Elderhostel's Mei Fulton Discusses the Nonprofit's Data Mart
Using the patience that comes with age, Boston-based travel organization Elderhostel knew it could greatly improve efficiency by adding a data mart to its direct marketing strategy. Beginning implementation in September 2006, the 34-year-old nonprofit that provides educational travel opportunities to the 55 and older crowd brought the data mart live in May 2007.
Tracking data from direct marketing interactions with its more than 160,000 yearly customers, the first solid trends became evident in early 2008. Now, Mei Fulton, Elderhostel's director of customer relationship management, says the organization that manages more than 400 multichannel campaigns a year is seeing a 20 percent lift in profit per contact. While pleased with the results, she cautions other marketers that "you can't expect [an] overnight benefit."
Still, says Charlotte, N.C.-based Quaero, a CSG Systems solution and the company Elderhostel chose to create and host the data mart, there are more direct marketers who are taking a longer-term view toward improving their direct marketing strategies. Requests for data marts and marketing dashboard-type reports are on the uptick.
Here's Elderhostel's story.
Target Marketing: What event signaled the need for Elderhostel to increase its efficiency with a data mart?
Mei Fulton: ... We have operational systems here where we have a fairly robust IT organization ... I knew there [were] always pros and cons to [having] one data mart or database that really house[s] all your operational data, plus your marketing data; always trying to split that into different marts and just know some of the efficiencies you gain from that. ... We saw also the need to bring to market some of the campaigns more efficiently, which, rather than taking a day to develop a campaign and roll that out … it just wasn't very efficient. And also, from a [business impact] perspective, to gain some of the intelligence that we needed as an organization, we needed something a little more robust.