Database Marketing: Implementing a database platform

Sal Pecoraro
VP, Marketing Technology and Support

Without a proper database infrastructure in place, you will not be able to effectively engage and communicate with your clients and prospects. Taking the time and understanding what goes into implementing a database will be imperative to your success.

#1.

How long does it take to put a database platform in place?

Truthfully, it varies by client and what their requirements are. A good average timeframe would be in the 4 to 6 month range but, it really depends on if the client has an infrastructure in place already and is just migrating to another vendor or outsourcing, or if they are starting from scratch.

#2.

How important is technology integration when building out an infrastructure?

It depends on what we’re talking about from an integration perspective. We need the core data integrations for new and legacy source systems – the integrations from your internal enterprise data warehouse, current marketing database, point-of-sale system, ecommerce, etc. These are important to capture data and help you understand your customer. Additional sources like, web analytics, loyalty, and other types of data can potentially be added in subsequent phases. What you want to make sure of is that you don’t boil the ocean. Everything may be important, but you must start with mission critical sources and can then add subsequent sources down the line. 

#3.

What are the pitfalls when implementing a database?

There are definitely quite a few pitfalls that I have seen, but if I had to think about it, “scope creep” is probably the largest. There is the potential when having multiple owners of siloed data, that bringing this together in a single database will require compromise and may not be easy, but you have to start somewhere. The mentality of “while you’re under the hood , let’s change this and this etc.”, you will never get signoff on the scoping document. You need to put a stake in the ground and say “this is what we need to get started”. Again, all thing scan be prioritized and accomplished in subsequent phases.

The second pitfall is reporting. I’ve seen where platforms have been built out and marketers thought they would figure out at the end what types of reports they wanted to see. However, we then had to change the data model because the data wasn’t there, or because it wasn’t in proper format or no relation linkage existed. We really try to hammer that home and focus on what is needed before the system is designed and build. You’ve really got to understand what kind of data you want in the system to report against. You have to make sure you’re mapping those two things together in the right way and that you have the ability to measure success.

#4.

What are the core components that my database should have?

This is actually a pretty common question marketers will ask. With the way technology is going, it’s important that you have a campaign management tool that can do the basics very well. You’d be surprised at how many marketers fail to recognize this. The campaign management tool needs to be able to provide you with the ability to market to your customers and prospects in the preferred channel, or the channel that you use most. However, if your needs are basic, your tool needs to also allow for that. Sometimes, a complicated user-interface is the key reason why marketers fail to use their database to its fullest capabilities. That being said, when evaluating the vendors and their tools, really focus in on how seamlessly it does these 4 things:

  • Segmentation
  • Analytics  
  • Campaign Deployment
  • Reporting

If you find that these four components are not where you’d like them capability wise and from an ease of use perspective, it’s likely then you won’t use the tool to its fullest capabilities, and your investment will be lost.

Author Bio

Sal Pecoraro

In his role as Vice President of Marketing Technology & Support, Sal is engaged in managing a corporate-wide product vision and strategy to create and maintain leading-edge marketing products and services that are consistent across all divisions. He is known throughout the industry for his consultative approach to identifying solutions for clients’ database marketing and data processing needs. He expertise includes: -Support to qualify opportunities -Consultative strategic recommendations on technology, data content and data processing -Product presentations and demos in person at client meetings or via Webex web conferencing -Solution design -Product marketing, product collateral and trade shows -Strategic advantage intelligence over competitive products -Support for questions and written RFP responses -Sales team product and industry training sessions Sal has been with Yes Lifecycle Marketing for over 14 years and has over 28 years experience in the database marketing and data processing industry, including marketing database applications, NCOA and data hygiene processing, list processing, creative/print production, and consultative services. In addition, he is a member of the Direct Marketing Association, the Forrester Technology Marketing Council Leadership Board, and The Data Warehousing Institute.

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