Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Why a Database will make you a Smarter Marketer

Why a Database will make you a Smarter Marketer

More than most sectors, community groups need to keep one eye on their wallet or bank balance to make sure their tight budgets stretch as far as possible.

Not having massive financial resources means community groups and organisations often cannot simply throw money at something to make it work – for example, a direct mail-out campaign.

They need to instead rely on their "smarts" and the best use of any information they can get their hands on to make sure they not only just stay in touch with their contacts, but successfully target and cater any direct mail-outs to them.

Hitting the target with a direct mail-out without having to spend big bucks is the aim of any community group – and that's where the creation, disciplined maintenance and smart usage of a database can come to the fore.

There are a few ways your database will make your community group or organisation a smarter marketer, generally through gathering and storing more accurate and up-to-date information that ensures you stay in regular contact and provide the type of communication you know they are interested in receiving.

The ways a healthy, well-maintained and updated database can benefit your community group or organisation can be viewed as parts of a continuous cycle of information gathering, communications improvement and refinement:
  • Databases allow your community group to collect objective information about your contacts and their membership, donation, volunteering or participation history.
  • A database can then allow you to store this type of information in a meaningful, easily accessible and easily retrievable way.
    • This information can then be sorted through a database and then used as the basis for personalised direct mail-out pieces.
  • In personalising your direct mail-out communications, your group is ensuring they remain relevant to the contacts in your "target audience".
    • This means your group does a better job in opening up meaningful communications channels or streams with your contacts.
  • Then, by putting the information you receive through those well-targeted mail-outs back into your database, your organisation adds more detail to the picture you have of your contacts.
    • In this way, your community group's database builds upon itself, becoming more and more effective without your group having to outlay more and more money on it.
  • That detail can then be used in profiling and segmentation exercises, which improve the knowledge your group has of its contacts by dividing them into sections. This allows you to tailor different messages for different sections of your supporter base.
  • As you better understand your contacts through using your database for these types of exercises, your group can refine its communications until it is sending out even more highly targeted mail-outs and relevant information.
    • This not only saves money through the ability to send a smaller number of highly targeted letters, but should improve your response rate because those letters will be more relevant to those who receive them.
  • This ongoing process continues to build on itself, improving both your group's relationships with contacts as well as the success of your direct mail-outs and their subjects.

Ultimately, the more time you spend understanding and learning how your data can be gathered, stored and retrieved through the use of a database, the better your results will be – and the smarter marketer you will become.



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