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Data Mining Demystified

In order to produce a successful 1:1 printing campaign, all you need is a great database, right? Not quite. Producing a successful 1:1 print campaign starts with having a great database, but once you have the data, you have to figure out what to do with it. Often, that means data mining.
Data mining. The very phrase strikes fear into the hearts of marketers, but in reality, it is simply the process of finding patterns in large data sets. That doesn’t have to be a daunting proposition. In fact, you can do simple data mining in Excel.
There are three steps to data mining:
• Know what data is available.
• Ask questions about that data.
• Look for useful relationships.
This is something you can do from your own desktop. The first step is simply to understand what’s in your database. The next step is to start asking questions of that data.
If you are a retailer, for example, you might ask, “Which customers purchased hardwood flooring last month?” Then you might ask, “What else did these same customers purchase?” You might find that these same customers also purchased area rugs and floor conditioning products. Now you can ask even more questions. When do they typically make purchases? Is there a pattern by time of month?
Over time, you will start seeing relationships that will be highly useful in your 1:1 marketing. That’s data mining! And it’s well within the grasp of any sized marketer. So get curious!