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Tip: Software Programming
  1. Consider a prototype solution. When the urgency to implement a database is high, consider a prototype application (preferably with off-the-shelf software). This approach will get you started quickly and allow your user group to visualize a working model. If done properly, the prototype can be converted readily to a final operational system. Microsoft Access contains ready-made database templates that work well for prototypes.

  2. Look for a workhorse, not a showhorse. When you are shopping for marketing database software, keep in mind your basic requirements, and don't get oversold by high tech bells and whistles. At a minimum, a marketing database should have the following: a strong query function (e.g. "give me large customers in Virginia"), the ability to create mail files, and powerful analysis capabilities (e.g. "who responds best to my promotions"). Most marketing departments will require more, but look over the "extras" to be sure they don't complicate your programs.

  3. Avoid technology overkill. When implementing any new system, you should understand the concept of "appropriate technology." This was first explained by the British writer Schumacher when describing the error of placing tractors in primitive countries, when mere oxen succeeded much better. Your marketing database is only as strong as your weakest link. Be careful to avoid technology overkill, especially if your basic marketing infrastructure (staff, tech support, etc.) cannot support it.

  4. Bill Clinton = William Jefferson Clinton. When shopping for merge/purge software, be sure the logic can match birth names with nicknames. This will reduce your duplicate mailings.

  5. Be wary of using consumer database software for business-to-business purposes. B-B presents a truly unique challenge for marketers, especially in eliminating duplicate names and addresses. For example, there are important differences in keying organization names (AT&T, AT and T, ATT, A.T.T.) which most consumer marketing software is ill-equipped to handle.

DMSI recommends using M.O.M.

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