Customer Databases

Developing the database

A good marketing database will include details of prospective as well as existing customers. People who enquire about your company should be included and “flagged” for approach in the future.

Only a percentage of the general population will buy your products or use your services. If you focus your marketing on them, your efforts will be more successful. Aim too widely with your marketing and you risk spreading your resources too thinly.

Not all customers have the same needs. It makes sense to build up a profile of your customers and group them according to their different requirements. This will give you a good idea of how likely they are to purchase what you are offering.

Having established this customer profile you should consider looking for additional prospects from outside “lists”. Lists of potential customers are held by brokers whose names you can find in local or marketing directories. Or you could become a member of the Direct Marketing Association.

You can specify exactly what type of person or organisation you want on your list, in terms of the:

  • size and type of the organisation – if you are selling to businesses
  • age, sex, income or lifestyle – if you are selling to individual customers

Lists are usually offered for:

  • rent – one-off use only
  • sale – providing unlimited usage

If the list is rented, most organisations forbid you from adding the names on the list to your database, except when you have received a response to your approach.

You should therefore consider making a generous offer to your prospective customer to encourage them to respond.

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