The spectrum of ad agency database uses

Happy Friday, y’all. My apologies for this week’s second post being so late. Work, work and more work. Plus a birthday and an “oh shit” morning when I thought all four months of blogs posts were gone!

Anywho, earlier this week you read about the qualities you should be seeking when you build a database. This, of course, assumes you even think you need one.

You absolutely do! In a conversation with an agency earlier this week we talked a bit about how databases can be used. There’s a whole spectrum out there of ways to use them. And I thought sharing with it with you might spark an idea or two you could use.

  • To me, the far left end of the spectrum is using it merely as rolodex. A replacement of your Outlook or other electronic address book.
  • Move a bit to the right, and you’re beginning to let the database help you with mailings. Even this little shift can be a great thing for your agency. Because you’re saving someone’s time in pulling the list together.
  • Another shift, and you’re using the database to record the history of your mailing relationship with a given contact. Now you can tell…

    just how many times they’ve heard from you.
  • In about the middle of the spectrum, you’re beginning to capture conversations and events beyond the mass events. And with most of the good platforms, you can set up future activities. So when that day rolls around, you have your prospect to-do list.
  • Records are and uses are beginning to add up a bit. Snail mails, emails, phone calls, agency visits, offers. All being recorded in your database…your history of the significant points in your process to turn this prospect into a client.
  • To the right of that, you’re beginning to leverage the information you have in the database. You might find yourself changing how you prospect based on what you see. This can lead to faster success. For instance, you might be able to notice there are some prospects that have opened up every single email you’ve sent them. These people are much more interested in your agency than someone who, well, has opted out! (An easy comparison for sure!) So, how might you treat this group differently than a “normal” prospect?
  • Moving on, you begin to leverage the ROI of the database. You start seeing which of your efforts are driving the most interaction, meeting opportunities, RFPs and pitches. Optimizing the performance of your new business prospecting and closing efforts. Yes, you read that right: closing efforts are also being improved here. Due to the tidbits of lore and intelligence you’ve picked up along the way, you’re pitching smarter.
  • Finally, you’ve built a proprietary agency tool. Something you can use in a small way to differentiate yourself. A guru I follow, Ford Harding, has some great perspective on this. And my guess is some googling would help you think a bit more about this end of the spectrum.

What’s the status of your database? Where are you at along the spectrum? What’s missing here?

Hope this has in some small way helped your thinking. Happy weekend!