In a previous blog post I explained the differences between an Operational Database and a Marketing Database, stating the primary purpose of a Marketing Database is to house customerdata & contact preferences, demographic data, transaction and purchase history, and most importantly, a history of multichannel touch-points. Once you have all this information nicely consolidated into a marketing database, you can begin to step up your marketing efforts beyond just marketing list pulls using manual selection criteria, and enter into the world of automated marketing programs. 

Marketing automation has been around for some time now, but it’s becoming increasingly popular as many of the marketing and campaign management tools available to both agencies and technology savvy marketers now provide the ability for end-users, such as marketing managers, to create their own complex automated programs. Marketing automation is the initiation of marketing programs based on a pre-defined set of rules or a trigger resulting from a customer action and it’s a great hands-off way to reach a consumer at a potentially critical purchasing decision time.

As long as your Marketing Database was designed correctly, it should include most of the data elements necessary to create a successful automated program.  For example, say you’re an automotive finance company, a credit union or any other financial institution with active automobile loans; you can use the information you have about your existing customers to reach out to them on critical decision dates, like 90 days before the expiration of the auto loan, and present them with important information regarding their loan options, some of your other products or even an offer for a new loan opportunity. All of this can be done based on the information that’s stored in your marketing database already. It can even be a program that is run on a pre-defined cycle with absolutely no manual input necessary, which ensure that you don’t have to worry about missing another opportunity to get in front of your existing customers.

While it’s always critical to understand your customer behavior, it’s also important to generate new leads and market to potential prospects.  A good Marketing Database should also handle the inclusion of prospects as well as customers, so you can create automated marketing programs to additionally reach prospects this way.  Let’s use the previous example of a financial institution, this time with a focus on increasing the number of customers with automotive loans.  You could use a pre-selected, scored and modeled prospect universe, with the inclusion of daily or weekly update files to include new movers or updated prospect lists, to create an automated marketing program to specifically target those prospects who have both a propensity to buy and also may have had a recent life event which indicates they may be considering a purchase.  These types of automated programs can be automatically scheduled and require little to no manual intervention once they’ve been properly designed and set up.

Marketing Automation can provide you with the ability to better reach customers and prospects, it can provide you with the opportunity to link operational data to trigger marketing communications based on customer interactions with your company and when marketing automation is combined with a well designed Marketing Database, the possibilities are almost limitless as to the type of customized programs which can be created.  Contact us for more information on how we can help you evaluate your current marketing database and make recommendations on potential marketing automation programs and check out REV, our new End-to-End Auto Refinance Solution, which can nicely tie in with a new or existing Marketing Database as an automated marketing program.