A Marketing Database Is
Your Marketing Operation's Water Heater

Arturo F Munoz Open QuoteFor those of you that have ever experienced water back up in your basement, you know all about how much cleaning is involved and how much damage can be caused. A sump pump is your best defensive against this ever happening.

-- PlumbingKey.com


An Obvious World Of Databases?

It may seem obvious that to practice database marketing you need to have a marketing database. But the typical marketer in B2B is not in marketing to be focusing on databases.

Marketing DatabaseThe world of marketing in B2B is about one company's team, on one end, attempting to persuade another company's team, on another end, to meet to discuss the possibility of working on sizable projects.

For example, there may be a team of engineers at an architecture firm attempting to convince a team of commercial real estate developers to make use of the firm's industrial park design abilities, or a software company team may work to persuade a group of system technicians at a bank's call center to use new software to cut down on agent idle time, or a wholesale distributor team might try to urge the procurement department of large retail chains to commit to truckloads of pallets laden with brand new product lines from China.

This differs radically from B2C marketing, where the point is to persuade an individual to transact with the company preferably on the spot through a point-of-sale device. The B2B marketing operation with so many players involved in the transaction is a complex process.


Let Machines Do What They’re Good For

Complexity is the name of the game in B2B marketing. And tracking that complexity is what a database system is all about. The operative word in this phrase is 'system'.

When I speak of a marketing database, I'm speaking of a series of procedures through which information important to the marketing department must flow as well as be stored in one of various places along that process.

This is not a minor distinction I'm making.

Too many marketers think of a marketing database as being just a repository of data. That's like thinking that your water heater is just a tank of water.


Spilling Out What A Marketing Database Is

I'm fond of using plumbing and construction analogies to illustrate the abstract world of database systems. Your water heater is only one component of the entire plumbing system in your house. If you don't have it connected to a couple of pipes, then no cold water is going into and no hot water is coming out of your tank any time soon, even if it arrives full of water from the factory floor.

By itself the repository is practically useless, and finding yourself trying to convince your spouse of letting you buy one when your house is missing all of these pipes would be near nonsense, don't you think? So don't try the equivalent with your boss.

I can't tell you how many database marketing jobs begin precisely with this kind of a premise in mind. They're doomed to fail.

You need to know not only how many pipes you must install in your house, but you must assess how big they ought to be, whether they should be plastic or copper, if so, where each type applies along the floors layout; what filters you need installed and where; what size tank and corresponding pump can get the water to the second floor; what pressure and temperature control devices will gauge comfort and, finally, don't forget to open up the main line and pay the water bill!


You Can Lead A Marketer To Water...

Now here's an incontestable reality. Most marketers believe that their job is to bring the water by the bucketful from everywhere in the field and toss it over the wall to drain somehow into the water heater (unless you're in PR, in which case you're in a tower loft chanting for rain!) They're all dismayed to find out eventually that most just went down the sewer.

They don't understand that the house needs plumbing or they presume it has it already and that everything is working as it should – no leaks, clean filters, heat source, plenty of pumping power available. In most cases they're fooling themselves. Their water-carrying efforts soon appear pointless. Frustration builds. This is why you can come out like a hero from such a situation.

But you must think 'system' not 'database', and your organization has to be ready for it or else, run for the nearest fire escape door! Don't take on the marketing database creation challenge! Don't say later that I didn't warn you.



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