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The Database is Still Here, but Moving to the Cloud

Navigating the world of marketing technology can be confusing. This is a sector full of ever-increasing jargon and buzzwords. It can be difficult to decipher if terminology has any real meaning or if it is just a repackaging of existing ideas and technology. While there are an abundance of developments to keep up with, one concept has not changed much over the years — the database. The database has been at the center of direct marketing and marketing technology for more than 40 years, and while there has certainly been much evolution, the basic value of the marketing database remains unchanged:

  • Efficiency – Data is integrated and consolidated in a manner that is logical and organized, making subsequent data processes more intuitive and faster.
  • Reporting & analytics – Having quick access to insights from your data and marketing activities helps inform next-best actions. Advanced analytics are used to score populations, resulting in an actionable audience, ready for easy decision making.
  • Data quality & governance – Management of data to ensure accuracy and consistency through preprocesses like customer data integration (CDI), where data anomalies can be identified and corrected. This results in higher data integrity, which directly benefits any downstream data use, including regulatory considerations like HIPAA and FCRA.

In today’s world, “cloud computing” or “in the cloud” are phrases used to describes all sorts of services that can reside in the cloud, e.g., campaign performance analytics, ad delivery, big data storage, and email services. The advantages of cloud computing are clear:

  • Reduced capital expenditures – The advantages of cloud computing are centered around reducing the hardware costs.
  • High performance – Cloud-based computing allows for automatic parallelization, which provides unmatched processing power, resulting in dramatically better run times.
  • Reduced IT complexities – There are many complications by hosting and licensing a dedicated hardware environment, including the staff and data center needed to manage it. Cloud computing eliminates these frustrations, and shifts the focus away from simply hardware.  
  • Shorter procurement cycles – By eliminating the need to size, purchase, order, procure, install, and maintain hardware, the ability to stand up cloud technology quickly is considerable.
  • Elastic in nature – Cloud computing allows for flexibility in usage models. Cloud also eliminates the need to perform frequent and expensive upgrades. The hardware is a commodity that dramatically increases your ability to build solutions in a more agile fashion bringing on components and gaining value out of them without the worry of scaling the environment for the future requirements.
  • Innate backup, recovery, and security – The ability to seamlessly ensure continuity with ease of backup and world-class security.
  • Adapters and ability to leverage big data – Most activation platforms have moved to SaaS cloud solutions integrating data from multiple solutions through APIs and scaling out a big data platform is easier than ever.

Databases in the cloud make full use of these benefits, while still leveraging all the benefits marketing databases have provided for decades. In fact, the marketing database in the cloud is the perfect example of evolving marketing technology, whereby bringing together the best aspects of new technology and maximizing the benefits of legacy systems.