Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What are the keys to successful database marketing

I have restarted my database marketing and crm focused practice. I love the puzzles of the B2B world.
As I review what is happening in the CRM and database marketing areas, I also wanted to revisit some thoughts I had a few years ago.

"Back in the day" I wrote a couple of articles on the 12 keys to successful database marketing and need to re-validate their merit. Hope to hear back from you:

Sometimes database marketing, and the accompaning CRM efforts producesastounding results. Other times, despite the best efforts of dedicated and intelligent people, it falls short of expectations. We wanted to find out, from those who have had the latter experience, why that should be. In retrospect, what would they have done differently? Where does the real world expose the chinks not necessarily covered in academic theories?

Accordingly, we revisited 10 years' worth of database marketing histories from 50 companies.
We talked with them at length, and accumulated masses of hard data and informed speculation. Then, over the course of the last few years, we revalidated our findings, and searched for the
common denominators.

Interestingly, we discovered that all those man-years of experience could essentially be
distilled into twelve key principles for successful database marketing:

1. Understand that successful database marketing is not a technology issue.
2. Draw a picture or process diagram of how the marketing database needs to work.
3. Focus on any output that will be used outside of your direct control.
4. Develop an effective customer contact plan.
5. Do not equate direct marketing with direct mail, nor with telemarketing.
6. Build the database manually first, before you automate it.
7. Collect only data that will absolutely be used in the next 12 months.
8. Be rigid, not flexible.
9. Use a simple but proven software package.
10. Centralize all data entry, and validate outside input files.
11. Build and refresh your database on-line with telemarketing.
12. Build a prototype -- not a pilot.

If you understand and honor these points, experience in the trenches indicates, you are far
more likely to develop a successful program. And if you're already in business with your database marketing and crm effort, but your own program is not measuring up to expectations, you may find the answers lurking in their ranks.