is a form of direct marketing using databases of customers or potential customers to generate personalized communications in order to promote a product or service for marketing purposes. The method of communication can be any addressable medium, as in direct marketing.
The distinction between direct and database marketing stems primarily from the attention paid to the analysis of data. Database marketing emphasizes the use of statistical techniques to develop models of customer behavior, which are then used to select
customers for communications. As a consequence, database marketers also tend to be heavy users
of data warehouses, because having a greater amount of data about customers increases the likelihood that a more accurate
model can be built.
There are two main types of marketing databases, 1) Consumer databases, and 2) business databases. Consumer databases are primarily geared towards companies that sell to consumers, often abbreviated as [business-to-consumer] (B2C) or BtoC. Business marketing databases are often much more advanced in the information that they can provide. This is mainly because business databases aren't restricted by the same privacy
laws as consumer databases.
The "database" is usually name, address, and transaction history details from internal sales or delivery systems, or a bought-in compiled "list" from another organization, which has captured that information from its customers. Typical sources of compiled lists are charity donation
forms, application forms for any free product or contest, product warranty cards, subscription
forms, and credit application forms.
The communications generated by database marketing may be described as junk mail
, if it is unwanted by the addressee. Direct and database marketing organizations, on the other hand, argue that a targeted letter or e-mail to a customer, who wants to be contacted about offerings that may interest the customer, benefits both the customer and the marketer
Some countries and some organizations insist that individuals are able to prevent entry to or delete their name and address details from database marketing lists.