Our Thinking

Thinking About Outsourcing Your Marketing Database? 5 Reasons to Say Yes

By Ed Higdon. Posted in Insight

February 04, 2015

When it comes to other marketing functions, retailers gladly outsource to third parties. They work with PR firms, advertising agencies, graphic designers, event planners, and a host of other marketing professionals. And yet, there’s hesitation to outsource database marketing – hesitations which can lead to retailers missing out on the distinct benefits of outsourcing. Here are the five main benefits retailers stand to gain from outsourcing marketing database services.

  1. Gain Valuable Insight: Rely On The Expert’s Knowledge
    When retailers opt to manage databases in-house, their information exists in a vacuum. There is no real way to tell whether or not their processes, systems, and procedures are truly effective or efficient without other benchmarks to compare them to. Outsourcing means retailers gain access to subject matter experts with years of experience. Firms that manage marketing databases for retailers only manage marketing databases for retailers; they have developed, tried-and-true best practices. As a customer, retailers have the benefit of those years of experience when they partner with an outsourced manager.

  2. Get More From Internal IT Teams Focused On Value-Add Core Tasks
    The main focus of retail IT teams is to ensure that the POS is up and running, transactions are captured, and that every line item audits appropriately. Keeping those systems running smoothly requires intense focus and attention. When those teams step away from those core tasks to handle the marketing database, it divides their focus, which means neither function gets the attention it deserves. When a third party manages the database, IT staff can do more quality work on the core business functions that need their attention.

  3. Invest Upfront To Decrease Costs Long-Term
    The upfront cost of moving a marketing database to an external partner may seem high. However, over the long term, these costs can and should be viewed as investments. Retailers must think about the benefits of having true subject matter experts handling their database, and the reduced costs they will see over time thanks to error reduction, less downtime, greater efficiencies, and efficient problem resolutions. That depth of resources is typically not available in everyday in-house IT departments.

  4. Resolve Problems In Record Time
    When a vendor manages marketing databases, it is their job to stay on top of that database. When problems arise, teams mobilize quickly to resolve the issue. Vendors can almost always move more quickly than an in-house team because their only job is to work with your database. If mail is coming back undeliverable, for example, the firm can respond instantly. If that mail gets kicked back to the retailer’s internal team, however, it could wind up a low priority on a junior IT staffer’s desk.

  5. Mitigate Risk In The Event Of A Breach
    No retailer ever wants to make headlines for a data breach. Unfortunately, data breaches do happen. Outsourcing databases put a degree of separation between the retailer and a breach; though the retailer is not necessarily absolved of liability or responsibility, a trusted outsource partner can help mitigate risk, prevent hacks, and, in the event of a breach, absorb some of the impact. It should always be both the retailer and the vendor’s priority to do everything possible to protect customer information at all times; but those with an outsourced manager have a “team mate” to work with – those who manage in house are flying solo.

An outsourced marketing database solution isn’t right for every company, but there are some clear advantages to working with a partner. Retailers can keep their internal IT teams focused on core competencies, lean on the experts for best practices and innovative solutions, and they can see improved accuracy and efficiency. There are enough hardline benefits that outsourcing the marketing database should at least be an option retailers thoroughly consider.