Turn Partial Data Into Opportunities

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It's a common challenge for many database marketers: You create strategic marketing messages to compel customers and prospects to give you information willingly so you can further enhance their sales and buying experience. But so often, you capture bits and pieces of information.

Someone visits your Web site and gives you an e-mail address in exchange for information or a special offer but no contact name, address or telephone number. You get someone's name and phone number but no geographical information about where the person lives or works.

E-mail address and phone information are great, but this type of partial list information limits your ability to turn prospects into customers and upsell and cross-sell existing customers, making them repeat buyers. That's why some marketers are turning to a relatively new, sophisticated process called reverse data appending.

This data processing technique adds missing physical address information to your file by using multiple national consumer or business databases with e-mail address and phone numbers against your file of e-mail addresses or telephone numbers. Key benefits include:

· Demographic analysis of prospects and buying customers.

· Higher customer conversion rates.

· Turning partial list information into rich prospecting data.

For example, by knowing more about someone who gave you an e-mail address or telephone number, you can compare this new information to your house file of customers to determine what type of prospect and, eventually, customer these new records might bring.

You can even go one step further. Adding physical address information immediately allows you to perform higher-end analysis and segmentation and add demographic information such as age, income, Internet access, business type and sales volume through the more common append process called data appending. So now, instead of just e-mail addresses, you have physical information and you have the chance to do a demographic analysis and truly dig into your file.

They have already raised their hands. Someone who has given you an e-mail address or telephone number by visiting your Web site, store location or call center has demonstrated an interest in your company. You couldn't do much with the incomplete information.

But now you can send a highly targeted e-mail or themed direct mail offer or place a telephone sales call with a specific offer to guide that prospect back to your company in some way and get them to buy and become a customer.

Also, if the Web site visitor who left partial information asked to be sent information but did not give a complete physical address, a reverse append turns a lost prospect into a found one.

When it comes to partial telephone information, think about the last time you shopped at a specialty store. Did the cashier ask for your telephone number before you paid? The company has your phone number, what you bought and maybe can gauge what you might be interested in buying next time. The company might target you for a direct marketing campaign involving coupons, a special offer, a catalog or traffic building to bring you back to the store or to its Web site.

Results are all that matter for direct and database marketing efforts. Partial e-mail address and telephone information limits your ability to produce key results. So instead of throwing out or not using this data, ask yourself: How can reverse appending further pack your return-on-investment arsenal by helping turn inadequate but relevant data into a customer powerhouse?

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