Creating a Database
Data is a big deal. Mining and interpreting it via analytical tools is both a quantitative and qualitative way to get to know your customers better which, in turn, helps you to market to them more effectively.
Greasing the wheels of successful commerce is often a relational database populated with information that helps you to understand your customers’ wants, needs, likes, dislikes, as well as general demographic information.
Of course not all databases are created equally, or need to be.
A good place to begin is by asking yourself what type of data will you need in order to start—and carry on—a conversation with your customers across all marketing channels (i.e., offline, on mobile devices, in person, over the phone, out of home)?
Consider the following questions as a means to begin populating your database:
- The name of your customer and/or the organization?
- Mailing address, including zip code?
- Telephone number (mobile or landline)?
- email address?
- Social media handles?
- Source of inquiry or order?
- Date and purchase details of first inquiry or order?
- requency/monetary purchase history by date, dollar amount, and product?
- Relevant demographic data (e.g., age, gender, marital status and lifestyle data)?
- Relevant organizational data (e.g., SIC code, size of firm, revenues, number of employees)?
- Number of people in their household?
- Credit history and rating?
As duly noted, developing a customer database will help you to create a thorough and informed primary mailing list. Then, in pay-it-forward style, your primary mailing list will help you to find like-minded customers—via prospect lists—who have not yet reached out to you and your business.
People move. Income levels shift. Attitudes change. In other words, you will need to consistently set aside the time and effort required to keep customers’ information both secure and up to date.
Also, creating a database is a business investment but that investment comes with a cost.
A relational database is a tool that can help to move the proverbial needle. Before creating one, the following points can help smooth out your learning curve:
- Before diving into the creation process, clearly define your objectives
- How do you want data to serve your business?
- Verify data at the point of capture
- Keep it simple
- Even if you are tech savvy, put together a system that anyone can use
- Set up a form detailing the history of each customer interaction
- Run reports to see if your database is producing clear and insightful results
- Set measurable objectives