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.

 

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The Wonderful World Of Coding

In today’s blog I am going to talk about coding, which I am so excited about. At Western Washington University I am double majoring in Marketing and Management Information Systems. I personally love the MIS major because I am given the chance to learn the ins and outs of information systems.  In the higher-level classes I am learning the basics of coding and it has been so much fun. Currently I am learning Visual Basic. It is very hard and complicated but after I finally get a program to work I feel so accomplished.  I just wish I had the time and money to learn all the different types of computer languages. There is a solution to my problem and it is called Codecademy: http://www.codecademy.com/

This is a FREE resource, where you can learn all of the different computer languages. You can learn it on your own time and it is so user-friendly. It also doesn’t take very long to work your way through the different lessons. They give you step by step directions on each line of code. In less than a half an hour I was able to code my name into bubbles as you can see below:

taylor

On the actual website I was able to make the bubbles move around whenever I put my mouse over my name. The fact that I didn’t even spend 30 minutes and was able to do that is so cool to me. Coding is not as hard as everyone thinks. I then moved to learning how to write code for a website. This took me a bit longer to do but  that was because I wanted it to represent me and honestly I got lost in all the fun I was having.

website

The last thing that I learned how to do in this two hour time span was  create the sun and the earth. The earth rotates around the sun. That was a little bit more complicated but what is so great about Codecademy is there wasn’t a moment where I felt  totally lost.

space

By the end of spending two hours on this site I had done all three tutorials and had begun learning HTML and CSS. Granted I have a bit of a background in coding,  but it is not as much as anyone else. Yet I was able to accomplish all of this in such a short time. Honestly if I can do it you can do it.  If you haven’t checked it out I really suggest you do, at least to just get the feel of what coding is about.

Now why does this matter to people in the marketing field?

This should not be an area that marketers ignore. You should not be in the dark about what the IT people are doing.  I think the biggest mistake of a marketer is having no idea how the sites you advertise on are created. Now I am not saying that a marketer should be able to code a crazy complicated program but you should at least be comfortable with technology.  Being comfortable with the technology is going to make you more confident and maybe step out of your comfort zone when it comes to working with the website or trying out new ideas.  Another great reason to be comfortable with the coding language is you will actually be able to talk to  and understand the IT people.

Gone are the days where you give the IT people a brief description of what you want and they get frustrated because you don’t understand the limitations and possibilities of what they can do. Now you can learn exactly what can be done and the challenges that IT people have to deal with. Your going to understand them better and that creates more of a consensus.

Really in the end everything you do is programming. Planning what to advertise and when to advertise and where to advertise is programming. You have to decide the process you are going to take and where everything is going to be.  You just don’t see it as programming because you were not taught to see it that way.  By understanding programming I think that you will learn to look even more analytically at all of your processes.

Learning to code is so much fun and it is so rewarding.  I don’t know about you but the feeling that the meme below represents is a pretty great one and if coding makes you feel this way then why wouldn’t you want to learn?

just-created-a-website-using-html-coding-lets-c-u-do-dat

http://chiefmartec.com/2011/12/why-marketers-should-learn-how-to-program/