Effective Database Marketing Starts with Collecting Strategic Information

Last week, Marka and the FEI tribe discussed how tracking sales activities can help FEI’s salesforce prosper. Today, Marka and Zoot explore how to grow FEI’s internal database for strategic marketing purposes. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot and Marka were sharing a pitcher of grog at the Red Argus one night. “What is the point of keeping a database up to date?” Zoot asked, sipping from his goblet.

“Deeper knowledge of our customers and prospects can help us drive more effective marketing campaigns,” Marka replied. “How do we get to know the fire buyers that matter to us? We develop and maintain an organized collection of comprehensive information on each one. Database marketing starts with the creation, development and upkeep of customer and prospect lists, and can result in strengthened relationships with these businesses.”

“You’ve convinced me,” Zoot said. “We need to crawl before we walk, though. FEI lacks data this comprehensive on most of our customers. We don’t even have O-mail addresses for some.”

“Any thoughts on how to efficiently collect this information?” Marka asked.

“Every member of my sales team visits hundreds of companies each quarter,” Zoot noted. “We could start by requiring our salespeople to collect an O-mail address and s-O-cial media contact information during each visit…”

“Not just for the main contact, either,” Marka interrupted. “We want to reach any and all key business influencers who fall anywhere in the chain of decision making. In addition, every FEI employee should be trained to gather pertinent information at every touch point. These touch points can include [listing them off as she wrote them on a napkin]:

  • Customer purchase
  • Customer service call
  • O-Web query
  • Mail-in rebate card
  • Response on social networking site

“After we’ve got everyone’s contact information, then what?” Zoot asked.

“Our aim is to capture information at the ‘point-of-purchase,’ which will allow us to send each customer communications more relevant to his or her needs,” Marka said. “We’ll start by gathering basic company and contact information such as:

  • Company name
  • Address
  • Name
  • Title
  • E-mail addresses
  • S-O-cial media contact info
  • Other key business influencers within company

“Then we can prioritize more specific information—the key details that will allow us to produce highly effective customized pieces,” Marka explained, “Including:

  • Personal likes
  • Short and long term fire buying needs and habits
  • Status of current fire vendor relationships
  • Share-of-customer estimate
  • Assessment of strengths and weaknesses of current business relationship
  • Competitive potential fire vendors
  • Budget availability

Zoot glanced at the napkin and said sarcastically, “I can’t wait until my salespeople bring calls to a screeching halt by asking prospects for 20 pieces of information.”

“This data collection won’t happen all at once,” Marka added. “If we train our employees to gather this information as they’re conducting normal business, accurate and actionable data can be captured over time.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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