Enhance What You've Got, to Get What You Want
By Hallie Mummert
As a direct marketer, you probably often ask yourself, "What do I know about my customers? What do I know about my prospects?" But you really should ask yourself: What do I need to know about my customers and prospects to help me market smarter?
A great place to start is your own transactional data. But this isn't always enough to tell you which offer is the best one for the second sales attempt— or, more precisely, which customers might not respond to a cross-sell offer, say for car insurance, because they don't own cars.
To enhance your relationship with customers and maximize your chances for successful prospecting, you need to consider enhancing your database.
Benefits of Enhancement
Before we discuss the nitty-gritty of how enhancement works, let's look at the benefits of enhancing your lists.
"There is one major benefit—no matter what your ultimate use of the data—and that is enhancement aids profiling," says Dennis Kooker, COO at KnowledgeBase Marketing, in Richardson, TX.
Behavior tells you some of your customers' preferences, he explains, but it doesn't tell you how to market to them. Lifestyle data, demographics, and geographics fill in the unknowns to help you paint a more complete picture of these people.
For example, says Gary Van Roekel, vice president of marketing, Melissa Data Corp., geographic data can help you find zones such as retirement communities or places of seasonal residence. With this insight, you can target a consumer segment that's likely to have grandchildren, or avoid sending offers to a vacation home during the off-season.
Enhancement is most effective for gaining insight into your current customers, but it can improve response to prospecting lists, too.
Mary Ann Kleinfelter, president and owner of Marketing Solutions Today in Milford, NH, notes that when it's hard to get the budget to prospect, you need to prospect smarter. "With prospects, you have no transaction-level data; so you need to enhance these files to know enough to prospect effectively," Kleinfelter says.