Among other transformations affecting database marketing is the increasing importance placed on list hygiene. Marketers' attention has been riveted by how the recession wreaked havoc on business contacts and their postal and e-mail addresses. But even the normal drift of employment and responsibilities causes databases to steadily lose accuracy.
“The first thing you can't count on is an e-mail being delivered,” Bird said. “Way too many companies are giving themselves a sense of false security. There may be no hard bounce but, when you step back and look at any company, you'll see a bunch of desks that used to have people at them. And they all had e-mail addresses.”
Vendors and technology are moving quickly to address this particular pain point. This was exemplified last month when e-mail marketing solutions company e-Dialog Inc. announced its pending acquisition of MBS, a direct marketing database services company, for $22.5 million.
Among its technologies, MBS specializes in list hygiene. But it also analyzes customer behavioral patterns to inform relevant messaging in e-mail, direct mail, mobile devices, social network, e-commerce and telemarketing.
For the future, database marketers, like Kronos' Terry, will continue to “move all the levers” in turning what used to be a fairly straightforward discipline into a more sophisticated, and effective, process. M