The Magic of an Industry Database
by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Dive Industry Association is in the business of “Building a Better Industry, One Member at a Time.” To build a better industry, or a community as we like to call it, you have to know the businesses and industries that specialize in diving. To understand the various markets we are in, you need to know the Buyers and Sellers in each market. You need to know the people who work in the industry and you need to develop a business relationship with them.
In the old days, LISTS were important to us. We all wanted to know how many Manufacturers, Reps, Dive Stores, Instructors, Dive Boats, Dive Clubs and Travel Businesses were in the Industry. Everyone wanted “The List.” We even argued over who had the better list. When the internet came along, everyone had a list. They were all different and in different stages of development. Even non-businesses got on some lists. Lists were bought and sold for a fee and many of them were old, dated, and stale. When email grew in popularity, phone numbers, fax numbers and mailing addresses became less important. Email addresses were King. It cost 0 cents to email someone as compare to .48 cents for a first class postage stamp. Trouble is, people change their email addresses too often and many business people don’t read their emails any more. The biggest problems with sending an email to someone you don’t know is that it can be labeled as SPAM or go straight to the receiver’s trash.
We’ve come to realize that lists are not important anymore – relationships are. It’s important to develop relationships with your customers and then keep in touch with them. To do that you need their current contact information and you have to keep it current. We found that it’s best to separate your customers into three categories; Current Customers, Former Customers and Future Customers. Each category has different protocol for sending messages and keeping in touch.
The best way to stay in touch with your customers is to create a database. A database has to be easy to create and easy to maintain. Over the years, Dive Industry Association has used different types of software for its data. We currently have an Excel Database and a Card Scan Database. We also have our database on Constant Contact and Sales Force.
Our Trade Database consists of over 5,000 Industry Professionals and our Consumer Database is over 20,000 Divers. We don’t buy , sell of rent our list and we maintain our database for the sole purpose of “Building a Better Industry, One Member at a Time.” As a Trade Association, it is our Mission to bring Buyers and Sellers together and grow the Recreational Diving Community. We pride ourselves on being called “The Industry Rolodex.”
Over the next few months, Dive Industry Association will showcase and talk about its Card Scan Database, Constant Contact Database, our Database on Sales Force, and yes, our Excel Spreadsheet Database in our Monthly Newsletter, The Dive Industry Professional.
Industry Professionals: Do we have your Business Card on File? You can check our website at https://divelocal.wordpress.com and check one of the Regional Directories to see if you are on it. If you don’t think we have it, please mail us your current business card to Dive Industry Association, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904. We will put you on our database and list you in the Industry’s Dive Local Directory for FREE.