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What’s in a Data Driven Marketing Database?

The specific data that comes from a data driven marketing database that best suits your needs is highly dependent on both your business and your systems environment. But there are some categories of data — referred to usually as subject areas — that are fairly universal in data driven marketing databases. The following list gives a brief description of the most common subject areas:

  • Address data: Address means more than just postal address. This category includes e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, cell phone numbers, and any other contact information that you might use. This category also includes customer contact preferences and records customer requests to opt out of communications.

  • Transaction data: Includes what you know about what the customer has bought from you and when. It includes information about where and how each purchase was made — for example, online versus at a store. Because there tends to be a lot of it, transaction data almost always needs to be summarized to make it manageable.

  • Demographics: Age, income, and marital status are typical examples of demographic data. A staggering array of data is available from third-party vendors. These vendors are typically quite willing to work with you to identify the data that is most relevant to your business

  • Internet/mobile device data: Virtual profiles are a valuable source of customer information. Because customers frequently create these profiles themselves, the profiles contain information that comes directly from the customer. This self-reported data can be some of the best quality data in your database.

  • Shopper data: This category is similar to the transaction category. The difference is that these records didn’t end in purchases. Browsing your website, requesting a catalog, and signing up for a newsletter are all considered shopping behaviors.

  • Campaign history: An absolutely critical part of your database, this is a record of your marketing campaigns and who responded to them.

One thing to keep in mind is that data is being updated all the time. But not all data is updated on the same schedule. It’s important to be aware of the “freshness” of your data.

Your database needs to keep track of when data has been updated. This is standard operating procedure in database management. Virtually all database software provides the ability to “stamp” every piece of data with the date and time that it enters the database. These date and time stamps provide you with the ability to determine not just what’s going on with your customers, but when.

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