3 Questions to Ask When Working in Database Marketing

Blog, business

On today’s blog, Pam Perez, Intelechy Group’s Senior SQL Developer, weighs in on the three questions her experience working in database marketing has taught her to ask.

As a developer, I’ve always worked with data. It didn’t matter whether I was programming in .NET, PowerBuilder, or (as I date myself) FoxPro or Cobol. As most developers do, I tended to focus on the functionality of the interface: finding the optimum or coolest way to make something happen in the fewest lines of code, or building a sleek new method to automate or speed up a process. The focus was rarely on the data that was input into these processes. Data was just a necessary ingredient for me to achieve the greater goal of what I was building. It was the flour in the cake, something we all have to deal with, but does anyone really like sifting it?!

My New Perspective

That all changed when I started working in Database Marketing as an SQL Developer. Data is now my cake. I see it in a whole new light. It is one of the most valuable ingredients for any business and is seldom treated as such, until that flour is all over the kitchen. (Okay, I’ll stop with that analogy.) What I mean specifically is the data that a business collects through various contact with clients, potential clients and networking contacts is critical to maintain, but even in large enterprise organizations, that data can be strewn about in various spreadsheets or databases. It’s not until the business is in dire need of reaching those contacts that an effort is made to get organized.

However, organized data is critical to reaching the players that are important to your business. Having all the addresses of past clients with details of their purchase history and buying preferences and even their recent browse history on your website can make for a very effective email or direct mail campaign. As an SQL Developer, my job is to extract that data, format it, produce timely data files and report on the results. The data is key to the entire process and fundamental when building and automating effective campaigns as a marketer.

Once I discovered how vital organizing data is in database marketing, I now ask myself these three questions when creating and managing campaigns:

1. Are we collecting the right data for our needs?
It’s easier than ever these days to collect and warehouse huge amounts of data. But we all know that too much data can affect an analyst’s ability to silence the noise and remain focused. A large part of my approach in database marketing is ensuring that our systems are optimized to collect data that is relevant to goals and overall strategy.

2. How can we turn the data that we collect into knowledge?
As an SQL Developer in the world of database marketing, I am constantly focused on how to take the data that we collect and organize it to tell a story. But before we can create a narrative, my focus is ensuring that all data collected is accurate, segmented and actionable. My goal is to create databases that are designed to identify buyer personas, life-cycle stages and track all customer touch-points.

3. How can we use the data to make business decisions?
After we collect and organize the data, I turn my focus to reporting and analytics. As an SQL Developer, I am trained to ensure that all aggregated data is easily accessible. But in the world of database marketing, my goal is to ensure that all systems communicate efficiently while creating a holistic view of lead nurturing, campaign performance, new opportunities and marketing ROI.

Asking myself these three questions ensures that we are harnessing this valuable data we collect in database marketing and using it in a way that makes our campaigns as effective as they can possibly be. SQL Developers and data junkies: Any other questions you ask yourself? Let me know in the comments below!