Put aside department differences for better database marketing

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Knowing how to leverage the enormous amount of data generated by our modern-day marketing ecosystem is a difficult but necessary task. We have a plethora of new behavioral data points and metrics that need to be considered. Here's just a few things introduced this past decade:  smartphones, social networks, location-based technology and quick response (QR) bar codes.

Most organizations house a wealth of customer insight captured along the customer's continuum. However, corporate America is generally decentralized in how it uses the information and makes decisions. Independently each channel crafts its message, develops marketing plans, launches campaigns and measures its effect.

Online marketers tend to think offline marketing is stodgy and old school while offline marketers view online as living in the moment. Imagine if we put aside our territorial differences, figured out a way to combine and make use of our customer data across channels. We may accidently create a more eloquent picture of our customer's behaviors and interests, which could lead to more relevant offers achieving higher conversion rates.

When talking to marketers, I hear a common theme: “We are optimizing our data to improve our marketing campaigns.”  If you dig into this statement you'll learn they are usually referring to optimization within their own dataset as opposed to across channels. Before you turn around, a new marketing vehicle will be present.

There are so many interesting ways to massage data across channels and generate relevant targeted communications. Last holiday season I purchased a life-size removable Dora the Explorer wall sticker for my daughter's room. When I refinanced my home last month, I received a gift with my closing documents — a new set of related removable wall stickers and a note from my lender thanking me for my business. It included a one page marketing slick that noted how the company where I bought the wall sticker was owned by their same parent company. I was delighted. Now I had a gift for my daughter in the midst of completing the otherwise annoying process of finalizing a refinance. Not only is this a well executed cross-channel promotion, but it is a meticulous leverage of cross-subsidiary data that hit a home run.

 To hit your own home run, consider combining the following data: Web analytics, e-mail click-throughs and QR with customer purchase history. Consider in-store latitude and longitude insight and close the loop with a subtle message via e-mail or SMS with an incentive to try a new product line. Acquire tools required to combine and segment your cross-channel data. There are so many opportunities to enhance your customer's experience and extend their lifetime value that your organization will quickly realize new benefits.

Michelle Eichner is the VP of product management for Unica, an IBM company.

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