I live at the intersection of marketing and technology. I love to take mountains of raw data and make it dance at the speed of light! I make a living building systems that listen to the music made by customers and prospects as they go about their daily lives, leaving behind a wake of bits and bytes in the form of transactions, tweets, 'likes', blog posts, and heaven knows what next. All that digital 'stuff' can be used to sell more, save money and make better decisions.
By building Marketing Databases that listen and learn.
Marketing Databases are different from operational or transactional databases. A Marketing Database is a means to an end. That end is a logical dialogue between customers and prospects, leading to increased sales and loyalty and ultimately greater return on marketing dollars. By capturing, storing, and combining bits of information about customers such as, where they live, what they like, and what they buy, marketers can make countless niches identifiable and accessible. These techniques can be applied to B2B environments as well consumer markets.
Like most people over 30 involved in this type of development, I have taken a rather circuitous route to where I am today.
I began my financial services career at American Express back in 1979. At American Express, we developed huge systems to analyze Cardmember behavior. We pioneered the concept of data mining and data warehousing techniques in support of face-to-face selling efforts. The results were astounding.
Today, what used to take a small army of programmers and millions in technology, can now be done with a desktop computer and a couple of people with the right skills.
Unfortunately, most companies lack the skill, will, and marketing leadership to take full advantage of an asset they already own - namely, their own customer databases. Combine your customer's behavior with all the free stuff floating around in 'cyberspace' and now you have real competitive advantage.
Customers will tell you what the next step in the relationship should be, if you build systems to listen and act. Intelligent database marketing is the key to engaging and retaining customers. If you don't believe me, just ask Amazon.
The cool thing is that the same techniques that work so well for the Amazon's and Fidelity's can be applied to much smaller companies with equal effectiveness. I know this to be true from my work with development stage 'dot.com's as well a major insurance carriers such as AIG, ING, and Nationwide Insurance.
These secrets involve bringing systematic process to customer and prospect relationships through the application of CRM (think SalesForce.com) and intelligent data mining.
Want to know more? Zap me an e-mail! or read this book. Better yet, do both!