Database and digital marketing: two sides of the same coin?

Earlier in the year I commented on a series of posts on the excellent Customer Experience Matrix blog maintained by marketing technology analyst and consultant David Raab, comparing and contrasting database and digital marketing. I’ve been meaning to highlight the posts here for a while as I think they’re thought provoking and important to the future of these two disciplines, and I’ve finally got around to it. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure (as I make clear in my comment) what the answer is here, and there’s a good deal of evolution yet to come. Still, David’s posts make interesting reading which I wanted to share.

In Unica and Alterian Lead Database Marketers to the Digital Promised Land, David reports on a recent Unica acquisition and a survey released by Alterian, making the observation that longer-standing database marketing vendors “have failed to adapt to the new world of digital marketing”. Although David contends that this doesn’t apply to Unica and Alterian, he cites a statistic from Alterian’s study that 61% of marketers do not integrate Web analytics with other customer data, to support his overall position. “Marketers are eagerly moving from classic direct marketing to digitalÂ…but still lack the skills and resources to do it effectively,” he says.

David’s follow-up post, Can Database Marketers Learn Digital Tricks? goes into more detail. He comments on the relative measurability of the two disciplines, particularly concerning “addressable individuals” and the greater comfort that database marketing has in working with existing, well-known customers rather than prospects about which less information is available. Finally, in Clarifying the Differences Between Database and Digital Marketing, David outlines a detailed comparison of key aspects of both database and digital marketing, highlighting common characteristics and key differences.

“There’s no reason the same organization or individual can’t master both database and digital marketing,” David concludes, but “it will take conscious effort to address the differences and fill the gaps that they imply.” A crucial topic that necessitates further discussion…

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