Tools like GIS, OLAP analysis software and data cleansing packages are central to today’s sales and marketing professionals. Bridging the gap between sales, marketing and IT, Database Marketing informs both those that work directly with these tools, techniques and data, as well as board level executives that have to decide which systems and services to choose for their company...more at Database Marketing magazine


... success doesn’t hinge on size or resource. It hinges on your ability to collect, to store, and then to target and use your customer and prospect information. I would go as far as saying that a comprehensive marketing database is the most valuable asset of your business ... Microsoft


Database marketing is a form of direct marketing using databases of customers or potential customers to generate personalized communications in order to promote a product or service for marketing purposes. The method of communication can be any addressable medium, as in direct marketing. The distinction between direct and database marketing stems primarily from the attention paid to the analysis of data...more



Database Marketing

Definition: Database marketing is the analysis and use of customer databases to aid in the direct marketing of products.

One of the biggest challenges any sales enterprise faces is in finding potential customers for their products. Billions are spent each year in product marketing, though much of this expenditure is wasted through the use of inaccurate data and bad marketing decisions

Applications of Database Marketing

In an effort to more effectively target potential customers, many enterprises use database marketing to build models of their target demographic group, track down these groups and focus their advertising budgets on them in the hope that it will result in an improved return on investment (ROI) from their advertising spend.

Data Sources

At its most basic level, database marketing is the analysis of databases holding information about previous or potential customers. These databases usually consist of basic personal details of customers along with details of their past transactions. The information is either gathered from internal sales data or bought in from other organisations.

Business to Consumer (B2C)

DB Marketing, strategic database marketingConsumer information is gathered by enterprises in a number of ways, many of which consumers remain oblivious to (see CRM). These methods can range from requesting that the consumer fill in and return a warranty card to running promotional contests and sweepstakes.

Ideally, enterprises prefer to gather as much information as possible about potential customers, so they will employ any available methods to milk consumers for personal data. The more information contained within a database, the more accurate the results of its analysis.

Business to Business (B2B)

B2B data is usually much more limited than consumer information, but it can also be easier to procure. Enterprises hoping to target businesses can simply get in touch personally or gather publicly available information about them. However, since B2B databases will usually only contain a few hundred or thousand pieces of information at most (compared to potentially millions of pieces in a consumer database) it is more difficult to build a targeted marketing plan.

Data Analysis

Once a consumer or business database has been compiled it can then be broken down and analysed to produce valuable marketing information. If the database is extremely limited this analysis can be performed manually, but most consumer databases will contain so much data that specialised software tools are necessary to generate useful results.

Predictive analytics software allows data analysers to construct high quality predictive models of customer behaviour. By studying the past purchases of consumers it can be possible to predict broad trends in their purchasing habits, resulting in a somewhat accurate prediction of their future purchasing (though, of course, it is impossible to make 100% accurate predictions in this area).

Using these trends it is possible to further refine the information by grouping individuals according to any other personal data held on file about them (such as income, age, gender, etc.). This grouping results in a targeted mailing list of potential customers, each of whom share a set of desired characteristics.


Once the raw data has been analysed and a mailing list produced there is simply the matter of contacting the potential customers with targeted advertising.

Traditionally, database marketing results in the mailing of advertisements (what many people would call ‘junk mail’). The development of technology, however, has enabled enterprises to contact potential customers much more quickly than through the mail.

While a great many enterprises still use the postal service to generate leads, modern marketing methods also involve the use of e-mail and SMS messages to potential customers. As well as being less expensive than traditional mail shots, electronic messages come with the additional benefit that recipients can respond instantly, either by following a link in an email or opting-in through an SMS or asking for a callback.

Future of database marketing

The development of the Internet has offered enterprises a highly effective way to gather customer information. Internet users are now perfectly comfortable with completing electronic forms for everything from online purchasing to setting up e-mail accounts, so the amount of consumer information available has increased greatly.

At present, we are seeing the development of a new form of database advertising. Online advertisers now use surfing habits as a method of directing advertising towards Internet users. Search engines such as Google serve ads according to users' keyword searches, while vendors such as Amazon use details of previous transactions to build a list of user-targeted recommendations. We can expect this trend to continue until all online activities are tracked for marketing purposes.