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Database Marketing: Are You Missing the Big Picture?

Over coffee with a friend this week, they mentioned the benefit of someone having “helicopter skills”. They meant the ability to understand the technical detail but then zoom out to see it in the context of the big picture (often business context or need).

Given our theme this month is Database Marketing, that got me thinking about how such an approach helps leaders of these teams.

What does it mean for a Database Marketing leader to step away from the technical detail & focus on the bigger picture of how to make a real difference in their business?

Well, I’ve been browsing other blogs again & found some content that shares interesting potential answers to that question.

Does it matter if it’s Offline or Online?

First, let’s start with this post from Tommy Landry, published in CMS Wire. In it, he argues that marketers are in danger of being pedantic and myopic if they obsess about thinking in terms of offline versus online marketing. Your customers don’t see you that way & the biggest impact from your database marketing efforts probably comes through integrated marketing anyway. See if you agree with this challenge to step back & look at the big picture:

How can your customer be the hero of your story?

Another key theme that’s emerged from a few writers is the need to focus your database marketing efforts back on the customer. We’ve posted before on the need to return to customer centricity in all our data, analytics and database marketing plans. Good to read Courtney Feairheller making the same plea on HubSpot’s marketing blog. Sound high-level principles here, especially the need for your wider insight work to give real clarity and understanding of your target audience before co-creating interactions:

Is culture the elephant in the room?

As a consultant, all too often you come across clients who want to hear the easier advice but shrink back from addressing thorny cultural issues. So, I was encouraged to see Brian Solis raise this topic in the context of barriers to driving digital transformation. Although our focus is on more customer-centred holistic database marketing, not just going digital with your business, the problem he raises can often be a barrier for insight leaders too. That’s why more & more are investing in people change, coaching and culture initiatives, not just data projects.

What about you?

Hope those excerpts were interesting and got you thinking about any ‘big picture’ context you might be missing. Could you be at risk of just ‘heads down’ working on technically optimising your database marketing, whilst missing the opportunity to address some wider business barriers to real impact?

How well are your Database Marketing team joining up with other Insight professionals, marketers & wider business leaders — to ensure interactions make sense for customers and optimise profit? If you’ve any tips to share or ‘war stories’ of what doesn’t work, please do share.

Taking Database Marketing from being seen as just a part of Marketing or IT, into a driver of transforming your business to interact intelligently with your customers is a long journey for everyone.