June 11, 2008

Rebuild Your Database Marketing Department: Part 3

Put Up A Firewall

All around you, well meaning Executives, Directors, and Managers have their own agenda for your team. In fact, they've always had their own agenda for your team. It is one of the reasons you must rebuild your database marketing team.

You have that Director in the Information Technology department who thinks your KPIs aren't appropriate for your business. He's working behind the scenes with a select group of leaders to create the customer information infrastructure that he believes will drive the business into the 21st century --- and he will have his team answer the customer questions asked by management (hint, this happens all the time, folks).

You have the EVP of Merchandising who wants to dictate to your team the catalog and e-mail marketing targeting strategy. Heck, her job is on the line, and she's not going to let your team ruin her ability to keep her job.

Part of rebuilding a database marketing department involves letting your co-workers know that this is YOUR AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY!!

You don't tell your merchants what merchandise to source from China, do you? You don't tell the Information Technology folks which online order entry platform they must use, do you?

Conversely, nobody should dictate the work your team does except for you.

This requires you to walk a fine line. You must allow others to ask questions of your team, and you must allow your team to answer those questions independent of your leadership. And yet, you must make it clear to every person in your company that you set the agenda, you determine the priorities --- and if their request isn't a high priority, it won't get worked on.

You will communicate to the company what the top priorities are for the fiscal year. You will report, on a periodic basis, the successes and failures your team experience. You will set the agenda for the direction your department takes.

Too often, the database marketing department is being run by forces outside of the database marketing department. This leads to a rudderless ship, a fractured team working for the special interests of folks outside of the database marketing team. You'll never have a winning database marketing team when there are eight cooks in the kitchen, with seven coming from other kitchens!

Put up a firewall!