Let’s start by considering what it actually is. Essentially, it’s a highly effective method of targeted marketing to existing and/or potential clients. Effective because each campaign is tailored to the recipients in terms of content and timing, and is often part of a phased programme leading to a specific “event” or deadline. The delivery method can vary – good old-fashioned post, but also email, SMS, and increasingly a variety of social media engines such as Twitter. Many successful campaigns use a variety of these methods in conjunction.
What differentiates it from traditional techniques such as direct mail is the specificity and relevance of each campaign, and thus the effectiveness. In 2012 a survey of businesses revealed the effectiveness of various marketing methods – here are the top five:
- Email marketing (83%)
- Website (SEO and content) (71%)
- Person to person (68%)
- Social media (49%)
- Events (41%)
Direct mailing (generally non-specific and untargeted) came well down the list at only 21%.
What this tells us is that, to maximise the effectiveness of your marketing activities you need to be looking beyond the traditional methods, consider well-planned database-driven marketing techniques, and along the way embracing social media.
But this begs the question, where do you get the data from?
Garbage in, garbage out
It’s a term often used in computing, but exactly the same principle applies to database driven marketing i.e. if the quality of your data is poor, the effectiveness of the campaign will be poorer still. Do you ever receive marketing letters with your name spelt wrong? If you do – as I do – then the mild irritation usually results in the letter going straight into the recycling bin, however good the product. And of course if your name is spelt incorrectly in an email, you’ll probably never even receive it!
But that’s the easy part – or should be. The more difficult part is the associated data – purchasing history, likes/dislikes, opt ins/outs, various other preferences – get these right and you can see how effective a targeted email could be. An easy example to illustrate this is Amazon. If you shop there, you’ll get the “people who bought XYZ also bought ABC” type emails, and more often than not (in my case) I do the deal!
Then there’s the timing. If, say, you’re advertising an event, you might send out a sequence of emails with different content, perhaps offering discounts for early booking, backed up by SMS messages and tweets. Keeping the event “front of mind” and maximising the chances of a positive response.
Let’s not forget the content, either. We all seem to have shorter and shorter attention spans, so the content needs to be clear, precise, attractive, “punchy”, and to the point. How much time do you give marketing emails that you receive yourself? My point exactly …
So where do I get the database that I need to make this work?
Unfortunately, it’s not easy, which is why companies like Amazon spend large sums on complex algorithms to track browsing and buying behaviour, and why the large corporates invest huge sums on CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and back-office systems. Even so, it all boils down to the simple point of getting “quality” data. How about these three terms:
So how do you get these? Well, the starting point has to be your existing customers and their purchasing and enquiry history. Leaving aside the fact that it’s always easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one, you already have their data! The trick is, as mentioned, to keep it up-to-date.
Beyond that, you’ll usually have to invest in buying (or renting) data, and/or gathering it using a telemarketing approach either in-house (if you have the available resource) or from specialist companies.
And so finally to the marketing itself …
You know what you want to do. You have an idea about the database, and have perhaps made a start. What next? How do you get going and start to get some tangible, positive results?
The good news is, you’re in exactly the right place. Calderstone have a successful track record of building very effective campaigns for a wide variety of clients, and can advise and give you expert advice on all aspects of database-driven marketing. Click here for some specific information, here for our home page, and here to learn why us. Were sure we’ll be able to help.
In our next article we’ll be changing topic again and looking at point of sale and retail – we hope you’ll enjoy it.