Managing data is `vital to strategy’

Nine out of ten marketers identify database management as an important part of their company’s marketing strategy, according to a Gallup report on leading UK companies’ views on direct marketing.

The survey, commissioned by PCL Direct Marketing Services, sought the opinions and needs of The Times’ Top 1,000 organisations.

Specific questions focused on the extent to which various elements of direct marketing are used, the use of and satisfaction with marketing agencies, whether the direct marketing budget is likely to increase, decrease or stay the same over the next 12 months, and how the effectiveness of direct marketing is measured.

Findings indicate that direct marketing consultancy is not valued highly by many companies. Only 28 per cent see it as an important marketing tool.

Respondents strongly associated direct marketing with direct selling. More than a third of those questioned said it meant “focused selling” or “targeting specific groups”. A fifth identified the term to mean “communicating directly with the end-user”.

The survey results suggest customer loyalty programmes will experience the largest growth of all direct marketing applications over the coming year. Some 42 per cent of firms use loyalty schemes. This figure is set to rise by 13 per cent over the next 12 months.

Of the various direct marketing methods used, 71 per cent of companies conduct their database management wholly in-house. A further 26 per cent use a mixture of in-house and external resources.

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