Mind Your Own Business … Data
September 1, 2007

In business data, nothing is more important than accuracy. And in B-to-B marketing, data represents a company’s most important asset—its customers. The more specific and current information companies have about their customers, the more effectively they can target their market and deliver their message to those customers. And, because a “customer” includes both the business and the contacts within the business, it is essential to keep both types of information up-to-date. With complete and accurate customer data, a marketing database truly can become a knowledge center for a business. The keys to finding and maintaining quality B-to-B data are: * Keep data accurate during

Meredith Corp.
September 1, 2007

Since 1902, Meredith Corp., a Des Moines, Iowa-based publishing and broadcasting company, has focused on reader feedback when creating direct mail campaigns. This emphasis on keeping publication offerings and direct mail packages simple, based on reader surveys, has helped grow the company to include more than 15 home, family and personal development women’s magazines; 200 special interest publications; and 14 TV stations. With 2006 annual sales nearly $1.6 billion, Vice President of Consumer Marketing David Ball attributes the company’s success to a continued investment in direct marketing. “We feel our competitors have pulled back from direct marketing because of the costs, but [our] management

Editor’s Notes: All Data is not Equal
September 1, 2007

Like all mediums, direct mail is evolving to better fit the consumer’s expectations. The evolution to more customized mailings has been a long time in the making, but online media have hastened the process by providing marketers with additional insights into their customers’ behaviors and possibly by showing up their offline counterparts. Whatever the reason—and advancements in technology, for sure, have played a big role—it’s welcomed progress. Unless, however, marketers get so bogged down with the logistics that they forget to properly plan their data strategy. As many direct marketing experts have admonished—including the former editor of this magazine—just because you have data on a

Three Reasons Not to Build a Model
August 22, 2007

While it’s true that plenty of direct marketers are employing models to improve such factors as response rate, profit per acquisition and customer retention, this data tool does not fit all business situations. And, building a successful model takes more than simply the go-ahead from the corner office. Maria Marsala Herlihy, senior vice president of strategic consulting and analytics at KnowledgeBase Marketing, a Richardson, Texas-based database marketing solutions provider, defined three common scenarios in which a marketer should not invest in a model during her session, When Good Models Go Bad, at the DM Days NY Conference & Expo held earlier this year. Change—“The best models

Personalization: Data to Use and Ways to Put Them in Action
August 15, 2007

Personalizing your marketing messages can be a great way to connect with prospects. But to be truly effective, personalization must go beyond a person’s name. It must address an individual’s needs, interests and desires. In addition to basic geographic and demographic data, there are myriad other types of data you can use to make your messages more relevant. Here, three experts explain the types of data that can be used to personalize marketing messages and a few ways to use these data to your advantage.

CUNA Mutual Group’s Dave Griffith on Attitudinal Data Framing
August 15, 2007

It’s not a phrase you hear much about yet, but “attitudinal data framing” increasingly will be a strategy that direct marketers discover, and a few years down the road, possibly even rely on. I had the pleasure of hearing a joint presentation on the subject at the recent Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) 2007 DM Days New York Conference & Expo. The topic was explored by Dave Griffith, director of consumer analytics at Madison, Wis.–based CUNA Mutual Group, a leading provider of financial services to credit unions and their members worldwide, and Mark Graham, senior vice president at Chapel Hill, N.C.–based marketing research firm and

Nuts & Bolts: Tech Talk
August 1, 2007

Bill Pay on the Go A recent Harris Interactive survey reports that 35 percent of consumers pay bills online. Now, mobile bill pay is making online payments even easier. Cyphermint recently partnered with financial services company Fidelity Express to provide mobile bill payment services through PayCash Mobile via Fidelity XpressPay. After registering at, consumers can initiate a payment from their cell phones or schedule a mobile bill pay alert. When a payment is due, customers receive an alert and can pay with a single click from a Fidelity mWallet, or mobile wallet, account managed from any cell phone, personal computer or PayCash-enabled

Database: The Missing Link
August 1, 2007

Does your marketing execution pursue strategy or tactics? Do you have the tools to help you pursue both to success? First you must know the difference between strategy and tactics. Strategy: the grand design, the plan for obtaining a specific goal, such as learning how to sell trucks. Tactics: a set of actions, devices or methods in service of the strategy, such as each day’s coursework in a sales class about how to sell trucks. The Goal The most effective marketers focus successively on their strategy and their tactics. Accomplishing this ideal approach requires the development and execution of a strategy through the well-organized and efficientperformance

People Magazine’s Jacqueline Meltzer on List Prospecting
August 1, 2007

Few would argue that list prospecting just ain’t what it used to be. “Been there, tested that,” aptly describes the reality of sourcing names for marketing managers with seasoned products to promote. But opportunities still are out there for those list pros who are willing to walk a little further and look a little harder—work reminiscent of the days when the list business was just getting off the ground. One marketer who will be sharing her group’s rolled-up-our-sleeves stories at tomorrow’s List Day, held at the Marriott Marquis, is Jacqueline Meltzer, senior marketing manager for People magazine. She will present list prospecting ideas as part

The Five Types of Marketing Dashboards
July 18, 2007

Marketing dashboards have created a buzz in the direct marketing arena, but what exactly can they do and what are the benefits of using them? A marketing dashboard is a specially designed widget, configured to show vital company statistics, updated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, depending on who the stats are for (executives, managers, statisticians, etc.). Dashboards can help marketers get a better grasp on one of their most important, and often overlooked, direct marketing tools: data. According to Devyani Sadh, CEO of Stamford, Conn.-based Data Square, a business-intelligence solutions provider, “businesses only use 7 percent of their data to make strategic