The Advantages of a Database
The advantages of a database management system mean that customer data can be combined with targeted marketing activities such as email, text messaging and direct mail.
The main advantages of a database management system are:
Of all these advantages of a database management system, the one that stands head and shoulders above the rest is: YOUR CUSTOMER DATA IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE
- easy access to data
- customer segmentation
- data filters
- centralized record keeping
How Accessible is YOUR Customer Data?
Recognise any of these?
- Files stuffed with customer enquiry sheets
- A shoebox overflowing with business cards
- A management accounting system full of customer invoices
- An email inbox full of website submissions
- Customer feedback cards gathering
cobwebs in a storage box...?
Each one is a goldmine of data, all totally worthless unless you can access it quickly and easily.
A database management system, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) - call it what you like - can get as sophisticated and expensive as you want. Product range is immense, many with costly management contracts, compulsory updates, and so on. It’s almost cripplingly tough to choose the best database management system.
Get Back to Basics
Remember, this website is about small business database marketing, especially businesses in hospitality, retail, service and other sectors that deal with lots of individual customers. In our experience, most such businesses don't have an accessible database management system. Nothing.
So, no advantages there, then! Compared to having NOTHING, wouldn’t ANYTHING be better? Here are some options to start with.
Start with an Excel Spreadsheet
First convert the data into an electronic format, usually a simple Excel spreadsheet. Even if you start using a spreadsheet as your database management system, you’ll automatically have the data in a format that a more complex database system or CRM software’s designed to use. So, upgrading and importing data at a later date is fairly simple.
It is possible to do some basic manipulation and filtering of data in a spreadsheet. Have a look at some of the websites in the right hand column that specialise in getting the most out of Excel.
An Email Delivery System May Offer a Solution
Increasingly, the best email software will include a CRM function, so you might find you can enjoy the advantages of a database management system and email system in one package (or vice-versa!).
Be warned, though, that an email system often treats the email address as the unique identifier for each contact management record.
This might cause difficulties if you have customer records that don't have an email address. A common solution is to
create dummy email addresses, but it’s hardly ideal.
Choose a Database Management System or CRM Software suitable for Small Business
A Google search for a database management system gives a bewildering choice, from small packages installed on your PC to large subscription-based corporate packages accessed online.
If your business is more about clients and sales accounts than customers, you'll need a full-blown CRM system. Something affordable and easy to use such as Capsule CRM might be a good start.
Either way, using any good CRM software’s likely to give you two really powerful advantages: segmentation and filters.
These are probably the next most important advantages of a database management system.
I’ve stated elsewhere that I reckon the customer database to be the most under business asset of all. At the heart of that statement is this issue of accessibility, and software is the key. |
But CRM isn’t just about software or systems. It’s a business philosophy, an attitude towards your customers. Even if you just use a spreadsheet you can still do CRM!
To leave advantages of database management system and explore what you can do with your customer data, visit our database marketing homepage>>
Why not explore further with these other pages…