Model-to-Mail™ Marketing Database
Introduction to the Model-to-Mail™ System
This document will include a brief overview, a review of your data processing needs, a summary of key elements required to build your new marketing database, a complete hardware and software specification, pricing and an implementation schedule.
For more than two decades we have been working on building the ultimate database. The idea is to take order processing transaction data and gather it together by decision making entities. These customer records can be enhanced with outside data to build a marketing database. The database is to be accessed by everyone: order processing, accounting, operations and marketing. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees about how the data should look. "Customer" can be everything from street address, bill-to address, phone number, transaction or decision maker. Your definition drastically changes how your data processing system is designed.
The single greatest problem with most marketing databases is that they are not easily changed or accessed. When you ask for a new field in the database, it may take two years for it to be operational. It then takes another year or two before enough data is collected to analyze.
Though Information Systems (IS) makes every attempt to be helpful, they feel that often, marketing asks for things before they have clearly thought them through. Mainframe programming is costly and time consuming. Even on relatively flexible systems, adding a new field to a heavily accessed file requires recompiling all the accessing programs. Should bugs develop, they have the potential of shutting down order processing for hours, days or longer! Though most large computers have a query language, using those systems to access the data degrades processing... effectively shutting all other programs down. The processing power that makes the mainframe efficient also makes it difficult to change. Further, it is important that operations not change too rapidly... or the very heart of a business can be damaged.
Marketing, for their part, feel that the environment they operate in is dynamic... and IS never catches up. Marketing has occasionally attempted to bypass IS, with simple spreadsheet tools. The problem is that PC databases and spreadsheets were never intended to crunch through hundreds of thousands of records much less millions of customers. Marketing could develop its own staff of programmers, but the operations people are reluctant to allow two IS departments (with good reason). It is also dangerous to allow marketing too much control of how processing is done (they tend to be very creative, but not systematic). After years of frustration, marketing has agreed to the "slow change approach." Often marketing personnel change before the enhancements are operational.
The fact is that few if any companies have solved the database problem.. There are simply too many differences between efficient order processing and flexible analysis. Functions like word processing long ago left the data processing department, marketing needs distinct computer solutions to build, modify and maintain their own systems.
Two problems face this move from order processing data warehouse IS to marketing database. First, the system must be both flexible and powerful enough to assist non-programmers through data access. If marketing people could program, that might solve half of the above problems... but the fact is that they cannot and perhaps should not!
A recent alternative to the transaction/operations system or PC network has been the proprietary marketing database. These provide analysis, segmentation and selection capabilities. They run on a wide variety of hardware platforms. Unfortunately, you are committing to someone else's idea of what makes a good database.
Loop MD Design
Giving marketing their own computer has definite advantages. The transaction computer is kept secure and reserved primarily for operations. In addition, marketing has the option of appending outside data to the customer file. As privacy becomes a greater and greater customer concern, it will become more and more important to built proprietary non-transferable customer databases. By far the best way to add data is to calculate it yourself.
Data Processing Needs
Before you build your Model-to-MailTM system, we will begin with a review of your current and future marketing and database needs. Though mailers have similar systems and needs, every company has particular ways of looking at information. Our goal will be to make everything look as familiar as possible at the start. We will identify two or three "must have" systems plus several additional wish list applications. We will take the time to learn your system, or perhaps the system you would like to build. We will also identify key players and their levels of comfort and experience in application generation. We will not attempt to layout all your database possibilities until the end of time. This system is more than flexible enough to accommodate future changes. For this reason, we will not attempt to delve into every possibility right at the start.
Our current Model-to-MailTM program allows you to receive your first advanced models of your database, including actual customer pulls for mail drops or telemarketing, in the first month or two after we receive your data. We will operate your system for you. Our clients have used the system both in-house and at our facilities. Over time, the build process includes funding to build key applications customized to your needs. This is important to help your marketing staff to get off the ground quickly with basic application of the system. They can be trained in the application tools to build their own queries, reports and analysis systems. The system can be rewarding as early as the first day after installation. The applications can allow your marketing and merchandise people to generate SQL queries. Soon they will be able to develop most marketing reports, data manipulation and file analysis unassisted by data processing. All applications developed by Miglautsch Marketing are fully documented and customized to your business.
Finally, though all non-application software will be supported by each manufacturer, we provide unlimited phone support for one year following installation. We are available after installation is completed on a demand basis. Our goal is to provide the easiest-to-use platform. Just as your people use off the self tools spreadsheet or word processing tools, you will feel comfortable using these new database tools. Within a few months, your marketers will be completely self sustaining (in terms of getting at and analyzing your data). Long term, Miglautsch Marketing will continue to support you installation by upgrading the set of tools available to your system, based on your marketing requirements. We will give you advanced insight into what will make you more productive in the database market place.
Obviously, the key to this operation is making all the elements work together. The system support breaks down into four areas: Applications, Installation, Training and Consulting.
We begin the build of your system at Miglautsch Marketing... allowing us to inexpensively convert files, build basic applications and confirm correct operation of the database using your data. First, we build specific programs for list segmentation, data update and maintenance. Next, we build enhanced list and merchandise analysis systems (to your specifications). We build an operational system with current customer and transaction data. All custom applications are fully documented by Miglautsch Marketing. You receive documentation after we complete these basic applications.
Then we bring the system to you to add the rest of the suite of analysis tools at your site. There are important considerations to be explored in linking your mainframe to this database system. We detail those at the inception of the project in your custom basic system database specification. As new applications are added over time, we discuss specific needs for each user. Some may need high end statistical software, others desktop publishing. Obviously, high end software requires much more powerful workstations.
Training will be conducted when the basic system is completed, and at the introduction of each specialized application. Our staff will train your marketing personnel in the use of SQL front and back end tools as-well-as custom applications. Your staff will know how to maintain the database, including file conversion and update. They will be trained to select list segments generate marketing reports and analysis files.
Support is perhaps the most difficult to delineate. After months of research, we have selected SQL tools which link you to the Borland database strategy. Borland is the company which brought us Quattro, Paradox, Object Vision and now Dbase and Interbase. Borland is committed to deliver more powerful interactive database structures than any other software company. This means that within months, you will be able to access your database using tools which nearly all marketers are comfortable. Borland received the highest rating of all software companies in J.D. Power's evaluation. Beyond that, we must say that they provide simply the best customer service. Since our commitment is to connect you with the best tools from the best companies. Much of your routine support will come from them. However, Miglautsch Marketing is in the business of presentation and interpretation of data, as well as enhancing your system over time. We hope to build a dynamic relationship with you into the indefinite future. We help companies across the country, providing a powerful network of information on what is really working for real marketers.
Should you wish to go it alone you will do so with the absolute best support available. If, on the other hand, you are looking for database marketing support, we will work with you for the long haul. What our system avoids is the day-to-day detail questions and problems which has characterized proprietary marketing database solutions in the past. You have good, capable people. They will love the freedom of doing it themselves.
Pricing for Model-to-MailTM is designed to make entry easy and continually fund development while generating real payback in your mail and telemarketing operations. We firmly believe that a marketing database is not worth owning unless it makes money for you.
With that in mind, we have structured the pricing to begin with an up front cost of between $50,000 and $100,000. That will include a real pull of data using the database at our site and delivery of a model that you can use perpetually. With most companies we work with, this represents the typical cost of building a model and pulling names for mailing. This way, the initial cost of the system is easier to justify economically.
The system specified above not only allows you to build and maintain an advanced marketing database; it allows you and your staff to select the most productive segments of your customer files for mailing. This selection capability, in turn, allows you to more precisely target your telemarketing and promotional efforts. To say that it will pay for itself is not possible without knowing your present level of segmentation sophistication. If you are using Nth name selects, it certainly will bring profit. What ever your present system can achieve, this database will allow you to understand your system in new ways... because you will be getting your hands on the data for the first time! Who knows what new insight that will bring. It will also provide you with the base platform to add future capabilities which will enhance your marketing options, including interactive online reporting, mapping and, most significantly, advanced segmentation modeling. It means that the creative process can more tightly integrate with the data processing. This integration inevitably leads to more creative ideas about how the data and/or the marketing communication can be enhanced.
Additional applications which can be added to this LAN system in the future include: Integrated, E-Mail between inside support personnel, ANI, EDI, CD-ROM, file cleaning match logic, statistical analysis, On-line and Off-line FAX capabilities, Telemarketing interface with on-screen scripting, and Field Sales Interface and management.
The greatest benefit may be that these can be incorporated without significant changes to the order processing system. Off loading marketing functions saves space on more expensive mainframe peripherals. When marketing has its own self supporting IT tools, that frees up data processing personnel for critical operations programming. Finally, the Loop MD System positions you and your company to know the most about your customers and therefore provide them with the absolute best service for their money... and that keeps your customers coming back!Best of all, you will be working with a company with a two-decade track record of helping and growing direct marketing companies.