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5 Things To Look Out For When Building a Marketing Database

By Nick Price

The goal of your database is to maximize customer value through conversion, retention and repeat sales. And, it allows you to create new marketing opportunities. A database is not just a collection of names. It’s a collection of individualized, behavioral information, isolated to each customer that allows for selective targeted marketing. It provides comprehensive, up-to-date and relevant information about prospects and/or clients, and will pay for itself quickly with visible, measurable sales if the data is high quality.

1) Before you do anything, define your objectives and audience.

Defining your target buyer will help you identify what data you currently have and how to use it, what data to find to augment your data, etc. You can do so by establishing an array of buyer personas for you products. A buyer persona is a detailed description of the quintessential person for whom your product or service was designed for. A successful buyer persona exhibits not only the subject’s job title and industry, but also their behaviors, character traits, goals and affirmations. Taking the time to meet with your sales team to suss out specific buyer personas is a fast and easy way to keep both marketing and sales efforts on the same track.

2) Learn more about your current prospects.

Unlike mass marketing, database marketing focuses on targeting only the people most likely to respond to your message. The best place to start with building a marketing database for your business is always your current customers. They are more likely than anyone to respond because they already know and like your business. Your customer list is also a gold mine for identifying the key characteristics of your client base. Knowing this information, you can build or acquire lists of people with shared characteristics. They will be more likely than the average person to be interested in your service.

3) Self-Supplied vs. Crowd Sourced Data

In the database world, self-supplied data suggests that users willfully offer their information to be entered into a company’s marketing database via opt-in. Crowd-sourced data works more like a co-op. A collection of marketers offer their own databases in exchange for access to a larger pool of contacts. Which of the two do you think would work best for your company?

4) User Activity/Behavioral Information

Effective database software will be able to quickly identify when users where last active—and offer this information via a variety of search methods. For example, a database for email marketing should not only contain standard business-card contact information (name, job title, company etc.) but also some form of personalized activity like recent promotional downloads or tradeshow attendance. A database should quickly be able to find statistical information based on searches. As with the previous example, company marketing departments use their database of prospects to establish which users would be interested in a given campaign/product/service based on past behavioral activity previously captured.

5) Normalized Data

Normalize your marketing database with standard forms, and utilize tiers within the database to remove duplicate information. The goal here is to ensure a smart, searchable database based on your goals.

If your database building efforts include all of the above (even 4 out of 5 should be fine), you’ll have the foundation of a marketing database that contains meaningful and relevant information to improve upon

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organizational management that can directly impact sales revenue.


Nick Price

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