Use of Data Bases as Marketing Tools Spreads

Article excerpt

Banks are beginning to use their data bases to identify profitable small-business customers, cross-sell products, and find new prospects.

"Without a data base, you are basically looking in Yellow Pages to find businesses to call on," said John Menke, senior vice president and marketing data base manager at Webster Financial Corp., Waterbury, Conn.

Data bases even help bankers set prices and cater to different customers.

"You can't mass market or price your products the same for everyone anymore," said Robert James, group executive for market planning and customer development at Centura Banks Inc., Rocky Mount, N.C. "Customers use your services differently."

The proliferation of data bases is another sign of how bankers are grappling with the transformation of small-business banking into a high-volume field.

While large banking companies such as PNC Corp., KeyCorp, and Fleet Financial Group are already using data bases, smaller ones like Webster and Compass Bancshares, Birmingham, Ala., are just setting them up.

Information on individual customers, such as personal deposit accounts, business loans outstanding, and demographic data, is culled from various data bases maintained by the bank. A new data base is built, focused on small-business customers.

The banks use software systems from companies such as Harte Hanks Data Technologies to analyze how customers use the bank's products and determine which customers generate the most profits.

"You need intimate knowledge of your customers to market as many products as possible," said Jeffrey Brown, Webster's executive vice president for marketing and communication. …