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Tip: Database Design
  1. A list, by any other name, is still a list. Be careful not to confuse a mailing list with a marketing database. Many marketing campaigns work nicely with a simple, flat file mailing list. A database, however, differs in that mailing names are linked (usually in a "one-to-many" relationship) with other data records for that individual. The most typical example is an individual buyer record linked to multiple sales transactions. The power of database marketing lies in selecting a target audience based on these detailed attributes.

  2. Use a "fire wall" approach to marketing automation. A "semi-automated" application design is often preferable to a completely automated one for this reason: manual intervention at various points in your database process will provide an important QC check. This prevents a single mistake from growing and destroying an entire database.

  3. Avoid "Analysis Paralysis." When building your marketing database, consider the requirements of many users. But don't study these requirements to death - it is more important to build now and refine later rather than delay implementation for the perfect solution.

  4. Keep contact (person name) address independent of organization address. This defies traditional relational database approaches, but no matter. You often need to identify the specific suite #, room #, floor, facility code, etc. for contacts that are not specified in the parent organization address.

  5. A man who wears two watches never knows what time it is. In a marketing database, if you have prospects and customer in separate files, you will never be sure who is where. Put them in the same file, eliminate duplication, and identify them with customer or prospect codes.

  6. High Tech High Touch. The design, planning and implementation of a marketing database can consume many months or years (and some careers). Nurture your professional relationships with marketing staff and technical staff during this period. It will pay off in the long run.

  7. Dates worth keeping. At a minimum, store two dates for each customer in your database: the date of first contact (first order, etc), and the date of last contact. This will help you calculate customer lifetime value and track the most current changes to name, address, etc.

DMSI recommends using M.O.M.

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