A direct marketing campaign is only as effective as the list used and the message delivered. In other words, you must know who your audience is and what their needs are.

A good customer database quantitatively captures the key characteristics of prospects and customers who are most receptive and able to purchase your product or service. In fact, one of the most important criteria for any direct marketing effort is to have a consistent customer profile available, which describes the dominant target markets. This information must have sufficient detail to support a customer database. Ask us about Profiling your database for future direct marketing efforts.

You also need to know exactly whom you addressing, the decision maker – not just the correct company name and mailing address. Companies do not buy products or services. People do. Addresses can give you information about the characteristics of your target audience, but you will need to have a good idea of the characteristics of the individual person you are trying to reach. Your marketing must make an impact on a person, after the direct marketing campaign reaches the right destination.

So, how does one begin building a successful customer database? Study your current customers and their buying habits. Get to know as much about them as possible. Learn their goals, problems, and business needs. Potential customers will likely be similar to the people who currently do business with you. The better you understand your customer base, the better you can tailor your message to motivate them to buy.

The bottom line is that knowing your customer can dramatically improve your bottom line. So gather as much information as you can about targeted prospects. There is a wealth of data available on both consumers and businesses readily available in a wide variety of sources, including the internet. Your personal contact with your customers will also prove invaluable in determining the most salient selling points to include in your direct marketing efforts.

Direct Marketing is somewhat unique in the fact that you can save money by targeting only the most promising prospects—and not waste valuable time, energy and resources on those who have no need for your product or service. Once you truly know your audience you can create a message that matches their requirements and interests, and move them to take advantage of your offer.

If you do not currently have a customer database, you will want to create one. List procurement is frequently a component of the direct marketing process. Lists are a representation of your target audience. Regardless of how great your product or service is, if you are marketing to the wrong audience you will never achieve the results desired.

As with all your direct marketing challenges, Lee Weiner can help you acquire a list that will help you target the right audience with the right message. Then, you can develop and maintain a database that gives you an ongoing competitive advantage.