In the last year I’ve had numerous opportunities to explain what I do…and explain and explain…mostly to people who are involved in some aspect of marketing but not database marketing specifically. To a person, when I’ve said “database marketing” they’ve said “oh you work with computers (database.)” Well, I do some of my work through a database but that’s not the essential point. And then, as you can imagine, the conversation has veered off into technology….
Technology may be the enabler, and clearly the database is key, but the data are paramount. Database marketing is about the collection and application of data – about the customer and the prospect. Wikipedia, an eminently detailed reference describes it like this: “…Database marketing emphasizes the use of statistical techniques to develop models of customer behavior, which are then used to select customers for communications…” Data establishes the foundation and impetus for how companies go to market. Complete and current data will translate into marketing intelligence needed to drive the right offers down the right channel at the time most preferred by the customer. And that’s only possible by understanding consumer behaviors, attitudes and preferences – again the data.
The role of the database (computer) itself is to enable the collection and maintenance of that critical customer/prospect data and the generation of communications. But that role is secondary. It’s quite possible that the “data” has been lost in “database marketing.” Do we need a new name? In fact why don’t re rename the field to “pattern marketing” or “model marketing?” Isn’t that a truer description of a field founded on models such as RFM?
So, let’s remember that both the data and technology are crucial, but the data drives business impact and profits….any other thoughts out there?
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Regards, Ann McCartan, DBMCatalyst