Enhance What You've Got, to Get What You Want
What data variables will yield the most insight? To find out, Kleinfelter recommends marketers start with their best customers and append data variables that are relevant to their products and objectives. For example, if you market childrens' book clubs geared toward different age ranges, it would be helpful to know if customers who signed up for the baby book club have older children, too.
Once the data are appended to your file, Kleinfelter advises marketers to segment by data element, and mail the same test effort to each segment. Your response analysis will reveal which types of people respond best, and how much the data required to find them is worth to you.
Van Roekel adds, "There's no reason to mail broadly when you can narrow your audience to a specific, reachable characteristic. In this way you find a more receptive prospect, plus you save on postage and production costs."
A side benefit from enhancing your database is that it makes your housefile more attractive on the list rental market.
How Data Are Collected
Just as you would never rent a list without assessing its quality, you should cast a critical eye on the databases that will be used for enhancement projects.
The two main factors of data collection are source and hygiene, says Sterling Hunt, vice president of data processing at infoUSA and its data marketing services arm, Donnelley Marketing.
Companies that collect data do an analysis of the source of the information and see how well it validates. If they're satisfied with the quality of the data, Hunt says, they purchase it from the seller. In some instances, they may plan to use only a portion of the data they purchased.
Sources of information can be broken into two kinds, says KnowledgeBase's Kooker. Public data are information that can be collected at courthouses and through other published records. Non-public data are from permission-based sources, such as surveys and warranty cards, and non-permission-based sources, such as data collected from customers by the primary business and shared with third parties.