Data Mining Helps Database Marketing

Data mining helps marketing users to target marketing campaigns more accurately; and also to align campaigns more closely with the needs, wants, and attitudes of customers and prospects.

If the necessary information exists in a database, the data mining process can model virtually any customer activity. The key is to find patterns relevant to current business problems.

Typical questions that data mining addresses include the following:

Which customers are most likely to drop their cell phone service? What is the probability that a customer will purchase at least $100 worth of merchandise from a particular mail-order catalog? Which prospects are most likely to respond to a particular offer? Answers to these questions can help retain customers and increase campaign response rates, which, in turn, increase buying, cross-selling, and return on investment (ROI).


Data mining builds models by using inputs from a database to predict customer behavior. This behavior might be attrition at the end of a magazine subscription, cross-product purchasing, willingness to use an ATM card in place of a more expensive teller transaction, and so on. The prediction provided by a model is usually called a score.

A score (typically a numerical value) is assigned to each record in the database and indicates the likelihood that the customer whose record has been scored will exhibit a particular behavior.

For example, if a model predicts customer attrition, a high score indicates that a customer is likely to leave, whereas a low score indicates the opposite. After scoring a set of customers, these numerical values are used to select the most appropriate prospects for a targeted marketing campaign.

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