Development is not just limited to your initial deployment. After a solution is transitioned into production, ongoing development and solution enhancements are crucial in order to grow and evolve the solution to meet changing business goals.
Reflecting back over the year, I decided to list out some of the common development requests my team has performed in ongoing production support of marketing databases. You may want to consider these for your own database.
Ongoing Performance Tuning and Optimization of the Solution.Performance optimization is a proactive effort to ensure the solution is operating at peak efficiency — both in terms of data load and data access. This is critical in order to support time sensitive business needs as well as making sure the solution scales properly over time to support additional data and processes.
Integration of New Data Feeds.
Adding new data feeds is a common request for almost all solutions. New data feeds can be almost anything ranging from customer/prospect sources, transactional data, reference data, or digital events. It is important to ensure your solution anticipates the addition of new data sources throughout life of the engagement.
New Derived/Aggregated Data.
Additional derived and/or aggregated data is a common request to support and streamline campaign selection and analytics. Common calculations are often best performed at the database level to ensure consistency of the algorithms used and to perform the calculation once so it’s ready for use without run time delays. Adding derived or aggregated data can be as simple as adding a new column to a table or as involved as creating a new table or process to summarize data across a number of data points.
Identity Management Enhancements.
Ensure the solution you use to manage your individual, business and household data validation, cleansing, and identification can expand or enhance over time to meet changing business needs. These enhancements may include new identification rules, integration of additional audience data (e.g., customer, prospect or business), expansion into international markets and integration of digital data as part of the identification process.
Data Enhancements and Overlay.
Access to high quality data to support both prospecting and data overlays/enhancement for analytics and targeting is another critical aspect. This is a common data integration activity for our clients to better understand their customers (and similar customers using lookalike models) and also reaching potential new customers through prospecting. Using Merkle’s DataSource for Consumer, Business and/or Digital helps our clients achieve these goals and better target and reach those most likely to engage with your marketing message.
Customer Lookup and Preference Management Portals.
These portals are typically self-service web-based applications where internal and/or external customers may look up customer level information and/or manage marketing contact preferences in real time.
Additional Functional Components for Your Marketing Database.
Incorporating additional components such as analytic insights, business intelligence, and data management platforms (DMP) significantly enhances our clients’ data-driven approach to marketing — both online and offline. The analytics and BI platforms work in conjunction with the traditional marketing database and identity management platform by leveraging clients’ first-party data and using analytics to transform it into actionable insights that inform relevant marketing executions and enable measurement strategies. This strategy is critical for today’s marketing teams to make more informed decisions. The DMP acts as a real time repository which works directly with the marketing database and identify management platforms in order to collect, analyze, and syndicate information across online media/channels.
As you can see, our development team has been very busy integrating additional functionality into our clients’ solutions to help them achieve their marketing goals. Throughout the development process, our leads and managers are transparent and review details with our clients to ensure their understanding of the features and functionality being implemented. Our team takes great pride in our work and is excited to deliver these features to our clients and watch their systems evolve.