The power of an effective database: How to build a laser-focused database

The Power Of An Effective Database

Do you REALLY know your customer?

Marketing is no longer a game of throwing ideas at the wall and hoping something sticks. With so many channels from social media to email to direct mail, marketing requires expertise and a targeted, data-driven approach. It all begins with defining and getting to know your ideal customer.

A clearly defined audience is crucial to your message. 59% of customers expect brands to tailor their engagement, understand, and anticipate their needs. But how do you figure out who your ideal client is? And once you’ve figured it out, how do you find out what they genuinely need and reach them the right way?

For marketers, your database is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. It tells you exactly who your audience is and precisely how to reach them. Your database helps determine which leads are strong and who has the potential to buy your product. The power of an effective database cannot be understated. If you want to reach YOUR people, whether it’s B2B or B2C, you need to have a robust set of data.

Avoiding the Typical Problems of Database Decay

See if any of the following database dilemmas sound familiar:

  • You have a CRM, but you fear there are gaps and limits to the data.
  • Customer records are incomplete; leads are spotty or out of date.
  • You bought a list, which seemed effective at first, but now it’s reached the limits of usefulness. Because you invested, you don’t want to toss it out but aren’t sure how to fix it.
  • Cleaning up your database looks and feels like an insurmountable task. You honestly aren’t even sure where to begin.

Marketing databases degrade by 22.5% each year. So that means annually, almost a quarter of your data has aged out of effectiveness. One out of three people change their email addresses each year, and that doesn’t even account for physical addresses, phone numbers, and other contact data.

If you decide to power through and continue to use that data, expect to waste about 27.3% of each sales rep’s time—that’s a shocking 546 hours spent on ineffective leads, each year!

You may cringe because chances are you paid a lot for your list. The thought of throwing it out or culling after only a year or two sounds like a big job. Should you ever buy a list, or is that always a bad strategy? Did you make the wrong move?

Buying a list is a good strategy to start if you’re working from scratch. When you buy a list, they don’t know who you are. You need to work harder to build up your reputation and relationship with them.

A bought list is much better than no list at all and will give you a strong base to build from. If you’ve purchased a list in the past, there’s no need for buyer’s remorse. You’re going to need to roll up your sleeves and start building those crucial connections with your existing list as you expand.

The best lists for long-term effectiveness are built lists. Ultimately, as your business grows and your customer experience deepens, you’ll want to create a current, healthy database of people who have experience with you and recognize your brand. These happy customers will eventually become advocates and champions of your product.

Look Beyond Demographics

Effective data isn’t only limited to contact information. What about those essential personal bits of information? Depending on your client base, that information could be just as important as having the right email address. While having updated contact information is a good start, it’s those specifics that will truly help you connect with your target audience.

Imagine, for example, that you’re marketing baby formula to new mothers. Smaller home and apartment residents may be on your list, but you don’t want to send information to every homeowner in the neighborhood. Sending baby formula information to a 60-year-old retiree or a busy college student is a waste of your time and resources. A better, effective database differentiates your audience by more than their location—segmentation and differentiation are critical components.

Relationships are built over time, and your ideal client needs you to spend time getting to know them. What are they thinking? What are their concerns? Where are their struggles? Most importantly, how will you help them resolve their problem? It’s the best use of your time to dive in and understand your target audience—it will guide your entire marketing strategy.

4 Steps to Build an Effective Database of Your Target Audience

If you’re ready to take your good approach to better and ultimately build it into the best effective database strategy, you need to explore the questions: How do you find your target audience? Is the persona enough?

Identifying your target audience is a vital step and one of the biggest challenges for marketers. However, it’s not the only step to creating an effective database. Here’s how to take it to the next level.

1. Get to know your buyer psychology

Once you’ve developed a detailed persona of your ideal customer, it will help you really understand their challenges and needs. Go beyond the demographics and dive into all the things that make them tick. What is their buying process? Are they a decision-maker?

As you study the buying psychologies, it may help to revisit the personas. Even though marketing has evolved over the years, the basic underlying psychology of buyers remains the same. Some buyers are the initiator; some are the decider, the influencer, the purchaser, the gatekeeper, or the user. Identify which person or people in the process you need to reach.

2. Refine your approach and your list

In our technology-driven world, psychology looks the same, but the approach may differ. Consider a mix of inbound and outbound tactics to help you cast the widest net.

When you need to generate more leads, think beyond the classic list broker. Other valuable resources, like trade magazines and affinity groups, can generate warmer leads aligned to your target.

3. Test, revisit and learn from results

From there, it’s a matter of revisiting. Keep the good from each campaign and examine the responses to make it better and take it all the way to best. Do you see something that resonated? Did you A/B test different aspects of your message? In any channel, testing and feedback help you get better and better.

Without testing and revisiting, you may put all your money into Facebook marketing, for example. It seems effective and it’s generating sales, so why switch gears? Well, what if you could market more for less? What if another channel could give you more bang for your buck? Other channels are continually emerging too. For example, a few years ago, podcasting was barely recognized. Now, it’s grown 37.5% in just three years. Advertisers are seeing significant results in this brand-new channel.

4. Don’t be afraid to adjust your mix

Start with a mix and adjust as you go. Don’t put all your eggs in one marketing basket—a mix is almost always necessary. Modify the balance so that each channel works together to have the greatest impact on your marketing campaigns.

It all begins with that deep understanding of your ideal client and their priorities. Within the data, extra information will allow you to pinpoint your approach and get a better ROI for your efforts.

Count on Heritage to Make You Look Great

At Heritage, we know what it takes to build an effective database. Data-driven marketing is our passion and our area of expertise. We’re ready to work with you to get a handle on all that data.
We’re experts at list strategy and building. We can assist you in acquiring lists and expanding them to fill in the missing data. Even better—we can help you identify and target MORE people who fit your target audience profile.
If you aren’t quite sure about your target persona, we have a team of experts to guide you through the refinement process and focus your approach. We’ll home in on your ideal client, so you can get to know them even better.
Effective database strategy is one crucial piece of the Heritage+ solution. Our comprehensive marketing services go above and beyond printing. We have the expertise to solve your most challenging marketing data problems. Contact us today for a market approach that adds up to greater success!