The SQL to your Marketing Education: Becoming a Technical Marketer

You have all finished the basic education of marketing (4Ps, inbound marketing, content marketing, etc) but now it’s time for part 2. It takes more than a fantastic talent for writing copy in order to become a marketer. Nowadays, becoming a jack of all trades makes you stand out more in a line of applicants than anything else. One of the best trades any Jack or Jill marketer should know is SQL.

What the heck is that?

SQL(pronounced like sequel, now my title makes more sense), or structured query language, is a special language that is designed for managing databases, allowing you to run queries, retrieve data, among other things. In other words, it’s the way you are going to pull off database marketing without needing to call in a “tech guy”.

Database marketing is targeted marketing for the new technical age. Think inbound marketing, but a bit more segmented and technical. It is simply using the data you have in your database, running a query of people that fit the campaign you have in mind (so for example, 18-24 year old females who bought something in the last 3 months), and crafting an email, postcard, or whatever specifically for them. Can we say segmentation marketing? It’s brilliant, targeted, personable, and helps you gain more revenue. At Logos, our Email team knew how to do database marketing like a boss, and it showed in our sales reports.

So why are they both awesome? Let’s look at an example: This article talks about how it would be cool to have companies tweet you when they are ‘thinking of you'(i.e birthdays, parent’s birthday, etc). With SQL, depending on how you  structure gathering information from your clients, you can do what this article suggests. You can set up automated tweets on technology such as Hootsuite, pull a query from your sql database for those who have a birthday coming up, and send birthday tweets from your corporation to valued customers. Granted, this may not be your main priority with database marketing and would take a bit of work,  but it is possible.

Still don’t think it’s a big deal? Look in your email inbox. Those emails from brands that seem to know when your birthday is and give you a coupon? They are using database marketing.

Here are some of the ones I found just in my inbox:

  • Menchies-They sent me a lovely birthday email with a free coupon for froyo
  • JustFab-Sent me a free shoes coupon because I hadn’t bought anything in the last 6 months
  • Logos- This was a test email, but it was an email to those who haven’t upgraded a plan in the last 3 months, etc
  • Weebly- Realized I had a site, but hadn’t upgraded yet, so they sent me an email with advice on how to upgrade at a low cost

That’s Cool, but why do I personally need to know this? Don’t we have a Dev team for that?

Putting it frankly, your Dev team has much cooler and more complicated things to do, and if you can take it off their hands, it would be much appreciated. Also, it’s great for your career. To succeed as a marketer you need to constantly be improving on your skills in order to stay relevant to your company. It’s funny because a few years back, it seemed that everyone wanted a specialist; someone who knew how to do one thing better than anybody else. According to Jamie from SEOmoz, you now need to be both a specialist (knowing how to do something very well) and be a generalist (know a lot of different topics) to bring the most value to your company.

generalist

I couldn’t agree more. There is a reason I am a double major in both Marketing and Management Information Systems: it’s because I want to make sure I know how to do technical things such as creating and managing databases, coding dynamic websites, as well as having the tools to be a great marketer. Having the knowledge of both will help me stand out more as a candidate for jobs I want.

Conclusion: Being a technical marketer, is like being a superhero in the marketing world.

 

I am ready to start my Marketing Education SQL! Where do I start?

I highly suggest reading this article, besides further explaining why having these tech skills are helpful to you, it also has a lot of resources at the bottom of the article to get you started. I also suggest looking into basic database design from W3 schools.  In addition to SQL, look into other languages such as  Html ,CSS, and PHP,  because all that knowledge will help support your marketing efforts when it comes to web optimization and targeted marketing.

Do you think the next step for marketing education is learning to be technical? Did you get my SQL joke?  What did you find in your inbox? Let me know in the comments below!

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9 Ways to go from Intern to Fully Employed

So you are a superstar. Instead of wasting another summer (or weekend, or life) dating your couch and Skyrim, you have decided to get a leg up on the competition and get an internship. So here you are typing away at your cubicle in some snazzy office, and you start to realize you wouldn’t mind sticking around full time after your temporary contract expires after 12 weeks. However, you aren’t entirely sure how to communicate this revelation to your bosses. What’s an intern to do?

1.  Be visible

Your coworkers and supervisors won’t lock you in a dark room forever if you are seen; in fact they want to know you are alive! Don’t hide out in your corner, hallway, basement, etc—be sure people see you! Did you know that one of the number one sources of hiring is via familiarity? Go hang out in the lunch room, go to meetings, and say “Good morning!” Let full time employees see you, so that they can associate a face with a name when it comes to your evaluation at the end of your internship.

2.  Ask Questions

Did Ursula steal your voice? Yea, I didn’t think so. Meaning there is no reason to be mute while working. Your boss isn’t going to steal your precious vocals if you ask a question; I am 90% sure of that fact. Speak up, and ask about the company you are hoping to be a part of. Meet with your boss and ask to have an informational interview about his job. Ask your coworkers how they like the place. You are the student here, and all the full time employees will be more than happy to help you out. Plus, who doesn’t like talking to themselves? If you ask someone about their job, they will more than likely answer you. A quick tip though: quantity doesn’t always equal quality; don’t ask just for the sake of asking.

3.  Take Initiative

Words mean nothing however if you can’t back it up with action. Have an idea to make a product better? Write up a proposal and present it. You have a cool new way to layout your company’s website? Create a mock up (and maybe a live demo if you know how to code). Basically, don’t be idle and just talk about how much you want the job; show them how much you want it. Employers are always looking for creative employees who aren’t afraid to think and execute outside the box. Imagine how excited they’ll get when you are doing all of this for them as an intern?

4.  Get to Know People

Make new friends! The more people that know you, the more people can vouch for you when you “apply” to be full time. People want to work with their friends, and if you were a non-social college kid in the back of the office who is just pushing papers, your chances of being hired are slim. Ask your bosses out to coffee, go to lunch with a group of co-workers, and go out for drinks with your fellow interns. Despite the popular saying, it really isn’t about who you know, it’s about who knows you!

5.  Stalk Your Supervisors

I don’t mean follow them home and stake out their gym, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind gaining another follower on Twitter. Connect with all your supervisors via Internet, and let them in on your online presence. You have a new blog post that highlights your company? Tag them in it! The internet plays such a huge role in the hiring process now days, it’s best to be plugged into your bosses’ accounts so that you are able to connect early. Also, see who they are following! If they are following someone they see as influential, take that as a hint to follow them as well. You could learn something new, expand your network, AND have a conversation starter next time you pass each other in the hallway,

“Hey Mr. Gates, did you see that link Nathan Drake put up last night? How awesome would it be to make a game where all of our favorite videogame heroes fought to the death in our next Xbox game?” –Microsoft Xbox Intern

It could happen.

6.  Be Uncomfortable

This was advice specifically from Bob Pritchett, the owner of Logos Bible Software, and what he means is to not be so complacent in your job. Your best work becomes slumped in the familiarity of work. Always be learning something, constantly trying to improve yourself, and getting better. Just because you got the internship doesn’t guarantee you a job.

7.  Be Frank

Alright, so you have been asking the right questions, been so uncomfortable that you are squirming in your seat, and have come up with the idea that brings your company to the top of its industry. However, there is nothing quite like the direct approach to get a point across. Tell them that you want this position. Be straight with your supervisors when they ask what you want out of this internship. They don’t want the cookie cutter answer,

“I just want to learn everything I can about this industry so that one day I can utilize the skills obtained here to have world peace, end world hunger, and rule Disney World!”—said Undecided Intern.

Don’t be Undecided Intern. Say you want to ultimately have a full time job there; they aren’t going to make fun of you for wanting to work there. Heck, they probably hired you as an intern because they already could see you working there in the near future.

8.  Be An Eavesdropper

This does not translate into being a creeper. Don’t be looming over your boss’s shoulder as they are talking to someone. However, don’t be chilling with your headphones in the whole day and miss very important information being passed around in the office. My mother always told me to be aware of my surroundings, so having an open ear to company talk has been natural. I would not have known that the owner of my project was hoping to have new ideas introduced in the proposals by interns. So what did I do? I added new ideas, and was asked to talk with him about the idea. Had he told us interns that? Nope. So always be aware, and always be listening; you never know what you will hear.

9.  Act Like a Full Time Employee Now

Don’t wait until you sign a fancy contract to start working as a full time employee; do so now! The goal is to be so acclimated to the environment, that when you say it’s time to leave, everyone is confused to what you mean. You don’t want to be labeled as “the intern,” you want people to associate you with your name and your work. Once you lose that stigma of intern, you are in the home stretch.

Well what do you think?

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#WonderWomanWednesday: Beth Walsh

I have the privilege of being surrounded by amazing role models in my workplace; especially women who are such strong leaders in STEM fields. One whom I have had the pleasure of working with is my boss Beth Walsh, the Vice President of Consumer Insights at Haggen Inc. This incredible woman has shown me how powerful it is to be a woman in a male dominated field, and it’s through watching her in meetings (both leading and simply participating) to listening to her past experiences working at various grocery retailers that made it easy to select her for my Wonder Woman Wednesday showcase! Fun fact: We also happen to have the same name #twinning (Her maiden name is Jackson, making her an Elizabeth Jackson)!

Name: Beth Walsh

Occupation: VP of Consumer Insights

Accolades: Masters of Science in Predictive Analytics Summer of 2015 Northwestern University; Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Global Studies from California State University San Macros; Consumer Marketing Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management

What Do You Do? I am responsible for using internal and external data to get a better understanding of who our customers are. I use that information to align Marketing, Merchandising and Operations [departments] in order to deliver a cohesive experience for our consumers.

How Did You Get Here?  It was a long journey. I started as a cashier at a grocery store back in 1998 in order to pay for school. Over the course of several years I moved my way up through different departments. I’ve held jobs from cashier to bookkeeping to Human Resources and finally to Marketing. Throughout my career though, I have always had a knack for using data analysis to answer the tough questions. When big data became a thing, and universities started offering programs I thought ‘This was perfect’ because I knew I wanted to get a Master’s degree.  An MBA didn’t feel right though, and Applied Mathematics felt too theoretical for what I wanted to do. So when Predictive Analysis came around I knew that was it. I earned my Masters, and was given the opportunity to come here [Haggen Inc.] and here I sit!

What was Your Biggest Achievement?  I was able to use sales forecasts and employee turnover data to develop and execute a staffing strategy that didn’t involve a single layoff. It was really cool to use data to connect with the lives of our associates. After that experience, I became really passionate about getting more involved in marketing, and using data to help drive sales—because of my time in Human Resources, I understood that the success of the company impacted the lives of others. I never wanted to have to stare in the eyes of another person and say, ‘I have to let you go’, without being able to say ‘and I did everything that I could to prevent this.’

What Else Have You Done?: I took some time off after my Bachelor’s to travel and teach English, I actually was a trainer in Human Resources as well before moving to the Pacific Northwest to open a new division of a grocery store.

Did you ever feel that tension of being the only woman in a male-dominated field? Oh yes. I was just having a conversation with my boss yesterday about a meeting we both had where someone made a slight comment about my gender , he asked if it bothered me,  and I thought , ‘After 18 years in the industry, do you really think that this is the first meeting  where this has happened?’ This isn’t new territory to me. Things like that, underhanded comments, happen and it’s unfortunate. However there are two ways to approach it. You can either complain about it, and in my experience that doesn’t really get you anywhere towards what you want. Or you can rise up to it. I think most people, when you present them good information, get past the gender difference really quickly. I have had individuals in my past where they just can’t see past the gender and that’s sad for us all.  When a portion of our society is underrepresented, we all lose out – we miss the opportunities to explore new ideas and creative solutions, we stunt our collective ability to grow and learn.

It’s funny, because there have been multiple times in this current role, since it is male dominated [grocery retailing], where I will walk into a meeting as the Vice President and  the person at the other end of the table seems to be waiting for someone other than me.  It’s that look of ‘who are you? Are you here to take notes?’ and I just have to laugh at it now. Women have come a long way these past few decades, and the fact that we are talking about it and seeking out those who are strong leaders and are able to navigate those male dominated industries is important. At the end of the day though, I just want to be recognized for good work; that’s what I am here for.

What advice would you give to women who are looking to get into STEM fields or male dominated industries in general?

You have to take care of yourself first. You have to find things that ground you, so that when you are caught off guard or someone offends you, you can hold your ground and approach the situation with a clear head as opposed to heightened emotions. Make sure your core is solid so that you can handle the ups and downs of the work environment. Make sure you are spending more time solving the problems of the business than figuring out what to wear at your next meeting. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t always look polished, but you don’t want to be known for the girl who wore the orange dress. You want to be known as the woman who walked into the meeting and solved the challenging business problem.. We are all so worried about how we are seen in the world and sometimes we spend too much time on the looks, when really we need to spend more time focusing the attention toward our ideas and contributions.

At this moment, I am not just selling groceries.  We’re observing how consumers make choices, we are exploring the motivating factors that drive grocery decisions, we are applying techniques that will encourage better food choices (while not alienating our customers), and we are analyzing our efforts – which will lead to new questions.  We are an active participant of an evolving food system.

How has it been being a working mom? What do you hope she gains from seeing you working in this field?

I am a lifelong learner, and it’s my approach to the balance of work and education that I want her to see.  I recently completed the requirements for the MS in Predictive Analytics.  I really was hoping to walk this June, but the thesis process took slightly longer than expected.  I wanted to walk not because I felt a need to be there, or because I needed a final form of validation – but because I wanted a picture of me holding my daughter, while wearing a cap and gown.  I wanted her to have that photo, to leave a lasting impression that learning is a lifelong process.   We don’t stop at graduation, we don’t stop once we have children, and we don’t stop when we turn 30, or 40, or 70.

I want her to know that science isn’t what we do, it’s how we do.  I hope that she develops a curiosity about the world, along with the humility that we cannot turn to ourselves for answers.  Life (of which work is a part of) is a cycle where we observe, question, learn, apply, and analyze.  Education is an important part of this cycle – if we aren’t learning, we aren’t growing.

I hope that she takes a scientific approach to life – wherever her passion takes her.

Beth

Incredible woman with sound advice. Just starting out in my STEM career, I’m lucky I am a part of an organization where I have mentors and leaders who have my back. It’s not like I haven’t heard any jabs before (I get called ‘Princess’ every once in a while) but knowing this organization does encourage female leadership very appreciative, and I’m blessed to have my first experience be positive. So ladies, be fearless with your ideas, and know that no matter what you choose to pursue (STEM related or not) you are CAPABLE of accomplishing big things. Ground yourself, and move forward toward your success.

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