Effective database marketing and list management are more vital now than ever, as marketers have troves of consumer information at their fingertips. That data comes from all over—sales transaction histories, e-mail signup lists or behavior tracking partners, just to name a few. Database management systems organize all of this information, for both marketing and sales teams, in one location. Littleton, Colo.-based Dovetail Business Solutions Inc., founded in 1997, is a database-management firm with customers like LG and Rosetta Stone. Marketing News recently caught up with Jeff Barela, co-owner of Dovetail, to discuss what information goes into an effective database, how marketers can easily manage the information and how database-management software can help marketers nail down ROI. What follow are excerpts from the interview. To access the full Q&A, check out the October 2013 issue of Marketing News at MarketingPower.com/marketingnews.
Q: How has database management changed in the past decade?
A: E-commerce platforms were few and far between 10 years ago. Now they can be the primary drivers of the data that we get. Direct mail, at one point, was really big, but many have really moved to e-mail marketing. Outbound text messaging has become mobile marketing, a much more growing arena. In our world, there’s always a need for integrating data. There are different sources of data that have become more prominent and others have become less prominent over time. What we’re seeing more of is trying to integrate social data. Do we integrate a Twitter handle? What about Web analytics data? All of the vast data that’s generated in those sorts of platforms can actually be tied back to an individual in the marketing database.
Q: Why is effective database marketing and list management important?
A: It’s vitally important because, for any company that’s engaging in direct or database marketing, effective management of an organization’s data that’s coming from different sources is really the foundation of the platform that will drive data-driven marketing. I really look at it as a foundational aspect to driving marketing efforts.
Q: What type of information is organized in a database or list management solution?
A: In any of these data sources, you will have data such as individual name, address, an e-mail address, a phone number and so forth. And in a transactional sense, that’s typically tied by some kind of an ID process to products that someone has bought, when they bought them, how frequently they bought them, how much money they’ve spent. There can be different sources of that data; there are different e-commerce platforms, fulfillment systems, operational transactional systems and the like. Many organizations, of course, may collect an e-mail address for a newsletter signup or from those who have made an inquiry of the company, so they haven’t actually bought something, but they’ve said they’re interested in learning more. We often find that there are four or five or 10 different sources of operational information that need to be brought together. … There’s a significant amount of integration that needs to be applied to bring all of that data cohesively together. That’s also true on the list side: If there are acquisition lists where you might have three different sources, you could have the same person coming in at source one and two and three, not knowing where they came from. … We are experts at bringing that data together initially and then, on an ongoing basis, keeping that data managed in a very pristine fashion so it’s always ready to use for marketing purposes.
An organization really just needs to analyze what data they have within all of their operational data repositories and determine anything that’s relevant for direct or database marketing purposes, and then really bring it into the marketing database system. I would ask, ‘Are there sources of data that, at first glance, are maybe not thought about that should be in the database?’ Maybe [the data] even come in as a second phase to the database. An organization needs to be mindful of that because every data source that can come in makes it [richer], more robust and more fully integrated to optimize direct marketing results.
To access the full Q&A, check out the October 2013 issue of Marketing News at MarketingPower.com/marketingnews.