Show Me the Data
- Transactional data, meaning actual purchases of products, services, licenses or other material, remains the gold standard of database marketing. Don't bet the farm on lifestyle and demographic data. When in doubt, test.
- The closer you can get to the original source of that transactional data, the better. Don't get me wrong, I mail names from transaction-based co-ops all the time. Two steps from the source of the transaction is pretty close.
- Survey response, which is how some compiled data is collected, can be aspirational rather than based in reality. At times the responses can be skewed, even unintentionally, to the surveyor's bias. (If you've never read Darrell Huff's classic, "How to Lie with Statistics," treat yourself soon.)
You'll want to see what Acxiom has on you. Some people will probably find it scarily accurate. Visit Aboutthedata.com and tell us what you find.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.