What is a Marketing Database?

Marketing databases have evolved over the years. Today’s modern marketing database collects and unifies all of your cross-channel enterprise data and enables you to analyze your people-based data so you can use it to better communicate with prospects and customers. The world we live in has become incredibly data-driven, meaning companies are making strategic decisions based on data analysis and interpretation. Companies of all sizes are collecting tons of data about their people’s interests, preferences and behaviors. Collecting all that data won’t mean a thing unless it is unified, understood, and made useful for your brand.

The modern marketing database isn’t just a database anymore.

  • It’s a whole ecosystem of cloud-based technology, data management skills and services designed to help your brand use data to better understand and connect with people.
  • It’s the data foundation that powers your entire marketing ecosystem today and tomorrow and informs your campaigns with foundational insights only an enterprise marketing database can offer.
  • It’s about leveraging data and insights across all channels to develop and execute customer experiences that deepen the relationships people have with your brand.
  • It’s about capturing and storing your customers’ behaviors and interactions, anytime and anywhere they interact with your brand, so you can act with meaning and purpose the next time you see them.
  • It’s the customer data foundation that powers your audience platforms to create and extend digital audiences and drives all your campaign strategies and activations.
  • It’s data and tools to create direct marketing campaigns and also power addressable audience campaigns and media activation intelligence.
  • It’s a place where you can apply and manage customer preferences and data governance to ensure you have a customer-first approach.
  • It’s not just a relational database anymore; it also leverages a data lake to collect massive amounts of engagement data to uncover emerging knowledge and measure your marketing impact.
  • It’s artificial intelligence enabled, leveraging machine learning, cognitive capabilities, and natural language processing to efficiently mine your data for insights, sentiment, and predictive intelligence.
  • It’s responsible and ethical, with a focus on ensuring people love your brand, especially important in our artificial intelligence-enabled world where machine algorithms can easily over-optimize metrics over people’s experience.

2 / What are the benefits of database marketing?

It is imperative the data collected is put into action as part of an overall marketing strategy to help brands better understand what customers need and respond with engagements that meet these needs.  Exercising control over the data will provide benefits for marketers and customers. These benefits include the ability to:

  • Enhance your marketing campaigns and strategies
  • Improve marketing efficiency, ROI and ROAS
  • Acquire and retain customers while also growing those relationships
  • Anticipate people’s needs and preferences
  • Increase relevance and personalized experiences
  • Be more respectful of people and how they engage with you
  • Orchestrate customer journeys from a single unified source of people intelligence

Acxiom Data Management Solutions

Acxiom offers a full suite of customer relationship management marketing database solutions that are fully configurable to meet unique needs and business requirements.  Our solutions are the foundation to successful digital and offline marketing that delivers better results.

Our full enterprise solution allows brands to configure campaigns, analytics and real-time capabilities with the most up-to-date audiences to effectively engage people and measure marketing impact on an ongoing basis.

Get your data right with experts who have been doing data right for more than 50 years.

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4 / Types of databases

There are different types of marketing databases, deployed based on the unique brand needs:

Customer – brings together all your customer data across the enterprise for all channels, including ecommerce, web, mobile, customer service, point of sale, digital, and more.  Unify this data to create a holistic single view of the customer consisting of historical, transactional, interaction, and contact data.  

Prospect – finds new customers who look and behave like your best customers to grow and expand the number of people who love your brand

Regulated – manages highly sensitive and controlled data on people and is used by brands in industries like healthcare, pharma, credit, finance.

Clean Rooms provide safe and simple sharing of customer data between a brand and its partners or affiliates to provide controlled access to potential new customers or improve relationships with existing customers.

5 / Strategies for Database Marketing

Remember that the quality of the collected data is key to success, and these five tips for proactive database marketing will help ensure your success:

  1. Don’t cut corners on identity resolution – your brand engagement with people is only as good as your ability to accurately identify them. Marketing is full of examples where incorrectly identifying a customer yields poor or outright bad experiences, the opposite of what you want. Time and effort spent here pays dividends in customer experiences and ROI.
  2. Take data ethics seriously – people today not only expect great experiences but also ones that don’t violate their sense of personal privacy and control. Employ practices for data collection and ethical marketing that build customer respect.
  3. Develop a data strategy first – modern marketing solutions have evolved to encompass tremendous amounts of data across many domains. This data must be designed, curated, and shaped to support your marketing objectives and KPIs. Connecting data without a strategy will result in suboptimal performance or outright failure – simply put, software alone won’t solve your marketing needs; it’s only one of many tools you need to be successful.
  4. Think in terms of digital transformation – the long sought-after goal of true omnichannel marketing remains somewhat elusive in practice. You need a single source of truth for your customers across all channels and time to move in that direction. The modern marketing database ecosystem moves you strongly in this direction by giving you full mastery of your traditional offline marketing while connecting data to your adtech for activation and campaign performance measurement. This is all powered by both historical and in-the-moment dimensions in tandem, not just one or the other in silos, as is often the case.
  5. Master the fundamentals to make effective, advanced moves – while the principles of marketing haven’t really changed much over time, the complexity of executing it well certainly has. The number of madtech applications at your disposal, the exponential growth in volume of data collected, rising customer expectations, and the amount of regulation combine to make marketing more challenging than ever. Marketing databases take you back to the fundamental “blocking and tackling” of mastering your customer data first. With a solid foundation, you can expand and grow into more sophisticated marketing execution with confidence you aren’t on shaky footing in the first place.

6 / Learn how to collect data

The world we live in has become incredibly data-driven, meaning companies are making strategic decisions based on data analysis and interpretation. Companies of all sizes are collecting tons of data about people’s interests, preferences and behaviors. Data is collected through a slew of different interaction channels, including from websites, point of sale, customer service, through digital media platforms and publishers, through second-party transactional partners, and more. Brands must have a marketing foundation that enables the collection and unification of this data to create action-ready marketing databases that put the power of the data in the hands of marketers to effectively engage and serve people.

7 / Don’t succumb to dirty data

Data management is evolving as the backbone of a successful online marketing strategy. Brands should consider the following steps to manage their databases, so they don’t end up with dirty data that causes issues with campaign engagement and marketing automation.

  • Prioritize data protection
  • Focus on quality data
  • Reduce duplicate data
  • Create a data recovery strategy
  • Enable customer opt-outs and channels of choice
  • Unify your entire enterprise data with a solid data strategy
  • Blend in-the-moment data with long-term historical data
  • Ensure data is actionable to support your marketing use cases

Learn more about Acxiom’s modern marketing database solutions

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