Building Databases

Building Dynamic Databases

Do you have the best possible database, and are you putting it to the most effective use? Technology – especially the Internet – has provided the greatest opportunity in history to acquire information about customers and potential customers, and fine-tune that information for an unprecedented level of accuracy in targeting your marketing and advertising efforts.

The more specific the pitch or campaign to your customers – whether they’re distributors, retailers or consumers – the more receptive they’ll be. But because database technology is changing so rapidly, keeping up with all the possibilities is a challenge. Our Interactive division provides the following insight:

Make your website work. Many businesses still think of their website as an online catalog instead of a powerful tool for mining information about visitors. Surveys are an excellent way to begin because they’re easy and effective. Determine what kind of information you want to gather, then post a few survey questions at a time on a weekly or monthly basis. Of course, provide incentives (promotional items, exclusive content downloads, discounts, etc.) for completing them. You’ll learn the specifics that will form the foundation of a database receptive to your message (more about that later in this column).

Next, use your website to build on this foundation. New interactive technologies make it possible to track where visitors are going on your website, which products they’re looking at, and other online activity (all without identifying the individual visitor). By combining demographics with this information, you can finetune your database to a highly refined degree.

Personalize messages for everyone. You can directly address each audience segment in your database with a personalized message geared toward their particular niche. Again, interactive web technologies make it possible to create dynamic content with an individual touch – no matter how large your database.

Having said that…

Send messages your customers want to hear. Use your knowledge about your current and potential customers to educate them about how your business can meet their needs. Don’t insist on talking about apples if you know your target market wants to hear about kumquats. Like every other element of marketing, even the most dynamic database is only as effective as how it’s used.