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A fully integrated marketing database is the foundation of successful direct marketing. Today’s marketers have more data, from more channels, than ever before-making a database even more of a necessity. All direct marketing channels (email, direct mail, telesales, mobile, etc.) are creating higher volumes of data and adding more complexity to each respective source-forcing each system to effectively manage its own data in an increasingly intricate manner. As each individual system, such as eCommerce, ESP, fulfillment, loyalty, web analytics, etc., grows in complexity, the need for marketing data integration across all data systems and sources grows at an even greater rate. The capability of any single, individual system to manage and integrate data from other systems is inherently lacking. By definition, each individual system functions for its own specialized purpose, not to facilitate and optimize marketing.

Consequently, the need for a fully integrated marketing database, capable of continuously managing vital marketing data from disparate silos, is greater than ever. It serves as the essential means to integrating all of this data; and to keeping this data in pristine condition, maintained in a perpetually actionable state acheter des likes. ESP, eCommerce, and fulfillment systems may tout their data integration capabilities. But many marketers, through painful experience, know the fallacy of such claims. An ESP is not a marketing database. An eCommerce platform is not a marketing database. A web analytics platform is not a marketing database. Only a marketing database is a marketing database.

Can you, as a small investor, make a bet in the stock market that interest rates will go up? Yes, you can by simply buying the appropriate ETF (exchange traded fund) in your brokerage account. Can you bet that the market will become more volatile? Same answer as above. Can you bet against the market in general or against specific sectors in the market and make money in the stock market if you are correct? Yep, all with ETFs.

The vast majority of investors will lose money when things change, because they don’t really understand the dynamics. Markets change, and you must keep this in mind. The best investment opportunities often occur with a change of trend. The past six years have been unusual to say the least. It is not normal for interest rates to be this low. Nor is it normal for the stock market to go up for six straight years.

The difference between the average investor and the big money guys is that the latter know that the years leading up to 2015 were unusual, and they understand market dynamics. That’s why they’re racking their brains in search of the best investment opportunities for 2015 and 2016 – just in case trends change.

It’s true that it’s always possible to make money in the stock market, but it’s certainly not easy to do when the market indexes are tumbling. Be prepared, because change could be in the wind. The best investment opportunities are always out there. Now you have some ideas as to where to look to find them in 2015 and 2016.

We British are more than used to being criticised for our food. We are sneered at by the French; scoffed at by the Germans, and made to salivate every time we walk into our local Indian restaurant. Therefore, it is somewhat galling that we insist on judging the quality of our very best restaurants by a French benchmark: Michelin Star awards.

I know you will be well aware of Michelin Stars, although, like me, you may be a little unsure about precisely how they get awarded. You’re probably also familiar with the Michelin Guide. At any rate you will have heard of it even if you haven’t, in fact, read a copy of it. The first printing of the Michelin Guide, believe it or not, was back in 1900. It is a first class example of what in contemporary marketing language we call content marketing.

Content Marketing Is Enlightened Marketing

There was a time, and it was not so long ago, when the emphasis in many marketing departments was on selling and not much else. Marketing was said to have a sales orientation. I’m not saying that this orientation has completely gone from the marketing world. It is, though, true to say that marketers today generally take a more enlightened approach to marketing. And this demands an orientation that is much more customer focused.

Content marketing is uncompromisingly customer focused. The emphasis is on communicating with your customers: and this communication is manifestly not aimed at directly selling your goods and services to your customers. The aim of content marketing is to build customer loyalty. This is done by providing customers with high quality material that educates and informs, and is valuable and relevant for customers and prospective customers.

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