Given the choice to lead or follow, which will you do? This is a very real decision for many database marketers today. Traditionally, these folks were the geeks of the marketing department. They kept to themselves, ran queries to answer questions posed by other strategists, and worked hard to keep the data clean and updated. Today, the database marketer is part of an emerging and essential marketing operations team that is driving a lot of the strategy. One marketer said to me recently, "Whoever knows the customers best gets to make the call." Well, I ask you, "Who knows the customer better than the people working with the data every day?" All of a sudden, database marketers are superheroes. Or at least have the opportunity to wear capes if they choose to accept the challenge.
There are two things driving this trend. One is customer habit. Given the ability and choice to interact with brands in many ways and across many channels, customers are taking full advantage. It's a "me"-centered consumption world where customer preference and whim create habits. At the same time, marketing automation technology is advancing and data integration is possible. So marketers can track and, more importantly, react to customer behavior in order to meet needs across channels.
What sorts of strategies require deeper, strategic database insight? Pretty much everything. The list would be shorter if we counted those marketing functions that don't benefit from data-driven decisions. Consider these important initiatives that have become imperatives for many CMOs today:
I'm sure there are infinite variations of these opportunities. Perhaps you are testing some of them now. It will also be great to see how database marketers react to this new level of attention and interest from the C-suite. Will you embrace it and join the strategists, or will you run back to the corner and take orders?
How are you and your team embracing the need for a data-driven marketing approach? Please tell us in the comments area below.
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Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources, and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP, Member Relations and Chief Listening Officer at the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org). Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT the-dma DOT org or @stephanieSAM.