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Data: Using What You Already Have

Every organization has some type of existing data they can use to help make their marketing and communication efforts more effective. Marketing that is more effective means more goods sold or services rendered, and hopefully, a better bottom line.
Written Mar 24, 2010, read 878 times since then.
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Welcome to the second part in our series about data and its use in effective marketing and communications.

Let’s take a look at some different types of data that you probably already have and can use to enhance your communication efforts today. There are many ways to capture data, including buying lists that match your desired customer demographic (more on that in the next post).  However, buying a list is not always financially feasible, nor is it always necessary.  You could be sitting on a gold mine of data that you already own free and clear. Data you can use immediately to further your targeted, personalized communication campaigns.  In this article, we will look at two types of data you probably possess in one form or another right now. 

TRANSACTIONAL DATA:  This is simply the data that you obtain as a result of doing business with a customer.  The data each business has will vary depending on the nature of the business.  Still, every business will have some kind of transactional data they can start using today.  It could be as simple as a list of names and addresses where you sent an invoice.  It could be a list of email address you have on record as a result of a series ebay transactions.  It could be a massive and highly complex, cross-referenced database like the one Amazon.com uses.  The point is that the regular, daily transactions of your business, you can find a wealth of information that will help you pinpoint your target audience and personalize your messaging to them.  Of course, the better the data, the more option you have with how to use that information.  By maintaining good transactional data, you will know who is buying from you, when they are buying, what they are buying and how they are buying (online, retail, etc…).  That is really valuable stuff.  You can use that information to identify new leads, drive new sales and improve customer loyalty, satisfaction and retention.  What if you have not had any transactions and thus have no transitional data?  Don’t worry, we have a solution for that too.  Moreover, it is simple and can be acted on immediately.   

EXISTING PROSPECT DATA:  Unless you are a start-up (and perhaps even then), you probably have a sizable list of prospects – even if you never refer to it that way.  The form of this data could be anything from a detailed CRM database with information about when you met or acquired the prospect, how you met them, their business needs, purchasing time frame, etc...  Such systems can remind you where you meet the person (was it at a conference or did they sign up for your electronic newsletter?), what efforts have you made to market to them (are they receiving your email newsletter?) and what has the result of those efforts been?  Again, the more detail you have the better.  However, your prospect list could also be a stack of business cards that you have collected over the years.  It could be your biznik network or the membership roster of your local Chamber of Commerce.  Just remember that the more up-to-date your data, the more effective your communications will be.  Timely data allows you to create relevant messaging and the more relevant your messaging, the better your results.  Whatever your prospect data looks like, make use of it to find new leads, heat up cold leads and close more business.

THE TAKE-AWAY: Every organization, whether a one-person company or a business giant has some type of existing data they can use to help make their marketing and communication efforts more effective.  Marketing that is more effective means more goods sold or services rendered, and hopefully, an even better bottom line.  Remember, the better job you do maintaining your data, the more effective it will be in your communication efforts.

In the next article, the last in our three part series, we will look at what to with that data once you have it. 

What data do you have that you can use today to make your communications even more effective?  Let’s share experiences.  All of us together are smarter than any one of us alone. 

Until Next Time, John

Learn more about the author, John Rothstein.

Comment on this article

  • VP of Sales & Marketing 
Naples, Florida 
Blase Ciabaton
    Posted by Blase Ciabaton, Naples, Florida | Apr 03, 2010

    John,

    Thanks for sharing these great points! I wish more businesses were aware of the power of the customer data that have at their fingertips. I've been in the direct mail business for 6 years, and I always encourage clients to start marketing with their existing database before investing money in a prospect mailing list. It amazes me how many existing businesses think that they don't have a client database when in fact they do!

    In addition, your point about transactional data is key! It allows businesses to further segment their list, or to leverage variable data and make the messages more relevant to the recipients by incorporating info gleaned from the transactional data.

    I posted a Biznik article along the same vein titled "Are You Maximizing the Value of Existing Customers Before Spending Money to Find New Ones?" Here's a link for any readers who want to take a look: www.bit.ly/5MR5lz I hope more small business owners will read your post so they can realize the potential of what they already have available. Looking forward to part 3 of your series! Blase

  • Consultant 
Sharon, Massachusetts 
John Rothstein
    Posted by John Rothstein, Sharon, Massachusetts | Apr 03, 2010

    Thanks Blase. I appreciate your taking the time to read the article and for the kind words and rating. I will check out your article.

    Thanks again, John