volumes. Budgets in many cases remain constant though due to postal increases that offset the savings by mailing less. That being said, there are plenty of organizations increasing their direct mail volumes.