14 No-Fail Steps to Building a Database
by Alan Weber
People have bet their careers on their ability to build and manage a successful marketing database. Unfortunately, many of those bets were lost. If knowledge and behavior-based marketing is so effective, why don't more database efforts succeed?
Rarely does a marketing database fail for purely technical reasons. Most efforts have the hardware and software to be successful. So why do so many fail?
Most marketing database efforts that fail do so for at least one of three reasons:
1. People assume that with better knowledge of their customers, they will do the same things more efficiently. In reality, they end up doing different things. The magnitude of change that is demanded by better knowledge is often too great for the organization to accept and use effectively. As a result, they have a tactical tool of limited value, when they need a strategic tool.
2. The database is built without an understanding of the business model. The business model is a description of the methodology and the environment within which a business reacts to produce a profit by providing, selling and delivering goods or services. Reasons for failure like wrong champion, wrong platform, etc., are symptoms of not understanding the business model. Failure to understand the business model dooms many efforts to a lingering death, even before they start.
3. Businesses see the marketing database as a thing, when in fact it is part of a process. They set out to build a marketing database, often spending millions of dollars before it becomes useful, only to see it fail.
Business Modeling Process
The business modeling process is an on-going methodology to monitor the relationship of the business strategy and the business model. The most successful marketing databases are part of a business modeling process. They are decision-support tools, designed to affect the business strategy, as well as to impact day-to-day tactics. Their successful application is a process involving top management, marketing, information systems (IS), finance, production, product planning and other departments.