Gibbs and Dandy Plc is one of the largest regional builders and merchant in the UK. As a company, Gibbs and Dandy has managed to expand its operations to 12 other countries in Thames valley, South midlands and the Northern home countries. The company specializes in building and plumbing materials. In addition, professional services for initial and home improvements are also offered by the company. Since the company specializes in building and construction process, its market target is the young and the retiring UK citizens. This is because the youth need to own their own homes where they can raise and develop their families from. The retirees also aim at establishing their dream house to call home and thus the target needs. This paper seeks to analyze customer database as a marketing tool.
Excellent customer relationship not only ensures the retention of the current customers but also encourages and increases potential customers. In order to successfully satisfy the customer’s needs, a company ought to have a proper record for its customers. Among the relevant information that the company can maintain are names, address, location and occupation (Milne & McDonald, 1999, p.55), which are the basic components of customer databases. The database assists the company to identify the important and the most profitable customers. After the identification, the company arranges on how to improve its services towards them in order to win their loyalty. Customer database enables the company to easily trace where about of their customers with a lot of ease. The database customizes customer’s details from the name, location, address and other personal information concerning the client (Stone & Jacobs, 2007, p.43). It is also important to record some of the basic and complex encounters with the client including their resolutions.
Benefits of developing and maintaining customer databases
Customer database gives the company a competitive advantage since the information assists them to specialize in profitable ventures. The company’s resources are thus efficiently and effectively utilized towards maximizing the returns (McCorkell, 1997, p.141). In the case of Gibbs and Dandy, quality building and plumbing materials should be offered in order to win a larger market share. The information assists the company in identifying the potential markets and customers. In most cases, the location of the regular customers significantly defines the target market of a company (Kotler & Scheff, 1996, pp.367&368). The customer database is conveniently accessible from a central location, thus making it easy for the company to reach out to its customers. Since the youths, retirees and the financial institutions are the major customers of the firm, more focus should be directed to them.
It is from the database that the company gets to understand the specific group which it should seek to expand its operations to cover in the market. Since the youth lies between the age of 18-35 and the retirees range between 45-above, the company should target that generation whenever expansion process seems inevitable (Hughes, 2005, p.89). From the customer database, the company can establish a marketing technique which will aim at informing the current and the potential customers on the products and services that the company offers. For instance, the Gibbs and Dandy Company can use mailing technique to inform its esteemed customers on the price reductions in the company’s products. This will not only encourage them to buy more, but will also attract new potential customers who are usually price sensitive in nature. Through customer database, the company can easily monitor sales trend and performance. Responsive mechanism is also possible with a customer database since close contact will assist to resolve upcoming issues.
The corrective mechanism therefore enhances good customer relationship management within a company. Customer database is also quit important since it enables the company to spot the buying trends. Consequently, the trends enable the company to order its stock well in advance so as to ensure that the company does not run out of stocks. The trends indicate the increase or decrease of customer sales which enables the company to respond on time to revert back the situation back to normal. It is therefore right to say that customer database significantly assists the management on how to improve its marketing plan in order to maximize its sales and revenue. The Gibbs and Dandy Company therefore can efficiently utilize the information contained in the customer database to position itself in a better place in the market than its competitors. Well established marketing strategies will also be utilized to boost the company’s sales considerably.
Customer database also enhances effective communication between customers and the company since the approach is done at a more personal level. The close contact may automatically lead to product improvement and development. This is because customers will feel free to positively criticize the product once they are not satisfied (Becker, 2001, p.174). The close contact therefore adds the existing customer’s value as well as boosting the products satisfactions.
Potential limitations and weaknesses of information held in customer databases
Since different companies will seek different information concerning their customers, tailor made databases will be provided creating difference between firms. Variances between firms usually result to different interpretations and information use within the market. It is therefore not advisable for the company to solely depend on the customer database in developing its marketing plan (Segovia, Szczepaniak & Niedzwiedzinski, 2002, p.96). Since customer database will comprise of some detailed information about the customer, a lot of manual undertaking is encouraged. The manual storage ends up consuming the valuable human time that would have otherwise be utilized in company’s growth and development. It is important to note that customer database cannot be used to generate documents neither can it be interfaced with other internal or external systems in the company.
Among the ethical issues that the company should be aware of when holding the clients data includes confidentiality (Azari, 2003, p.72). The data should not be disclosed to a third party since doing so will infringe the customer’s rights. The client can sue the company if the information provided is leaked to the third party and cause damage to him or her. Among the privacy challenges include that of the networked individuals within the company (Kent & Lancour, 1995, p.181). The category may also include the hackers and those who illegally access people’s files in the company. Such individuals may also hold some back up tapes which may be used to pursue their selfish ends. There is also a great challenge since the companies may opt to sell out such information to other needy companies, thus gaining illegally. This may arise mostly if the company plans to quit from its current business. Other companies may gather such information purely for the purpose of selling it to the third party. Due to this limitation, majority of customers never disclose their personal details even when asked to do so (Fitzgerald & Arnott, 2000, p.242).
A company may also encounter a monitoring challenge which mainly goes to the company’s employees. This limitation was nevertheless considered in the ECPA rules, but practically it may be extremely hard to control dishonest employees within a company. Sometimes, government can obtain such information from the company and use it to enforce compliance. Although the motive may be right, the means through which such information is acquired is not right. It is therefore very important for a company to ensure that the information obtained from the client does not leak to a third party without his or her consent. Gibbs and Dandy Corporation therefore ought to be very cautious when handling its customer databases so as to safeguard a cordial and warm relationship with the clients.
In order to develop a successful and workable marketing plan, it is important for a company to fully analyze its customer’s information. This is because the information assists the company to improve its product and service quality in order to meet clients’ needs. The information also helps the company to cultivate loyalty and trust in the existing and the newly established clients. The company is also obligated to ensure information privacy once it has been given by the client. This is not only ethical, but also ensures that the client’s rights are followed to the later. Gibbs and Dandy Plc therefore should establish a customer database and use it to develop an excellent marketing plan which satisfies and meets the needs and preferences of its clients at all times. The move will not only increase sales and revenue in the company, but will also improve customer relationship.
Azari, R., 2003. Current security management & ethical issues of information technology. London, Idea Group Inc (IGI). Web.
Becker, S.A., 2001. Developing quality complex database systems: practices, techniques, and technologies. Hershey, Idea Group Inc (IGI). (Online). Web.
Fitzgerald, M. & Arnott, D., 2000. Marketing communications classics: an international collection of classic and contemporary papers. London, Cengage Learning EMEA. (Online). Web.
Hughes, M., 2005. Strategic database marketing. New York, McGraw-Hill Professional. (Online). Web.
Kent, A. & Lancour, H., 1995. Encyclopedia of library and information science. New York, CRC Press, Vol.57. (Online). Web.
Kotler, P. & Scheff, J., 1996. Standing Room Only. New York, Harvard Business Press. (Online). Web.
McCorkell, G., 1997. Direct and database marketing. London, Kogan Page Publishers. (Online). Web.
Milne, G. R. & McDonald, M. A., 1999. Sport marketing: managing the exchange process. London, Jones & Bartlett Publishers. Web.
Segovia, J., Szczepaniak, P. S. & Niedzwiedzinski, M., 2002. E-commerce and intelligent methods. New York, Springer. 2010. Web.
Stone, B. & Jacobs, R., 2007. Successful direct marketing methods: interactive, database, and customer-based marketing for digital age. New York, McGraw-Hill Professional. Web.