Customer databases

CUSTOMER DATABASES

Marketers must know their customers. And in order to know the customer the company must collect information and store it in a database and do database marketing. A customer database is an organized collection of comprehensive information about individual customers or prospects that is current, accessible, and actionable for such marketing purposes as lead generation qualification; sale of a product or service, or maintenance of the customer relationships. Database marketing is the process of building maintaining and using customer database and other databases (products, suppliers, resellers) for the purpose of contacting, transacting, and building customer relationships.

Customer Databases:
As the former chief marketing officer of Amazon liked to point out, when you walk through the door at Macy’s the retailer has no idea who you are. When you log on to Amazon , however, you are greeted by name, presented a customized set of product purchase suggestions based on your past purchase choices and offered an accompanying series of frank customer reviews. As you log off the site, you are also asked permission to be e-mailed special offers.

Many companies confuse a customer mailing list with a customer database. A customer mailing list is simply a set of names, addresses and telephone numbers. A customer database contains much more information, accumulated through customer transactions, registration information, telephone queries, cookies, and every customer contact.

Ideally, a customer database contains,

1. The consumer’s past purchases,

2. Demographics:
Age,
Income
Family members,
Birthday

3.Psychographics
Activities,
Interest,
Opinions

4. Media-graphics
Preferred media

5.Other useful information.

The catalog company Fingerhut possesses some 1,400 pieces of information about each of the 30 million households in its massive customer database.

Ideally, a business database would contain business customers’ past purchases; past volumes, prices, and profits; buyer team member names (and ages, birthdays, hobbies, and favorite foods); status of current contracts; an estimate of the supplier’s share of the customer’s business: competitive suppliers: assessment of competitive strengths and weaknesses in selling and servicing the account; and relevant buying practices, patterns, and policies. For example, a Latin American unit of the Swiss pharmaceutical firm. Novartis keeps data on 100,000 of Argentina’s farmers, knows their crop protection chemical purchases, groups them by value, and treats each group differently.

Data Warehouses and Data-mining

Savvy companies are capturing information every time a customer comes into contact with any of its departments. Touch points include a customer purchase, a customer requested service call, an online query, or a mil-in rebate card. Banks and credit card companies, telephone companies, catalog marketers, and many other companies have great deal of information about their customers, including not only addresses and phone numbers, but also their transactions and enhanced data on age, family size, income, and other demographic information.

These data are collected by the company’s contact center and organized into a data ware-house. Company personnel can analyze the data.

Inferences can be drawn about an individual customer’s needs and responses. Telemarketers can respond to customer inquiries based on a total picture of the customer relationship.

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