Database Marketing: Is Someone Examining You Right Now?


Today, someone somewhere probably wrote down your name and/or captured or updated your phone number, email address, mailing address, and so on. You may not have even spoken to the person. Perhaps they heard your name on a conference call or in some meeting that you did not attend. Maybe they Googled you or looked you up on Facebook or LinkedIn or who knows where.

And it’s not just your identity information. People are tracking your behavior. Google has built a multibillion dollar business this way.

Privacy? Forget about it

People have been capturing information since the invention of writing. What’s different is the tidal wave of change that this data capture activity is just starting to have on the Big Iron world of database marketing.

Obviously, sales people and business people in generally are leveraging tools like LinkedIn to learn about people they would like to speak to or have recently met. But database marketers have new possibilities on the horizon as well.

The old approach of buying lists now and then from publishers and compilers who gather the information now and then is still practical. But it’s terribly inefficient. People get married, promoted, fired, hired, and moved in an endless loop. So much of what is true right now is untrue tomorrow and far less true next year.

The Web has made this problem much worse

This sad fact has been the bain of sales and marketing people and the basis for the business models of venerable companies like D&B and Axciom. But a database marketing revolution is coming, and the implications for buyers and sellers are profound. Companies like JigSaw, InsideView, BroadLook and five companies I’ve never heard of are just beginning to leverage these vast oceans of data. It’s the database marketing version of Facebook.

Obviously, early adopters are appending names and other contact information on customer accounts or updating existing names and accounts. But smart database marketers have been doing that sort of thing for years. There are just more and increasingly better options.


Two new possibilities could threaten traditional players and create significant opportunities for greater relevance:

  1. Trigger event marketing – With Web crawling technology, you can target firms based upon very specific, and meaningful events that have occurred to or in their business. And you can do so shortly after these events have occurred. For example, a computer company could send an email, a personalized letter, etc. to any newly hired CIO. Or to the key people on the current IT staff whose priorities may change as a result of new leadership. The potential for these trigger event possibilities are endless.
  2. Account and industry behavior – As companies like JigSaw reach critical mass, mathematicians should be able to look at the aggregate data and extrapolate a variety of predictive factors. For example, marketers should be able to spot companies that are adding or subtracting a lot of employees over some meaningful period of time. So HR recruitment service providers could prioritize industries that were just starting to grow right now and the companies within that industry that were growing the fastest. There are many possibilities.

Some database marketing service providers are already offering services in this area. Companies standing on the sidelines do so at their peril.

Related Resources

One-to-One Marketing at Four Levels: Strategic ways every marketer can enter into an online conversation with customers

Marketing Career: How to become an indispensable asset to your company (even in a bad economy)

Reaching Decision Makers: Four biggest sales challenges Internet startups and entrepreneurs face

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