Marketing Database FAQs

What is a marketing database?

A marketing database is a database that has been specifically constructed to support the data-driven, multi-channel marketing needs of an organization. A marketing database consists of comprehensive, up-to-date, relevant information on customers and prospects. It enables you to analyze and identify your most responsive candidates to marketing communications by performing segmentation and selection, deploying the right message at the right time to the right person using the right channel. Once a marketing database solution is established, it is then routinely updated so that data is always Trustworthy, Accessible, Fresh, and Integrated (TAFI). Ultimately, the marketing database is actionable—ready for use at all times. For many marketers, their single biggest obstacle to successful data-driven, multi-channel marketing is the lack of integrated data and direct access to their marketing data. A marketing database solves this problem.

Why do I need a marketing database?

A marketing database is built specifically for the purpose of performing data-driven, multi-channel marketing functions such as segmentation, list creation, and back-end analysis. While operational databases typically contain some data needed by marketers such as customer and purchase information, these databases are not designed nor are they integrated to support data-driven, multi-channel marketing activities. If you have the need to use data that exists in separate silos for marketing purposes, you need a marketing database to support your database marketing needs.

How do I know if I need a marketing database?

Some telltale signs include the following:

  • If you cannot identify and market to your best customers or best prospects.
  • If your organization is pulling together data from different data silos, performing various data hygiene and cleansing processes, and repeating this cumbersome process every time you execute a direct marketing campaign.
  • If you are spending more time chasing, manipulating, and stressing over data than you are engaging in marketing activities.
  • If you cannot trust your data—it has duplicates, inaccurate counts, and is not usable or ready for data-driven marketing campaigns.
  • If every time you contemplate a marketing campaign you get stuck at your marketing data because it does not effectively support your needs.
  • If you cannot track promotion history, measure campaign response, and continually improve your direct marketing effectiveness and efficiency.
Can I use my Email Service Provider or eCommerce system as a marketing database?

No, not effectively. These systems have the same traits as any other type of operational database system—they are not built for data-driven, multi-channel marketing because they do not integrate marketing data across multiple systems. These types of systems may tout the fact that they have a campaign management module, and these modules may generate simple lists. But they do not provide the vast variety of functionality that you need from a marketing database system. Examples of lacking functionality include complete data integration, promotion tracking, web-based access to fully integrated data, derived data elements, predictive model application, and performing analytics against multi-channel data to name a few. To learn more, go to Only a Marketing Database is a Marketing Database.

Should I outsource a marketing database solution?

Probably. While some organizations successfully build marketing database systems internally, this is rare. Most organizations do not have the resource, expertise, and expensive software licenses required to internally develop and manage a marketing database. And, IT is typically focused, appropriately so, on operational database systems. On an ongoing basis, marketing database systems are dynamic and constantly evolving, requiring timely attention to effectively support the fast moving needs of marketing. An outsourced marketing database solution provides the framework to optimally support marketing, which leads to greater marketing efficiency and response (acquisition, retention, loyalty, upsell, and reactivation).

How fast can a marketing database be rolled out?

Industry timeframes vary but most companies generally take around six to nine months to rollout. Dovetail typically rolls out our marketing database solution in 90 to 120 days.

Does a marketing database track my promotion history or marketing touches?

Yes, and this is one of the most important functions of a marketing database. Every direct marketing communication is tracked by channel, individual, date, campaign, promotion, and segment. Maintaining this promotion or touch history is vital to support the following:

  • Analyze and understand who converted, the channel(s) that were used, and how many touches it took to convert. This applies both to converting new customers (acquisition) and existing customers (retention, cross-sell, upsell).
  • Analyze your responders, profile them, and initiate future campaigns to candidates that look like your responders.
  • By maintaining and growing promotion history tracking, you can measure and continually improve ongoing campaign performance.
  • Optimize your contact strategy for the right number of touches by channel to convert customers. This applies both to converting new customers (acquisition) and existing customers (retention, cross-sell, upsell).
  • Realize when you are wasting money and stop contacting people who have implicitly told you “no” by not responding to your offers.
  • Reduce list fatigue by not over-marketing to your best customers or prospects. The last thing you want is for your best customers or prospects to opt-out of your campaigns because you are frustrating them with over-communication.
  • Previously executed campaign data, or subsets of this data, can be included or excluded as the starting point for future campaigns.