Five elements commonly underpin the marketing strategies of great direct marketers. How many of these strategies are you using?

1. Centralized Database

Top marketers have centralized databases that integrate the data stored throughout their organizations. This includes data from events, CRM, website activity, email marketing, online and offline commerce, and digital marketing.

Centralizing data enables marketers to consolidate customer information spread throughout their companies into the same record. (For example, John Smith at 123 Main Street may be the same as John M. Smith at 124 Main St.) Consolidation allows them to eliminate duplication and gain more complete insight into each customer’s preferences and behavior. It also enables better insight into overall customer trends.

2. Data Hygiene

Data cleansing and updating (including CASS, NCOA) is the practice of all great marketers, and it should be for you, too. “Normalizing” is the next step in the process. Normalization ensures that each record has the same fields and that all fields are handled the same way. For example, some customers may be listed as last name, first name, middle initial (“Jones, Sally E”). Others might be salutation, followed by first and last name only (“Mrs. Barbara Smith”). Normalization makes all of these fields consistent. If fields are missing, marketers can fill them in.

3. Data Enhancement

Once data is centralized, cleansed, and updated, top marketers can see what data they have and where enhancement could benefit them. Common types of enhancement include:

  • Firmographics (SIC Code, employee size, sales volume, IP address)
  • Demographics (age, household income, presence of children, education level, home owner)
  • Contact information (email, landline, mobile phone, address)

Enhancement can be done using third party data or by using in-house data gathering tactics. The latter includes tracking visitor behavior on the website, sending out printed customer surveys, and using pop-up web forms.

4. Personalized Experience

Top marketers use their data to continually improve their targeting and personalization. Whether using segmentation or full personalization, they seek to understand customers both individually and as larger customer groups (personas).

5. Test and Track

Top marketers track the results of their efforts, do A/B testing, and use the information they learn to refine their campaigns and improve their results over time. If they find that more people than usual are clicking on links or accessing video on specific topics, for example, they might integrate that content into their next newsletter or direct mail campaign.

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