Explore the New Multichannel Marketing Database
In a session I hosted at last week's DMA Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Diego, I examined traditional marketing databases and how they've been designed and built to support traditional marketing, primarily analytic-driven direct mail. Email has provided marketers the ability to leverage digital technologies to render custom content on an individual consumer basis. Yet many marketers haven't taken advantage of this, instead performing blast email strategies — i.e., sending the same email to everyone, regardless of profile, segment or buying behavior.
Additionally, many companies haven't even taken the step of integrating email promotion history into their marketing databases, instead keeping separate email databases at their email service providers of choice. Add to this mix the explosion of social media. Consumers are participating in social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, and while marketers are beginning their early social media efforts, none of this has made its way into marketing databases. In fact, marketing databases in their current states are outmoded and based on a model of campaign management that simply doesn't apply anymore.
The new marketing database must be designed to support marketing to consumers where they are, through their channels of preference, be it mobile, social or more traditional channels like email and direct marketing. To do this, marketers must rethink their approach to databases in several fundamental areas:
- Operational and real time. The new marketing database must be updated whenever necessary, be it daily or hourly, rather than more traditional cycles of monthly or weekly. This requires a fundamental departure from the classic data warehouse architecture. Additionally, the contents of marketing databases must be accessible in real time to the various points of interaction that can be used to drive consumer engagement. You must use individual-level data to create custom and personal URLs for better engagement — and do this on the fly.
- Messaging and content management must be integrated directly, not over the wall. No longer should marketers cut lists to send to messaging partners. Messaging technologies such as email delivery can and should be integrated in real time to provide full marketing tactical control, as well as reduce overall cost of ownership.
- Extend the data model. New data must be stored. Our company, for instance, has to be able to take on transactions with no more identification than cell phone numbers or Twitter IDs. Using custom persistent ID systems, we're able to store those transactions and then piece together the picture of the consumer as we learn more. If, for example, a consumer redeems a mobile offer, we're able to retrieve an email address at point of sale.
- Integrate social media. Follow best practices from direct marketing, and track all social campaigns through the addition of social-specific campaign metadata. If you post a Facebook coupon, for instance, add campaign metadata about that coupon and attach promotion history to every follower from your Facebook fan page.
Consumers always move more quickly than marketers at adopting new technologies. A new approach to your marketing database as outlined above can help you keep up with consumers and market to them where and how they want.