Stay in Control – Manage Multiple Data Sources

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  • Are you able to retrieve from your database the marketing intelligence and customer information you need?
  • Are you able to access data from the various customer databases within your organisation?

In this world of Big Data it is very easy for organisations to progressively lose the ability to manage and control their databases. Many businesses end up with so many sources of data from various departments, that it is often perceived to be an impossible task to manage and consolidate them.

Furthermore, because data storage is increasingly cheap, it can be tempting to simply keep everything, and gather as many separate data files as possible from anywhere and everywhere. However, unless it is well managed, utilised and mined for relevant insights, this approach often isn’t worth the server space it uses.

If you are to be able to make the most of your existing data assets, having access to a single view of all customer interactions is crucial

Single Customer (or Prospect) View

When you are attempting to profile your customers and prospects to inform your business decisions, it is highly likely that your different sources of data will each contain vital items of information. These may include:

  • Contact details from your Sales team
  • Financial status from Accounts
  • Media responsiveness from your Marketing department
  • Product or brand preference from your Account Management team
  • Outsourced contact centres
  • Plus many, many more elements…

Unless all this information on each customer is held in one place, it can be impossible to obtain a true picture of your customers, and/or any purchasing trends or interactions with your business. As a marketer you need to fully understand your customers and their actions and motivations so you can react accordingly. You can then generate appropriate and targeted marketing and sales efforts.

If you are to be able to make the most of your existing data assets, having access to a single view of all customer interactions is crucial. To achieve this you need the following:

  1. A single database that pulls together all the data from your various databases into one single customer view;
  2. A process to accommodate and handle the constant flow of data changes, updates, additions and deletions.
  3. You will also need a database mining tool that will allow you to perform your customer and sales analysis and to make data selections for your campaigns. At Data HQ we use Apteco Faststats.

Ongoing Management of a database

It is important not to overlook or skip the process required to handle the flow of data changes. You will need to review and put in place some straightforward yet robust processes to ensure you are able to incorporate all new data into the single customer view on a regular basis; for some businesses this could be an hourly update, for others it could be a weekly or monthly update.

With an effective data strategy in place and a robust database management system you will be able to:

  • identify and find more profitable customers
  • better target prospects for conversion
  • cross-sell other products and brands where appropriate
  • identify churn and take pre-emptive action
  • ultimately exploit your organisation’s greatest asset
  • increase efficiency and opportunity through the use of marketing automation techniques.

Staff and Stakeholder Involvement

A key element in any Database Management project is the involvement and understanding of key staff and stakeholders within your business; this might include directors, sales teams and others. There will be specifics you need your staff to do when gathering or inputting data, to ensure their output is suitable to work into your new combined database. Make sure they understand WHY you are asking them to do certain things though – don’t just instruct them – or you may well find they won’t make the changes exactly as you asked, because they don’t fully understand the need.

Our Observations

Working with our clients we have seen both strong and poor examples of database management. Some of our clients whose systems were initially weak identified a requirement to improve and move forward, so enlisted expert help to develop and enhance their database management. This has ensured they not only are able to stay in control of their data, but also to see much improved results from their campaigns - as they can both better understand and better target their audiences.

  • Are you able to view all your customer or prospect data in one place?
  • Do you struggle to stay on top of your various databases?
  • Have you looked at database management solutions and found them overwhelming?