Data – lifeblood of marketing

Data – the lifeblood of marketing and never more so than today

1:1 marketing enables you to have a personal discussion with each and every member of your audience. These discussions are all driven by the information you hold about each person in your database. Where do they live? Where do they shop? What do they buy? Who do they vote for?

But the problem with storing information about people is that it doesn’t take long for it to go out of date. People change. They change their address, they change their preferences, they can even change their gender!

Unless you constantly strive to keep your database up to date, it won’t be long before it becomes so error-ridden that it becomes useless. If you rely on a dirty set of data, your marketing campaign can fail dismally to a point where it can end up costing you significantly (e.g. the mail provider can charge you for each ‘return to sender’ piece of mail they return to you).

Listed below are five points to keep in mind about database management:

1. Make sure the information is correct.

In 1:1 marketing campaigns you absolutely must have accurate data. If you are relying on factual information about a person and you get it wrong (e.g. assume someone’s gender based on their name), you could actually be causing damage to your brand rather than enhancing it.

2. Remove erroneous characters & spaces.

It’s amazing how much damage an erroneous character or a misplaced space in a field can cause some software. It can crash some marketing software completely. Before you merge your document with your database, take some time to make sure that there are no hidden time-bombs in your database waiting to cause you a headache.

3. Watch out for incorrect capitalisation.

If you send me a piece of mail addressed to me and my name doesn’t have a capital letter, it is going straight into the bin. This can be even trickier for people with mixed case names such as McIntosh.

4. Integrate your databases.

If you are trying to use multiple databases in the same campaign, you are asking for trouble. All it takes is one simple slipup when marrying your document with a field and you could be in all sorts of trouble. Take the time to integrate your databases.

5. Use your data to its full potential.

Ok, technically, this isn’t a problem with your data, but it is still a mistake that many people make. If you have a comprehensive and accurate database, make sure that you use it to its full potential. Don’t use your wonderful database just for a simple mail merge. Talk to an expert (hint hint) about how you can use your data to create a truly impressive personalised marketing campaign.

The two takeaways from this are:

1. You must take time to make sure that your database is as clean, clear and as accurate as possible. Don’t give into temptation to spend your time on the creative aspect of your campaign and ignore the database.

2. Be creative! Make sure you make the most of your data. Make each marketing message truly personal to each recipient.