Innovative use of technology has enabled marketing company Database Communications to crack the Australian market to the extent that more than half its new business now comes from Australia.
“The Australian market has much bigger budgets but they’re not very innovative when it comes to technology,” says Database Communications managing director Scott Fuller.
Fuller and his partner, Brent Wenlock, set up the company in the 1990s as a marketing consultancy to address the changing role of technology.
“Technology had been a long way behind the processes,” he says.
Fuller comes from a mail-order background and had spent three years as project manager at Telecom installing a marketing database.
“We felt that if this was the model [for the future] other people would want it. There was a new world of structure and discipline to marketing.”
Database Communications began to develop its own software to provide and automate those disciplines. Fuller says it sounds like customer-relationship management, but “we’ve stayed well above that.”
“CRM came out of sales automation. Today, customers are looking at brand measurement and micro-sites (targeted websites) that offer incentives. The micro-sites act as a front-end to our software.”
The company’s original software was developed in Delphi and, initially, it built its own development language, but there wasn’t the skills support for that. Now, everything is built in Postgres. The database is heavily populated with information from Statistics NZ, which enables spatial analysis to be done.
“We do mainly structured interrogation,” Fuller says. This includes customer profiling, behavioural analysis and segmentation modelling.
“We work with clients relative to their degree of readiness, beginning with standardised behavioural analysis. When a view of the current position is available this is compared with customer demographics and market data to create customer profiles. The output is used to create customer and market segments, to enable on-going targeted communications in the context of campaigns that can be predicted and measured.”
Database Communications offers three core services: its software, which it licenses and into which customers can insert their own behavioural models; consultancy and a bureau service. It also has an ASP site, which is used solely for hosting its own products. In fact, all but one of its Australian customers operates off the Wellington ASP service.
They include heavyweights such as Australia Post, Daimler Chrysler and Spicers Paper. The bureau is focused heavily on email dispatch, which Fuller says has grown a lot since micro-sites began to be introduced.