10 Steps to a Successful Database Marketing Campaign - dummies

10 Steps to a Successful Database Marketing Campaign

By David Semmelroth

Preparation is the key to successful database marketing campaigns. This article talks about the core functions you need to address prior to executing your marketing communication. Though the details may differ, the basic idea behind each of these steps applies equally to any direct communication channel.

Focus on your target audience

A clear understanding of your target audience is the core of good marketing campaigns. Knowing who they are, what they need, and how best to communicate with them must drive your marketing strategy, your offer, your message, and virtually everything else about your campaign.

Have a clear message

Don’t allow fancy creative or clever gimmicks to get in the way of your message. You’ve surely had the experience of seeing a really clever and entertaining TV commercial that you remember clearly without remembering what the commercial was actually advertising. Don’t do that. Simple and straightforward is most effective in direct communications.

Coordinate with other marketing efforts

It’s rare that a direct marketing communication is done in a vacuum. TV, radio, print, and other kinds of advertising and marketing campaigns are almost always happening as well. Know what other messages from your company are out there and why. You don’t want to confuse customers with mixed or conflicting messages.

Don’t forget the call to action

Tell customers explicitly what you want them to do. Don’t assume they know how to respond to your message. Ask them to visit your website, stop into your local retail store, or call your customer service center.

Proofread your communication carefully

Everybody who’s been doing direct marketing for any period of time has a horror story about sending out a communication with an embarrassing typo or costly error. Incorrect dates for a sale, an inadvertently generous discount, or swapped digits in your telephone number are all errors that render a campaign useless or worse. Have several people proof your communication carefully to avoid these problems.

Clean up your mail file

Addresses change all the time. It’s important to update addresses using third-party services like the USPS immediately before putting your campaign in market. This reduces mail costs, and in the case of e-mails it reduces the risk of having a lot of e-mails bounce.

Remove opt-outs

It’s vital — and in many cases required by regulations — that you avoid communicating with people who have said they don’t want to hear from you. Junk mail and spam are simply not effective from a business perspective. They can also lead to some pretty negative consequences. You may be blacklisted by service providers. In the case of spam, you may also find yourself paying hefty fines.

Decide how you will track responses

Telling who’s responded to a communication isn’t always easy. It may be necessary to set up a tracking mechanism, like an offer code, to be able to tie purchases back to a campaign. You need to think through your tracking process before you mail.

Create a measurement plan

You also need to decide beforehand what you want to learn from your campaign. You may want to test a couple of different offers. Compare the effectiveness of an offer between two different target audiences, for example. Deciding ahead of time allows you to create a well-designed experiment that has a good chance of giving you the insight you seek.

Create a control group

The most powerful tool in your measurement toolkit is your control group. Why? Holding out a control group helps you clearly understand how well your campaign performed and even how much net revenue it generated.