NCDM Speaker: Pain Point for DB Marketers is Coordinating Customer Contact Strategy

SAN FRANCISCO — A major issue database marketers face is there is no enterprise coordination regarding customer contact strategy, according to Eric Schmitt, senior analyst at Forrester Research, Boston.

He was the keynote speaker here at the Summer 2003 National Center for Database Marketing Conference.

Schmitt, whose primary expertise at Forrester includes database marketing and CRM strategy and technology, offered data from surveys Forrester conducted with 49 major database marketers.

Schmitt said the data revealed that companies, “want to understand how to communicate with my customers across all touch points, all channels, all media … in the most efficient, effective way possible. That’s the No. 1 issue on database marketers' minds right now as far as we can tell.”

Other challenges include not being able to get campaigns out the door fast enough and attributing responses to the correct channel. The lack of skilled staff and/or available talent was another difficulty.

“This is one of the driving rationales behind outsourcing — it’s just simply that there is not a great pool of talent out there,” Schmitt said. “Fundamentally there is a tremendous skill shortage of qualified database marketing professionals in companies.”

Schmitt also said 65 percent of the database marketers surveyed said they will spend more this year than they did last year on outsourced database marketing services, and 63 percent said they would spend more next year compared with this year.

Schmitt also said the top three decision factors survey participants cited as critical or important in making database outsourcing decisions are:

* Data quality/data hygiene solutions (71 percent).

* Marketing strategy/development expertise (65 percent).

* Program management services (65 percent).

He added that 75 percent of those surveyed said they believed their database marketing organization plays an important, high-profile role in setting corporate strategy, though “most of them still don’t think that the CEO thinks database marketing is more important than mass media advertising.”

Schmitt is studying the idea of addressable television, and added that a growing area of interest this year will involve, “zone-based training to cable video streams.”

He said the demand for database marketing services is growing, but also changing. In order to adjust to the changes, the principles Schmitt recommends when it comes to outsourcing are, “to invest big up front, anticipate change and keep your hands on the steering wheel.”

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