June 08, 2008

Rebuilding Your Database Marketing Department

The Seattle Mariners have a huge payroll. They also have the worst record in the American League. It is time for the ballclub to "rebuild", to start over, to find a new way to be successful in the future.

In sports, the system of metrics make it easy to know when it is time to rebuild. Wins and losses, divisional titles, playoff wins, championships, player statistics, fan attendance, television and radio ratings all tell a compelling story. In sports, the "KPI's", if you will, make decisions easy.

Now let's fast forward to your database marketing team in the year 2008. What are the metrics that tell you that you need to rebuild your database marketing team?

It isn't easy to identify the metrics, is it? Are your e-mail marketing campaigns generating $0.12 per delivered e-mail? Is that bad? And if it is bad, is it the fault of your e-mail marketing manager? How would you ever know if your web analytics expert is doing a good job? How would you ever know if your catalog circulation manager is transitioning your customer file to one that no longer needs catalog marketing anymore? How would you ever know if that should be your strategy?

We really don't have outstanding metrics to evaluate the performance of database marketers, do we?

This week, we're going to talk about rebuilding a database marketing department. Enough of you share with me that you perceive your database marketing efforts are broken, so the topic is worth discussing. We'll explore people, data, metrics, and vendors, all in the search for a highly functioning database marketing department.

We are not going to explore software. You don't succeed because you chose Coremetrics over their competition. You don't succeed by outsourcing your database to Abacus vs. building it in-house. You don't succeed by working with Return Path vs. CheetahMail, or by choosing SAS over SPSS. You don't succeed by having perfect KPIs perfectly presented on a management dashboard for all to see.

You succeed when you create a great environment that allows brilliant people to thrive, to be creative.

We'll find that this analysis series comes up short. I don't have all the answers. I do want to inspire you to do better, to be successful.

Tomorrow, we begin.