Build interactive marketing programs upon solid data

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Joel Book
Joel Book

The emergence and adoption of database marketing seems to mirror that of social media marketing — everyone is talking about it; few marketers are doing it; and of those participating, very few do it well.


Even the most sophisticated messages in the world don't resonate with customers if a brand doesn't understand their preferences and behaviors. Yet, marketers continue to miss opportunities to engage with customers because their information and processes are outdated before the data is even aggregated and sorted.


Making data actionable, however, isn't as easy as it sounds. According to a recent study conducted by eConsultancy, 98% of marketers use at least three channels to deliver messages to their customers, but more than half still store the data they gather from each channel in separate locations. In the same study, 71% percent said maintaining high-quality data is a major challenge.


When data comes together in a single platform, it not only eliminates challenges of multiple providers and disjointed databases — it provides marketers with the one consistent view of their customers.


This is the challenge for 2011: strategically merging customer data in order to create more effective marketing programs and creative. You can start with a few simple tactics to help you easily utilize customer information:


  • Assess your data. Making a change to the way you currently use data starts with an assessment. What data do you have access to? Where is it coming from? Understand what tools you have to work with before you take action.

  • Implement a program. Decide how you're going to use your data. What do you want to accomplish? How often will you revisit the data? Taking action starts with specific goals.

  • Measure often. After you begin using your data, don't forget to measure your program's effectiveness. Measure often, adjust often and test, test, test. Ask what is "moving the needle?" What's impacting your bottom line? If you've sent a communication to subscribers that doesn't appear to be producing an impact on your business, stop it and try something new. 

  • Investigate. Use your 
data to work backward. By 
understanding what information is driving your click-through rates, find out what your subscribers are clicking through to most often. From that point, drive conversions using that content. Use data to turns clicks into money.
Joel Book is a principal in the marketing research and education group at ExactTarget. Reach him at jbook@exacttarget.com.
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