The End Has Come

This will be my last required post for my Digital Marketing class. I am glad that I was given the chance to create this blog and try my hand at writing. It was interesting to see how many of my friends were actually interested in reading about what I had to say. I was happy to see that I did gain some attention in the blog world and gained many followers that were not people who I knew.

So what did I learn?

The main take away I got from this class and experience is how important digital marketing is. It wasn’t like I wasn’t already aware of this but I didn’t know to what extent its importance held. Digital marketing has its moment when it is in your face and obvious, like paid search and banner ads.

paid search

You know it exists and you see that it exists. Most of these type of digital marketing can be annoying and people want it to go away. What I didn’t realize was the amount of marketing that is sneaky about being marketing.  For example, lets talk about content marketing.

content marketing

Most of the time there is content marketing people don’t even realize that is advertisement. They are just fun, engaging items that bring the user to your site and you don’t even realize what they are doing.

Digital Marketing and just marketing in general is all about being the puppet master. We use different strategies like, inbound marketing, social media, database marketing,etc… to persuade users to come to our site and buy our products.  This has become a second nature to the users and they are so unaware how much everything has to do with marketing.

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The skill that marketers need to have is knowing how to relate and draw in all the different people. Personalization is a key factor  in drawing in all different types of users. Supplying different types of content on your blog or on your site allows for people to find something to their liking with your company.  This is why it is extremely important for marketers to not only be creative but to also have technical skills. By having technical skills marketers will be able to help the users even more and they will be faster about it. Research will go quicker and decisions can be made by the marketers with confidence, instead of having to trust what the IT guy is saying. Going through code academy was a great experience in this class and I am happy that I’ve made the decision to learn more and more about coding.

I could go on and on about what I learned in this class but I suggest that you read my past posts to hear more about what I have to say about digital marketing.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned that it was interesting to see how many people of my friends would read my blog and  how many new followers I was able to obtain. Well for the last day of my blog I did a bit of an experiment. I’ve been using Klout for a while now  and I was interested in how many people were influenced by me to a point that they would do what I asked.  For two days I asked people to help me out and read my blog. I never expected the results I would get but I got over 728 views in one day.

Capture

Throughout the quarter I had been pretty consistent with my blog. I gained more and more followers but would  only get roughly 20 views per post.  I would regularly post on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. I would just tell people they should read the blog but there was no real incentive for them to do what I asked. The fact that in one day I was able to get 728 views, granted only roughly 60 visitors, shows that I do influence a large group of people as long as there is something in it for them. In this case it was helping out a classmate and I promised I would stop giving them a hard time about reading my blog.

This could be used in digital marketing also. Brands want their customers to want to help them out, for example in co-creation. The dream is to ask your customers to do something, doesn’t matter what it is, and they will do it without a second thought. Granted me asking them to read my blog was very simple and easy but just  think if I kept asking small favors from my followers and escalating the level of difficulty each time. If the user gets something out of the favor, whether it be physical or psychological, they will more likely want to help. I’m excited to keep writing this blog and see what I can make out of this.

For the end of this blog I would like to say that I learned a lot and I defiantly got a lot out of this class.

I became HootSuite Certified: untitled

I became Google Analytics Certified:GAIQ

I also wrote 14,775 words with an overall view of 1,315.

Thank you for continuously reading and walking with me through this process.

EdgeRank: Get More People To See Your Posts

Today we are going to talk about how to improve your performance on Facebook.  If you didn’t know all of your posts that you make on Facebook do not show up  in the News Feeds of every one of your fans. This news flash can come to a shock to many and even piss a few off. For example Mark Cuban (Dallas Maverick’s owner) or George Takei (Star Trek Star). Mark Cuban is very angry with Facebook because he doesn’t get publicity for free anymore. Businesses have to pay to reach the fans that have already liked their page. Below is the Tweet and screen shot that Mark Cuban shared out to his twitter fans when he realized he would have to pay $3,000 to reach a million fans.

mark cuban

I mean honestly I think Cuban is overreacting a bit. When I went about researching Cuban I noticed that he gets mad at a lot of people. Facebook just ticked him off at the wrong time but I don’t think he has a valid excuse to be angry. Facebook is a free source for the basic social media platform but they can’t be a charity and need to make money some how. Businesses pay for advertisements everywhere else so why shouldn’t they have to pay for it on Facebook. If branded pages were given free rein on Facebook to push as much advertisement as they wanted for free to every user, then the users are going to get fed up. We don’t use Facebook to get blasted with advertisements and I believe Facebook is just trying to protect the life of the site and the loyalty of their users.

Now your probably wondering how Facebook goes about choosing what is placed in people’s News Feed and what isn’t. Understanding this concept is going to help improve your Facebook performance. Facebook uses this algorithm that they call EdgeRank.

edgerank

You may read some articles that state it isn’t called EdgeRank and there are hundreds of new factors that affect whether your post is shown or not, but I am just going to give you the most important basics. If you would like to read more about the changes please follow this link: EdgeRank is Dead.

As you can see in the picture above, there are three very important factors that you should focus on.

Affinity: This is your relationship with users. The amount of users that have interacted with your page in the past affects how likely they are to see your posts. If they’ve clicked, liked, or even commented on your posts in the past, EdgeRank assumes that they are pretty interested in what you have to say, which gives it higher priority to show in that user’s News Feed.

Weight:  This is how much priority EdgeRank gives to your post, based on the post type. Facebook has a hierarchy of post types, which photos and videos take top priority. Links come in as a second priority and your plain text status are at the very bottom. Interactions with other users , like comments, are more weighty than likes.

Time Decay: This is how old your post is. The longer your post is on Facebook, the less likely it will show up in a user’s News Feed.  Your post is going to be more relevant to users who check Facebook constantly versus Facebook users who only check it once or twice a week because of this time decay aspect.

Now there are four things that EdgeRank checks every time you post and you should make sure to take this into consideration when trying to improve your Facebook performance.

User’s past interactions with the author

          The more you engage with a friend or a page, the more likely you are to see their posts.

User’s past interactions with that post type

If you often engage with a certain type of post you’re more likely to see posts of that type.

Reactions from users who already saw the post

The more Facebook users engage with a post, the more likely you are to see that post.

Amount of complaints or negative feedback

As more users give negative feedback, the less likely you are to see that post.

Now that you are aware of the basics I am going to talk about the 5 most important things you need to do to get into the News Feed of your users.

Post Regularly

timing-facebook-saturday

I have heard and read many conflicting data that states when the best day is to post on Facebook. This is honestly something you need to experiment and play with. Try Google Analytics to study your data. The picture above shows that the end of the week is best time, but once again it depends on your users and business. What I do know is that you should post regularly and mix it up. You want to make sure that your new posts are replacing the old posts.

Post photos

In this society people don’t like to read very much, or at least that is what I have noticed in my experience. Photos are self-explanatory and gain more engagement. Videos are also a great way to bring engagement in and are more interesting than text updates. Images tell a story and the best ones are the ones that people don’t have to wonder and question about.

Encourage Engagement

reader-engagement-meme

Ask questions, create contests, have fill-in-the-blank statements. Do whatever you can do to gain the attention of your users and make them want to participate.  This will bump up your affinity score with the users and will give your future posts a higher chance of reaching their News Feeds.

Keep it clean

No profanity. Complaints about your Facebook posts will harm you way more than you think.  There have been many of times that I have unliked, even complained about a page because of profanity on their site. Make sure to watch for spam so that you can avoid negative feedback.

Focus on quality

FB-meme-300x300

This is not what you want! Quality posts are the most important thing you can do to improve your Facebook performance. Make sure you are consistent as well because you are more likely to receive engagement that will push your posts into the News Feeds on a regular basis. People realize when you are not spending time on your posts and they will punish you for that.

Of course there are many others things you can do to improve your Facebook performance but if your boss asked you to improve your Facebook performance in one month, then focus on the five factors above and keep in mind the factors that EdgeRank looks for. This will help boost your performance and then you can begin focusing on other aspects.

Co-Creation: How Involved Are Your Customers?

Now that you have watched this video you are well aware of the four different groups of co-creation and I am going to go into a little bit more detail about how businesses have succeeded in all four groups.

1.  Crowd of People

This is also known as “Crowdsourcing”. Anyone can join this group because somewhere out there, there is a person who has a “brilliant” idea that deserves some consideration. One type of crowdsourcing is Kickstarter.  This is an example of how crowdsourcing went mainstream. The people out there with these “brilliant” ideas will put them on Kickstarter. They set a goal for themselves, for example $1,000 by  a certain date. If this person can gain enough backing from other people then Kickstarter will match the goal. This is “unleashing the power of the masses” because the funding is purely funded by the society and their approval of the idea. Be aware that many people fail. Following this blog: GeekDad, 9 out of 10 failed projects did not even reach 30% of their goal. When the masses speak they defiantly speak in volume.

The main benefit for businesses using this type of co-creation is that it is relatively cheaper than hiring a professional. Crowdsourcing is great when your employees are involved. It creates rich employee feedback and the employees get a sense of ownership and responsibility. They want to leave their legacy for the company. This also pertains to Kickstarter because the people backing the projects feel they are helping make someones dreams come true and  they are an integral part of the success of the project.

2. Community of Kindred Spirits

This is the most relevant type of group when it comes to developing something for the greater good. Groups of people with similar interests and goals can come together and create. This model works in software development and strengthens the potential force of a large group of people with complementary areas of expertise. An example of this type of co-creation is Linux. Linux is an open source operating system software. This was developed by users and for users. The software code is free to used and nobody owns it.

Coalition of Parties

This type of co-creation is for more complex situations. A coalition of parties team up to share ideas and investments. Each party brings a particular skill to the group. This is when the most technical breakthroughs often happen. The keys to success with this group is the sharing of knowledge and creating a common competitive advantage. A great example of this type of co-creation is Heineken.

Heineken recruited a virtual team of 19 young emerging designers from four different continents to develop a concept club of the future, which came to life in Milan 2012. The team had access to an online panel of 100 clubbers so they could stimulate ideas. The team was encouraged to build off each other’s personal experiences and they went on a world tour of clubs.

Club of Experts

This is best suitable for a very specific, time-pressured challenges that demand expertise and breakthrough ideas. The contributors have to meet a certain set of criteria and have to go through a very select process. The quality of input and the chemistry between the expertise are the keys to success. The people need to be out of the box thinkers. An example of this type of co-creation is Nokia.  They organize “lead user” and “expert” co-creation sessions to develop new products and services. Fronteer Strategy are a partner of Nokia in these projects, where bold new steps have been designed.

As the first video stated there are 5 guiding principles in co-creation.

Inspire Participation

You want to trigger people to join in your challenge. Be open and make sure your consumers know what’s in it for them. Most people want to contribute because they care about the products, brands, and companies around them but you have to “trigger” the needs for them to want to participate. By inspiring participation you are going to have product improvement and your sales will raise.

Select The Very Best

You need the best ides and the best people to deal with today’s complex issues. The selection process is very crucial because you want the best ideas to surface and survive. Team chemistry is also very essential and diversity is key. If you have a well-balanced mix of gender, nationalities, professions and interests than these great minds will produce the best results for your company.

Connect Creative Minds

Synchronicity within a structured, constructive dialogue is what you need. Make sure you are listening, being receptive, and being interested in what the people have to say. You want to unlock the potential that this group has and make sure to take everyone and their ides seriously. Be open to criticism about your product and help create common ground between the contributors.  By creating  common ground people will feel more comfortable with sharing information, ideas, experiences, dreams, strategies, successes, and failures in order to get the “creative juices” flowing.

Share Results

Make sure there is something in it for the contributors.  This compensation can be monetary but less tangible rewards can be greater. Examples of this would be recognizing “key” contributors or asking them to join more initiatives. Make sure to also keep the participants informed of progress and developments. You want to keep them loyal and if you  ignore their wishes than you will be damaging the ability to attract more participants and ultimately damaging your company.

Continue Development

Co-creation only delivers when it is a longer-term engagement, preferably part of a structured process that involves parties in and outside your company. This can defiantly be the hardest part of co-creation. You are never done improving your products because there is always room for involvement and nothing is ever “perfect.” Also by continually developing you are constantly building loyalty and strengthening your brand image with the consumers.

 All in all co-creation can create value to the initiator in many shapes and forms: products can be added to a roadmap, new ventures can be started, a technical problem can be solved, teams invigorated,
insights fine-tuned and applied. It is a wonderful source of ideas and brainstorming that involves strengthening the relationship of your consumer. Make sure you are participating in this concept in one way or another.

 

Throw Out Your Credit Cards, Mobile Payment Is The Way

At one point in the world there was this thing called a checkbook and people would spend all this time writing in information so they could pay for their groceries or what not. It was long and tedious and usually pissed off everyone in line. While we had checks we also had cash. People would have to dig through their wallets and purses to find the right amount and if they didn’t have enough well then they were a bit out of luck. While these two things still exist, they might as well not. I personally never carry cash on me and my checkbook is only every used for online check transactions. The way of the word is the debit and credit cards, but not even the physical versions of them. Like I was mentioning in my last blog, phones have taken over the world and now you can pay almost anything with your phone. If you can’t tell already today’s topic is about Mobile Payment.

mobile-payment-era-has-begun

Smartphones have become the new credit cards. There are many apps out in the smart phone world where you can put all your credit/debit information in and pay for everything. I personally don’t like the idea because I like having a physical card in my hand but I can see the draw to it. It makes life easier and you never have to worry about losing your wallet or the card itself. I mean who really loses their phone these days? If we are more than a foot away from it people start to panic. It’s a great solution for a problem that was never really there, but that could just be the pessimist in me talking.

Talking about these apps ,  Google(http://www.google.com/wallet/) has an app: Google Wallet. What is weird about this app is it only available for Android phones, which might be the reason that this product is not profiting.  That doesn’t seem to faze Google though because it isn’t money they are wanting. It is your information. Think of the information you are giving these companies. They know more now than you ever wanted them to know and once again you gave it to them freely.

LevelUp(https://www.thelevelup.com/) also as an app. I would say this app is better than the Google Wallet because it can be used on a smart phone. There are up to 5,000+ locations that you can use the app and they even give you rewards, depending on what new places you have tried. What I do like about this app and about the concept of mobile payment is how it helps the businesses. LevelUp states on their website “LevelUp charges a flat 2% payment processing fee. It’s that simple. No hidden fees. No monthly fees. Just 2%. And we pay out directly to your bank account next day, every day.” LevelUp wants to save the businesses money and wants to help them make money in an easy and helpful way. Also for the businesses side the history of people who came to your store is a great perk of this app. Businesses can generate campaigns and reports about people who use the app to come to their business.

All in all, this is the way of the world. Soon we won’t have phones anymore and our credit/debit information will be implanted into our thumbs. You can attempt to hold out but it won’t last long. If you are a business I suggest you get on this train and begin allowing this to happen. It will be great for your business once the consumers get more on board.

Before I end this post I want to bring up one more topic, relating to virtual payment: Bitcoin.

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If you are like me then you have never heard about Bitcoin. Bitcoin was created in 2009 by a pseudonymous hacker who calls himself Satoshi Nakamoto. This product is a form of virtual cash, that is used to buy goods and services online. There is no backing by the government or a central bank and the value is created purely by demand.  Don’t worry this won’t replace cash anytime soon but it is defiantly getting up there in popularity, especially in Canada.  Below is a picture of a Bitcoin ATM.

bitcoinThese ATM’s have been placed in Canada. People can put money in to have virtual coins or they can get money out. The bitcoins are transferred to and from the customer’s online bitcoin wallet. I really don’t see how this is any better than a normal ATM but this process is a lot cheaper than accepting Visa or MasterCard. It is supposed to be extremely secure but this can be used for illegal activity. Bitcoin had been used as a front to buy illegal drugs and I honestly think I am going to pass on this new fad. In the words of Barney Stinson.

barney

Advertising In Your Pocket: Mobile Advertising

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Phones rule the world. People are addicted to having information at their fingertips and I can’t say  I haven’t been affected either .I usually can’t go ten minutes without checking my phone. I wish I could say I was checking for emails or working, but usually I am just checking my social media apps, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc… Mobile marketing and apps have been improving so much that it is causing the society’s addiction to grow stronger and stronger.

Mobile promotions is actually very simple and something your business should be participating in. There are a variety of mobile promotion tactics that have been used successfully by businesses globally and locally. These include  mobile coupon incentives, sweepstakes, and user polling apps. . Each has different rates of success, but is best used with an objective that is the goal for the mobile promotion.

Sweepstakes have the objective of drawing in new potential customers. A mobile promotion sweepstakes generally invites users to send a text message to a short code address. They enter and there is a drawing for prizes at a later date. This encourages the users to keep in touch and offer more information about themselves in the process.

Mobile coupon incentives have the objective of gaining demographic information about a user’s regional shopping habits. This kind of mobile promotion enables marketing of customized coupons; it lets the customer participate directly in the process. This is always a big incentive to create customer brand name loyalty.

User polls and apps that allow voting are very popular. Consumers do appreciate being heard. The objective is to have the user reveal detailed information about themselves and their shopping habits. By answering the well-chosen questions in the opinion poll application, they are already fulfilling the goal and the objective.

There is little risk associated with any of these tactics, but the rewards can be amazing. Each is guaranteed to offer new insight into the users and customers that are interested in the promotion.

There are three key factors that mobile advertising strives on:

Location:  Unlike a computer, your phone will give your promotions to places of where you are currently located. Let’s say you’re a Washington native but are currently in Oregon. Your computer is going to make it look like you are located in Washington and only give you ads to there, which is pointless if you are located in Oregon. Phones will send you ads for Oregon and that is greatly beneficial for you business, so that customers can be presented with ads to your business.  This will help bring new customers into your business and create word of mouth advertising, especially if they go back to Washington and give a raving review. Your also not just targeting the natives, but the tourists. Tourists can bring in a large profit, depending on  your business.

Timing: The times that your ads go to customers phones is key. For example if you run a restaurant you wouldn’t want ads promoting your breakfast special to be sent to customers at 2 pm.  You want to schedule your ads at peak hours, so that you can target customers that are most likely to use the promotions at the specified time. Also timing is key because it allows for your ads to be immediate. Unlike computers you can just send your ads to the phone at the time you want and people will see it at that time.

Relevance: Like I have been saying all along your content needs to be good and it need to be relevant to the customer now, not in a week , but now. This is a moment to engage your customer and have them act now. Context is not easy to implement and if you provide it to the customer at the moment they are seeking the information than you are going to raise sales and ROI.  Offer your customers a text messaging surface. For example when you are in a movie theater and there is an ad to text a certain number that will find out what your phone is “dreaming” while the movie is going on. That is relevant to what  they are experiencing and is the prime time to get customers to participate in an easy and fun way.

Now lets talk about apps. I love apps. I think that they are awesome and they are the best way to bring customers to you. Your app needs to be up to date and it needs to be easy for the customer to use. There have been many times when I have attempted to use an app and they are not user-friendly. I would have to say my favorite app right now is the US Bank app. I can easily access all my information, deposit  checks, and make transfers. Why is this app so successful?

Well first thing is they provide  a great product and they create a great virtual opportunity where the user can be engaged at a moments notice. It doesn’t matter what time the user access the app but it is accessible for everyone. I know that iPhones are the way of the world and if you are anyone you are expected to have one, but 50% of the market has an Android. Make sure your app is usable for both iPhone’s and Androids.

Make sure that you don’t try to hit every person with your app. Choose a smaller market, people who want what your app offers will  make sure they will use your product. Smaller markets will allow for you to create brand loyalty and to bring new customers in. I talk about  my US Bank app all the time and if I meet anyone who has US Bank I tell them to get the app because it does everything I want it to do .

The next key to a successful app is to track everything. Last week I talked about database marketing and that applies to phones. Track the customers that use  your mobile site and what they use through that site. By tracking your customers you will know what aspects of your app they using and what they are not. This will allow for you to improve upon the features you offer and make people want to use them even more.  They will also provide you with information you want. If you have polls or surveys, that offer a chance for customers to give opinions on what they want improved, then you will obtain data that will improve your app without anyone publicly posting negative feelings.

The next key thing you need to have for an app is make it FREE. I download apps that are free because I am a broke college student and don’t want to pay for anything. By making an app free that doesn’t mean that you don’t earn profit off it.  This is like when you create a YouTube channel and everyone views it for free. Eventually you are going to make money off it. People are going to love the product you are offering and will eventually buy your product. That is the goal right?

App development  is not easy and it takes time. Make sure you keep developing your apps because someone is going to have issues with what you  are providing. I love upgrades because I know the product that I love is already improving.

Here is a link to learn how to improve apps.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/avidlarizadeh/2013/07/19/eight-tips-for-a-successful-app/

How To Stalk Your Customers To The Fullest: Database Marketing

Last week I spoke about SQL and how to use it when searching through your database. What I didn’t go into was how you optimize the data that makes the database. Today I am going to talk about how to market the data in your business database.

Database Marketing

This is a form of direct marketing that uses databases of customers or potential customers to generate personalized communications in order to promote a product or service for marketing purposes. Database marketing takes advantage of information in the marketing database to develop and implement action plans to enhance marketing results.  There are many ways you can use database marketing for your business. Some ways are very beneficial but then there are ways it can be used that could be detrimental to your business. 

The benefits of database marketing is that it can improve profitability. It does this because you can specifically target and allocate resources  to improve efficiency, which increases your profit margins. This also improves your sales because if done well you can save money by limiting the unprofitable markets segments. Database marketing also enhances communication with your customers because you can look at all the data you collected and see which types of communication are consistent and worthwhile to keep up with. Another benefit is that database marketing can improve your products. By collecting information about customers buying habits and the commentary they provide you, you can keep improving the products that need improvement and drop that products that are not beneficial to your brand. An example of this is Starbucks and their loyalty card.

Print

Starbucks currently has 6 million registered card members. By being a member Starbucks is collecting data about you; the kind of drinks you get, what time of the day you get a drink, how many times a week you buy a drink, etc… So Starbucks took all of this data that they collected and can now segment their customers into different markets. They can create personalized promotions to send to specific gold members immediately, usually through your mobile device. By using the data collected, not only are they able to communicate with their customers better, but they have been able to focus on the key indicators that effect a customer’s satisfaction and attempt to improve upon them.

Another great example of database marketing is going to take us across the pond to British Telecommunications.

bt-logo1

They partnered with Devon Direct, a full service direct marketing agency.  British Telecommunications main problem was customer retention. By using the data in their database BT created fully customized and personalized brochures for their customers. These brochures introduced new products and services that might be of interest to the customer. The personal savings and order forms were customized specifically for each customer, based on the database information.  By doing this and sending out over a million brochures  a week they gained response rates of 14%-32%. In one mailing, one-third of the 11.5 million households responded to the brochure and bought one of the products.  Now this was not easy for BT to do. Behind database marketing are very highly skilled techies. Granted everyone should learn how to fiend for themselves when it comes to databases and looking through data, but to customize and personalize advertisement successfully you are going to need IT people. The software structure behind personalization is very complex.

Now I have painted a bit of a pretty picture for database marketing but be aware you can go down a wrong path when using database marketing. A very popular example is Target.

target

You probably have heard about the discovery that Target made after going through thousands of  pieces of customer data, but if not I will give you a brief overview. Target knows everything about you. They have demographic data on you and they have trends based on you. They essentially want to be you, so that they can know exactly what and when  you going to buy and have the products available for you.  Target began studying the shopping habits of customers who were going through life changing events, particularly new parents. They studied what these  customers bought once they had a child and then dug into their history and analyzed what they bought before the child was born.  One trend that Target found was women will buy large quantities of lotion when they are in their second trimester. In the end Target found 25 products that women are likely to buy when they are pregnant. They even were able to estimate due dates. By knowing this information Target began sending out coupons to customers who they believed to be pregnant. They would  even be sending coupons out to customers who didn’t even know they were pregnant. To Target this didn’t really seem like a huge problem, just another way to market and gain profit. Then a parent came into Target and began accusing Target for sending his “not pregnant” child maternity coupons. Eventually the father found out he was wrong and obviously needed to have a few more conversations with his daughter, but the lesson of this story is they were invading the privacy of the customers. Granted most of the advertising these days invades our privacy but it does it in a way that we don’t really notice it. By just sending customers personalized coupons about being pregnant Target was flaunting it in the customers face that they knew more about them then they knew about themselves. Target was luckily able to catch this problem before it became to large and now are hiding the fact that they may know you are pregnant. They are doing this by putting random ads, for like rakes, on one page and the other page has maternity sales. I guess the moral of this story is pay attention to the ads that Target sends you because they may  be trying to tell you something.

As you can see database marketing is a great way to better your business and the products that you provide but it can be a little disturbing for customers. Make sure that when you begin utilizing database marketing that you keep your customers in mind and how they might feel about the information that you know about them.

If you would like to read further into Starbucks, BT, or Target follow these links:

http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/print-at-starbucks-data-pours-in-but-what-to-do-with-it.pdf

http://www.dbmarketing.com/articles/Art164.htm

http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/how-companies-learn-your-secrets-nytimes-com.pdf

The Language Of Structured Queries

Structured Query Language

sql

Ladies and gentlemen we are back to talking about code but this time with databases. This is extremely important for every business because it makes searching and inputting data easier.  SQL is a specialized language for updating, deleting, and requesting information from databases. This is widely used in both the  industry and academia for complex databases.  I am not going to go into how to write SQL in this blog today but It’s  not a hard language to learn and there are many tutorials out there. In less than two hours I got through the first 12 lessons on w3schools. If you would like to learn the language follow this link: http://www.w3schools.com/sql/default.asp. Another place where you can create models of web, phone, or desktop applications is SQLite:http://www.sqlite.org/

Below is an example of what SQL can look like.

access

This is an excerpt from Access, showing how SQL Query Commands works. SQL has a certain syntax to it and it involves a lot of capitalization, so be ready to put your caps lock on.  You can easily use these types of databases and SQL as your relational database to data mine. Data mining can dig up relevant information that is scattered through departments.  

 If you  have read my earlier blog about coding you are well  aware that coding is important. It is becoming essential for marketers to become technical and learn computer languages. Anyone can learn these skills and you don’t have to have certain talents, just a willingness and determination to learn. If coding seems scary or too hard for you I would suggest you learn SQL first. This is much easier than coding because it consists of  English statements, like SELECT. When you are ready to learn more complex coding, having SQL in your background will be very helpful.  I bet it would surprise you how SQL is everywhere. it is in your PCs, laptops, mainframes, and even your mobile phones.   What is wonderful about this is system is it is used to communicate with the database and will answer complex questions in seconds. By having your marketing team learn this language they are going to be able to execute queries by themselves instead of waiting for the techies to get it done. This means faster results and more time for innovation.

One company that is proving SQL is relevant in today’s marketing is MemSQL. They have invested $35 million in securing Series B funding.  This investment is going to enable the company to expand product development, support its growing customer base and capitalize on the market for Big Data technologies. This company was founded in 2011 by former Facebook engineers Eric Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov. If they are from Facebook then they must be legit right? To give you a little bit of background on MemSQL, they are the world’s fastest in-memory SQL database that accelerates applications, powers real-time analytics, and combines structured and semi-structured data into a consolidated Big Data solution. Granted that this is a SQL company and so them spending money on improving the technology isn’t that surprising but the fact that they are willing to spend this much, with the idea that other companies will be using it is a big deal. SQL is a happening thing. It just seems to be behind the scenes but I think that coding in general is behind the scenes. If you aren’t involved in the coding world than you really would never know the extent to what it entails and that is just another reason why you should learn how to code.

Talking about how companies  using MySQL I just received an email from my dentist and at the very end of the email was this:

sql

They are using MySQL to host their database. By using this they were able to find my information and send me an email. They used SQL to look up customers who hadn’t been to the dentist in a while and may need a reminder. Yes, I haven’t been to the dentist and now that I have announced this publicly I better get into see them.  :) I just love this example because it shows that even small business use SQL and it isn’t just for the large companies.

Another company that is very successful with database marketing is Amazon. They collect massive amounts of data on its customers and their purchases and mines this data to see what purchases are commonly made together. This then leads them to being able to give you suggestions and pair you with items, while your shopping and after checking out.  By using SQL they are turning this data into knowledge.

Knowledge is key.