By Kate Pierson
When the subject of mining is introduced, the illustrious sheen of gold flickers in our subconscious. And if you’re looking to mine your company database, the same connotative associations should spring to mind. Because what you have inhabiting your systematic residence is worth its weight in gold to your business.
Debbie Mayo-Smith is an international business speaker and number one best selling author. As the mother of six children including twins and triplets, Mayo-Smith says her own success is testament to the effectiveness of database mining and marketing.
So what is database mining and what does it involve?
“Well if you look for database mining in a search, Google will tell you it’s ‘data processing using sophisticated data search capabilities and statistical algorithms to discover patterns and correlations in large, pre-existing databases’,” Mayo-Smith says.
“As I’m more of a small business girl rather than an enterprise, I’d rather say for businesses, your database can be a veritable goldmine for you.”
From a cafe to a clothing store, a dentist or a funeral home, Mayo-Smith says database mining is applicable to any business that involves customers and business to business relationships. “A database can be used to help you form critical business decisions. If you’re thinking of adding a new service or product, you can send a simple email to your database asking what customers think… in other words your own private focus group.
“You can use database mining to bring customers back to you and to continue a ‘conversation’ with them until they are ready to commit or repeat a purchase. You can also use database information for hiring — it is useful in so many ways really.”
Mayo-Smith says dedicating money and time to media advertising, cold calling or business development can be superfluous to requirement when businesses can utilise what she classifies as their ‘FREASY’ (free and easy) business tools.
“It’s so easy. It doesn’t matter where the data is put to sleep at night — in other words, where it’s stored. The important thing is to look at a formula which I have been following for years.” This formula is part of her database mining FREASY processes: information + communication + automation = profit.
Information: Collect relevant information about all your customers and prospects and put this in a database.
Communication: Keep talking to your customers. Form a ‘what’s in it for them’ (WIIFM) plan.
Automation: Use your everyday technology tools to work with the information you have collected and then to disseminate the information you create for clients. Use multi-mode touch communication such as emails, print, sms or mms. This is simple, clever thinking and it is free.
Tips for ascertaining and using customer information wisely:
- Target — don’t bombard everyone with everything, relevance is the key
- Never let anyone go (unless they ask). Have forms and signups on all sources of customer contact
- Use the internet effectively — to have an online presence and give useful information
- Communicate regularly. Persistence pays — heaps!
- Use your software — and use it well — to get the most time and savings from it.
Mayo-Smith’s new book titled Make Your Database Your Goldmine is about understanding the value of your customer information. She offers advice on turning your database into a goldmine and how using programs like Microsoft Excel to collate and extract data can maximise your time and resources.
To find out more about database mining or Debbie Mayo-Smith, log on to her website atwww.debbiespeaks.co.nz