The Low-Down on Database Marketing
by Manny Hondroulis
My column traditionally has focused on improving your website and online
presence to draw prospects to you; in other words, capturing your share
of the existing window film demand. But you can also use technology and
the web to create that demand.
Prior to the web and online information sources, if you wanted to create
a printed mail campaign, you would have to purchase a book of lists, type
mailing labels in your word processor, create a marketing package (whether
a simple post card or more involved press kit), and add postage. The process,
time consumption and cost of this might prohibit or discourage you from
marketing on a regular basis. However, the web can facilitate this process
so that you can produce more marketing campaigns in a shorter period of
time. Hereís how.
Purchase Marketing Data
No longer do you have to purchase a book of lists. Now you can purchase
records from an online database source. A record is information about
a prospect and includes a prospectís name, address, contact information,
industry, company size and much more.
ďThe process, time consumption
and cost of this might prohibit or discourage you from marketing on a
regular basis. However, the web can facilitate this process so that you
can produce more marketing campaigns in a
shorter period of time.Ē
Companies such as Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) (www.zapdata.com)
sell marketing data. You can purchase records based on the type of industry,
geography, business size and other criteria. For example, if you want
to target clothing stores to sell them on the idea of window film as an
effective way to protect against fabric fade, simply search for records
at zapdata.com in your trade area by the relevant SIC code(s) Ė in this
case 5611 and 5621.
(You can use database marketing not only to target prospective customers,
but also to target referral agents.)
Create Mailing Labels
After defining your target data, you will be prompted to save the results
in a database format (comma delimited, tab delimited, Access, or Excel).
Having the results saved in this format allows you to perform a mail merge
in Microsoft Word or other document software to create and print mailing
labels within a matter of minutes.
Design Your Printed Media
The final step is to design and print your postcard or other printed media.
You donít need to be a graphic artist to deliver a clear and concise marketing
message on a post card. A software program such as Microsoft Publisher
allows you to lay out the necessary text and photos and save them in a
Pitfalls of Technology
Keep in mind that the marketing lists that you purchase are not always
100 percent accurate. D&B relies on businesses to update their profiles.
Small businesses (which may represent the prospects you are targeting
to set up a referral agent program) may not have the wherewithal or desire
to keep their D&B profile current. The accuracy of the lists you purchase
may ultimately be held hostage to the prospectís ability to update their
business profile. Be sure to find out how often the lists are updated
before you make the purchase.
Database marketing and the ensuing technology is a quick and inexpensive
way of creating a direct mail campaign. Iíve read statistics that state
the average response rate to direct mailings is 1 Ė3 percent. If you havenít
done one in awhile, now may be the time to do so. Our industry has never
been short on marketing.
Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager
for Energy Performance Distribution in Baltimore. Mr. Hondroulisí opinions
are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.
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