Data Driven Database Marketing Campaigns - dummies

Data Driven Database Marketing Campaigns

By David Semmelroth

Database marketing campaigns are communications that are intended to get your customers to do something specific, like buy a widget. Often, these campaigns are designed to address a specific business opportunity. For example, you may be asked to help counteract a shortfall in projected sales. Or you may be asked to expand the customer base for a specific product.

When presented with such a task, you need to ask yourself some questions:

  • Who is likely to buy said product?

  • What would make them more likely to buy the product?

  • How should I communicate with them?

  • When should I communicate with them?

The answers to these questions form the basis for your database marketing campaign development.

How to narrow your focus to the target audience in data driven marketing

One thing that distinguishes the discipline of database marketing from that of mass mailings is the way in which you go about deciding whom you communicate with. This decision is known as identifying the target audience.

In the case of mass mailings, the target audience is typically very large. Little or no effort is made to identify and exclude customers who are unlikely to respond to your communication. This is known as carpet bombing.

Such mass mailings usually have very low response rates.

Narrowing your target audience also makes it more likely that your message is relevant to your customer. You would craft a very different message to a family with young children than you would to a retired couple, for example.

How to showcase offers with data driven marketing

Many database marketing campaigns are designed to communicate discounts. You may want to announce an upcoming sale, for example. Or you may be offering a bargain on discontinued inventory. This enticement to your customer is known as an offer or promotion.

An offer does not necessarily need to involve a discount. You may be offering information on how to use your new website or about the location of your new store. You may be offering to set up an appointment to look at new cars.

Setting up an appointment to look at new cars highlights another distinguishing aspect of database marketing: Your database may be able to tell you who’s ready to buy a new car. Such information would give you an opportunity to make that sale without having to entice the customer with a steep discount.

It’s not enough just to communicate your offer. You need to tell the customer how to respond. The call to action is a critical component of all of your marketing communications.

Visit our website at…

Stop into our store on Saturday…

Call now to receive…

are examples of calls to action. Always be clear and explicit about what you want the customer to do.

Decide how you will communicate with data driven marketing

How you will communicate is actually a two-part question. First, you need to decide on your communication channel. Traditionally, direct mail and e-mail have been the most common database marketing channels. But a growing number of electronic channels are also available to you, ranging from social media to text messaging. Your website can even be customized to serve up content based on what you know about your customers.

Timing, budget, and the nature of your message all play a role in which channel you chose. Some marketers like to use multiple channels in a communication stream. For example, they may send direct mail and follow up with an e-mail.

Once you know what marketing channel you’re using, you need to develop the actual (or virtual) mail piece, which is commonly called collateral. This process is known as creative development. Creative development is a mix of art and science. It requires graphic design expertise and expertise in writing marketing copy.

You likely will not be doing creative development yourself. But you will be providing guidance to your designers by providing them with a creative brief. This is where you tell your creative team what you’re trying to accomplish. Learning how to communicate your marketing strategy and business goals in a well-written creative brief is key to your success as a database marketer.

When to send offers with data driven marketing

Many database marketing campaigns are very time sensitive. Discount offers are valid for a limited time. Special events, like clearance sales, have specific dates associated with them, and so on. Your customers are busy people and typically cannot respond immediately to your call to action. They need planning time.

You need to get your message in market at the time that it’s most likely to have an impact. This timing depends quite a bit on the nature of your offer and on your business itself. A vacation to Australia requires a good bit of planning and saving by your customer. A new pair of shoes is more of an impulse buy.

You want to be in market early enough that the customer has time to respond to your offer. But you don’t want to be so early that the customer forgets about it. The Australia vacation offer probably needs to be in market several months before the offer is valid. A one day shoe sale promotion might only need a week or two of lead time.

The key building blocks of your database marketing campaign consist of the answers to the who, what, how, and when questions. Here is a summary of these building blocks:

  • The target audience is whom you are communicating with.

  • Your offer or promotion and the associated call to action are what you are communicating.

  • Your marketing collateral and marketing channel are how you are communicating.

  • Your in market date is when you are communicating.

Your database can help you in all four areas.