What is a marketing database?

05 Apr 2022  |  by Joe Meade

7 min read

A marketing database such as a customer data platform (CDP) contains essential information about your customers that you can use to inform your marketing activities. It gathers and unifies data from all sources, ensuring all your customer information is located in one convenient place.  

In doing this, the marketing database generates a complete view of your customers on an individual level and allows you to recognise every unique customer through all their activities with your brand.

The database aims to unify customer data and stitch together profiles. Using the information it provides, you can create and maintain a successful, mutually beneficial, and long-term relationship with every customer.

By using a marketing database, you’ll be able to:

  • Adjust your message for specific audiences
  • Identify your best customers
  • Segment your buyers
  • Create loyalty programs that inspire repeat purchases
  • Improve your customer service

A marketing database will help you develop a deeper understanding of how your business can provide value to each of its customers. In doing so, it will allow you to develop customer relationships that lead to increased brand loyalty, word-of-mouth referrals, and high customer lifetime value.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about marketing campaign databases. As well as covering what database marketing is and how it can help your business, we’ll also explain how to build a marketing database and the information you need to include. We’ll then conclude by telling you how our solutions can help you get the most from your marketing campaign database.

What is database marketing?

Database marketing is a form of direct marketing. It’s all about leveraging the customer data that’s housed in your marketing campaign database. By effectively utilising this information, database marketing allows you to deliver more personalised, relevant, and effective marketing messages to your customers and potential customers.  

While traditional direct marketing involves mailing marketing materials to a list of potential or current customers, database marketing takes this process a step further. Rather than sending the same marketing information to everyone and hoping for the best, database marketing aims to understand how customers want to receive marketing communications. It then applies those insights to fulfil the customer’s wishes.

The concept of creating a marketing database isn’t new, but two recent factors have made this approach to personalised marketing more practical for companies to implement:

  1.  Vast quantities of customer data are now typically collected by companies
  2. Powerful new technologies allow companies to mine and analyse their customer data to uncover more about the needs of their customers. These technologies can also allow businesses to segment their customers and predict how individual customers will behave in the near future

How to build a marketing database

The best marketing databases contain as much information as possible about each customer and prospect. For a marketing database to be useful on its most basic level, it must contain key pieces of customer data, such as:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses

On top of this, the best marketing databases will also include further details about how the customer has interacted with the brand over time. This includes:

  • Acquisition data – when and how the customer first interacted with your brand and made a purchase 
  • Demographic data – age, gender, marital/family status, education, address, etc.
  • Website/app history – pages visited, frequency of visits, products browsed, features used, etc.
  • Purchase history – the number of purchases, number of items purchased, average purchase price, dates/intervals of previous purchases, etc.
  • Campaign response history – which campaigns have customers received and how often did they respond
  • Loyalty programme data – this should include points earned and promotions redeemed
  • Correspondence history – this should include a record of all interactions between the customer and the brand
  • Social media activity – this should include topics and brand names discussed, app ratings, profile details, etc.

By generating a deep understanding of how your business can effectively meet the needs and desires of each customer, you can develop meaningful customer relationships. 

Once all of the information about your customers has been collected, cleaned, and linked to each individual customer, it can be used to create personalised experiences. But, ensuring your data is free from errors, up-to-date, and correctly linked to each customer is challenging. 

Thankfully, technology now makes the process of building a marketing campaign database simple. Plus, by using technology, you can also ensure you’re not affected by one of the pitfalls that affect businesses using marketing databases, such as data decay and poor data accuracy.

How to use your marketing database

Once you’ve collected data and created your marketing database, you can use it in a number of ways. The exact way that you use the data and deploy the insights will depend on your needs and your goals. However, here are just a few of the ways you can incorporate database marketing into your business and your marketing campaigns.

Segment your audiences

Not all of your marketing activities will be relevant to everyone in your database. For example, a customer in Manchester is unlikely to be interested in a sale at your London store.

Thankfully, to avoid sending irrelevant communications to customers, you can segment your audience based on traits they share, such as their geographic location or their buying patterns. This way, you can send targeted campaigns that will increase your conversion rates.

By segmenting your customers based on various data points, you can create highly relevant and personalised interactions that exhibit emotional intelligence and can successfully rise above the noise. The result of sending personalised communications to a segmented audience will be: 

  • Increased customer engagement
  • Higher customer basket value
  • Long-term loyalty
  • Increased ROI

Remember, the primary value in creating a marketing database is that it enables you to talk to your customers on a one-to-one basis. By really knowing your customers, including their wants, needs, preferences, tendencies, and even likely future behaviours, you can make your customers feel understood and valued.

Plus, by communicating with personalised messages, you can make sure that your customers are more engaged with the brand and more loyal. This means that they’ll remain active customers for longer.

Reach out to inactive customers

Using the information in your database, you’ll be able to see which of your customers have lapsed or have not interacted with your company in a while (and are at risk of lapsing). Using this data, you can reach out to them and get them to re-engage with your brand (using a relevant and targeted offer) before you lose them forever.

Identify and prioritise your most loyal customers

On the other hand, your marketing database can also help you identify your most loyal customers. Using this information, you can target these customers relentlessly. You can also create campaigns that are designed for their needs. An incentive like a loyalty program, for example, will inspire repeat purchases.

Improve customer support

Acquiring new customers is important. However, the process can be expensive and if a new customer lapses after a single purchase, you’ll struggle to grow.

For this reason, you should make sure that your customer service team also has access to your customer database. This way, when a customer gets in touch about an issue, the team member can review their buying history and know exactly what product they’re talking about.

This way, rather than requiring the customer to explain the product they’ve purchased and the issue they’re facing, you can meet their needs immediately. For example, if you can see that a customer bought one of your products earlier the same day, you’ll know it’s highly likely that they need help setting it up. 

How Apteco can help you to get the most from your marketing database

Here at Apteco, we can ensure that you’re always receiving maximum value from your marketing database.

With an Apteco CDP, you can gather all of your customer information in one convenient place. By creating an Apteco CDP, you’ll find it easy to take full advantage of your data and put your insight to practical use. This is because an Apteco CDP generates a complete view of your customers on an individual level and allows you to recognise every unique customer through all their activity with your brand. It also distributes customer profiles to delivery platforms that need them for marketing purposes.

An Apteco CDP is much more than a marketing database. Although it unifies all your customer data from a wide range of sources and channels, it also allows you to make sense of raw, multi-channel data and turn it into a source of competitive advantage.

Rather than just being a data library, additional features are built-into the Apteco CDP that will help you put your data to good use. From data analysis to data cleansing, your Apteco CDP gives you the tools to be proactive.

Plus, unlike data warehouses and marketing databases, which are built and run by IT teams, an Apteco CDP allows marketers to easily access customer data and apply it to their marketing campaigns.

In addition to this, our analytics software can be placed on top of your customer data platform. These pieces of software allow the data to be analysed and displayed. As a result, they can help generate new findings so that specific target groups can be selected for your campaigns.

On top of this, our state-of-the-art marketing data analysis software can help you understand your customers better than ever before and will ensure that every piece of marketing is relevant, targeted, and personal.

Interested in learning more about how we can help you convert your data into actionable insights? Share some basic details and receive access to our demo calendar. Book a demo with us today.

Joe Meade

Joe joined Apteco as Marketing Executive in 2021. Joe has several years' experience working in B2C and B2B marketing, and oversees Apteco's social media activity, email campaigns, website and monthly reporting. 

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