March 07, 2017

Database Marketing and CRM: Can One Survive Without the Other?

This is the era of marketing automation led by multiple databases and database management systems (DBMS). Now, our arsenal for the management of the services may include means to collect and curate customer data, prospect data and ROI analysis tools. This makes it possible for retailers to create personalized offers and mailers. However, this still leaves room for confusion between the several tools involved in collection, curation and analysis of the consumer data. For example – you may find it daunting to segregate a marketing automation tool like Hub Spot from other tools like customer relationship management systems (CRMs).

Database Marketing and CRM: Can One Survive Without the Other? : eAskme
Database Marketing and CRM: Can One Survive Without the Other? : eAskme
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So how to tell the difference?

One thing that all users must remember is that the definition of each database and software is highly subjective.  It depends on the user and the intent to a great extent. Believe it or not, a CRM can be considered marketing software since marketing teams use it in mega-corps. Traditionally, CRM is a repository of information that is necessary for managing customer relationships. And marketing software is used to store and take actions towards specific leads and customer relations.

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Database marketing vs. CRM: what are their uses?

To make things clearer, let us delve into the respective purpose of the two. A CRM has more than just the basic contact information. It has the customer history, address, phone number and other data that allows the marketing automation software to perform the actions on the database. The CRM allows the prediction of customer behavior and highlights customer preference that allows the marketing software to design offers, promotions and send mailers’ to target customers only. If used smartly, a CRM can help in both inbound and outbound marketing strategies like email, SMS, paid searches and social media ads.

The marketing automation software allows its user to create workflows based on the information they are interested in. while CRMs are necessary to maintain complete customer information, the marketing automation tools allow specific actions to be taken on specific customers depending on their purchase history and subscription preferences. There are two different kinds of marketing databases –
i.    Consumer databases
ii.    Business databases

How to use each of them?

CRM has been lauded over the years for being extremely useful in tracking sales and customer support interactions. A CRM can keep track of all customer purchases and subscriptions. However, a marketing system can track a broader set of data about the target audience even before they become customers. The information is usually pooled from a variety of sources including social media websites they visit and ads they view.

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Purpose of their existence –

As we have mentioned before, the purpose of CRMs and database marketing software can overlap to some extent. In most of the cases, CRMs are used to maintain customer relationships and a marketing automation tool is used to cultivate leads. While CRMs mostly function at the bottom of a sales funnel, the marketing automation tools and marketing database usually function at the very top. Hence, these marketing tools act before the conversion actually takes place and it is primarily used by the marketing department for the same purpose.

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Why is it so confusing to tell the difference between marketing database and CRM?

Many of the tools that are used by CRMs can also be used by marketing databases. We have seen both sales and marketing teams of a company use the same set of tools for customer management as well as customer conversion. This is the main reason whyconfusion still persists among many erudite database experts.

What are the experts saying?

Do not compare CRM to marketing database.

There is no way you can choose either one.Both of them have their respective functions or they work at different ends of the sales funnel. This is reason enough for most startups and SMBs to choose both whenever possible. You may want to choose a remote database support to cut corners, but you simply cannot do without one.The combination of CRM and marketing automation is both necessary and critical for the success of a business. That being said, it is quite apparent that you should not at all be comparing the two in an attempt to determine which is more suited for your business. You will be needing both at some point, so be prepared to invest in the best CRM and marketing database automation tool in the near future.

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How to engage your CRM and database marketing to improve customer relationship management?
There are three main target areas that can improve customer relationship management: Strategic consulting, Database design and Analysis services.

Strategic consulting

This is a part of your CRM. When the sales team uses a group of tools to collect all usable data about customers; it becomes a part of your company’s strategic consulting. The same tools can also be used by your DBA servicesteam(s) for data analysis, management, assessment and acquisition in the latter steps of this process. This usually helps in the creation of marketing files and models that enable list acquisition and brokerage.

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Database design

Data about your prospective and current customers need to be organized and curated, only then can marketing tools act on it to creating marketing and sales models. Groups of file developers are usually entrusted with the task of creating a data repository to create a seamless connectivity to a client’s marketing programs. They are also responsible for creating customer files, business goals and business retention.

Analysis and reporting

Lastly, the CRM and marketing groups analyze the available and organized data through cluster profiles, geo analysis and mapping to map customer behavior. The group also provides analysis reports based on the results from all CRM campaigns. In most companies, there are two separate teams who perform the tasks of CRM analysis and marketing database analysis, but we have seen companies work impeccably with just one team mastering both the sections.

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The real difference between CRM and database marketing is not the kind of data that is stored; it is the purpose of the data that is curated in each database. The difference mainly stems from the kind of attention paid to the analysis of the data in each of these databases.

Author Bio:

Sujain Thomas is a website developer and design reviewer who has worked in close proximity with quite a few well-known dba services all across the country. She recommends the use of remote database support if you want to save money on your database marketing techniques.