Compiled data: more than a mailing list

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Many companies use multiple lists in their direct marketing programs, including compiled national consumer databases. The strategic use of compiled data can deliver benefits far beyond its utility as a mailing list.

For savvy marketers, the uses of compiled data also include:

Modeling and analytics

--Providing an analytical foundation: Robust modeling and analytics, enabled by continuous access to data for appending, can improve response and conversion to sale by detecting common characteristics that can identify and score the prospects most likely to respond and buy. The data becomes a source of understanding for assessment and refinement.

--Refining existing segmentation: Data enhancement can help refine existing prospect groupings. The richer the data, the more accurately the target can be defined.

--New responder/buyer models: Experience allows companies to model for buyers, not just responders or interested consumers, and those buyers can be defined by dozens of weighted variables resulting in more precise targeting by score ranges.

--Development of suppression models: Compiled data can be used to identify and score consumers through predictive models who are least likely to respond and convert to sale, a suppression technique which can significantly improve the efficiency of acquisition programs.

--Maximizing mail history: Demographics and psychographics linked to mail history can provide a much richer analytical resource for understanding and capitalizing on RFM indicators and lead conversion to sale.

--Developing a customized clustering methodology. Company-specific segmentation that clusters prospects demographically, psychographically and behaviorally can raise acquisition programs to new levels of efficiency and ease of implementation.

Contact Strategies

--Refinement of selection criteria: Access to appended data can provide much better selectivity and segmentation. An example would be the use of wealth information in combination with income levels to create a more accurate affordability ranking for customer segments.

--Enhancing creative execution: Every agency creative director's fondest wish is to have a clearer fix on the target. Data that sharpens and adds specificity to the definition of targeted segments can be an invaluable aid in developing more effective creative.

--Retaining customer relationships: Data enhancement provides valuable information needed to model for attrition and retention. An investment in retaining existing members is almost always more cost-justifiable than the investment required to replace customers who have left.

--Extending customer relationships: Enhancing customer records with appended data can help to identify and score customers likely to buy additional products or services.

--Market flexibility: Sooner or later, most national marketers realize that regional differences are real. Prospects and customers in Peoria, IL, are different from those in Naples, FL, and neither are like people who live in Los Angeles. Having access to the consumer data that defines those differences can facilitate an understanding of how marketplace dynamics are different and what to do about it.

Reporting

--Better intelligence across all media: Negotiating unlimited use of compiled data allows it to be used for appending and analytics as well as mailing. Appending information to leads sourced from media other than direct mail, such as direct response television, for example, can provide a greater depth of understanding of the prospect universe.

--Reporting by relevant criteria: Some data elements are more important than others in defining the prospects most likely to respond. Reports that array responses, leads and sales by multiple criteria such as home ownership, income and net worth, family composition and gender, among many others, can be important measures in making promotions more effective.

--Measuring market penetration: Having access to all consumers within a geographical marketing footprint can provide accurate penetration statistics of the real market in geographically defined subsets. Penetration statistics on existing products can also provide important guidance in the development of new product variations and assessment of delivery systems.

--Analyzing the product mix: Rich data on who is buying existing products and leading to an understanding of who will likely buy new product variations usually plays an important role in the product development process.

Marketing Operations

--Cost containment: Least-cost planning to take advantage of relatively inexpensive compiled data, as opposed to more expensive vertical lists, can substantially reduce list costs, achieved by establishing a non-variable fixed-price license for unlimited use of the data.

--Mapping to the distribution channel: When non-national companies expand geographically, it is important to be sure that the actual market potential of a new geographical footprint is carefully aligned with the expansion of the distribution network. Access to robust consumer data can support the market profiles necessary to make such judgments.

--Developing new products: Understanding the demographic and psychographic makeup of specific customer segments can help greatly in the development of new products tailored to their needs.

--Making real-time interactions more effective: Customer and prospect data enhancements linked to call center applications and made accessible in real time to customer service representatives can dramatically enhance the interaction experience. Additionally, models can use the data to score prospects and customers for specific product interests, providing guidance for the CSR's efforts in selling.

--Customized fulfillment: The more we know about individual consumers, the more precise we can be in communicating with them after they have responded. Mature database marketing programs usually have differing fulfillment packages, created with data-based variables, that result in higher close ratios.

In a consumer direct marketing environment, data is the foundation that drives all direct marketing initiatives, and the major source of information enrichment that makes analytical and strategic breakthroughs possible. It is at the heart of the process.

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