This series of articles provides an overview of TAFI, an acronym that states an organization’s marketing data must be Trustworthy, Accessible, Fresh, and Integrated to be actionable. This is the third article in a series of five, and its focus is on Accessible marketing data.

In my previous article, I discussed my world before Dovetail. Back then I was the Director of Operations for an environmental company that did work in the petroleum industry. That was over 15 years ago, but some things do not change: I needed quick access to data, which proved to be a constant challenge. For even the most basic count request, I had to go to IT. If the request was simple, I could usually obtain a one-day turnaround. But frequently, complex requests came from my boss or from a customer who wanted answers right away. I remember the simultaneous and conflicting mindset to provide a fast turnaround for the client while not overburdening the IT group.

Not only was I concerned about my own lack of access to our data, but many others in the organization faced the same problem. We were a growing company, with a lot of great things happening, but growth can cause some pain too. In this environment, as one might expect, IT was inundated with requests, under continually increasing pressures. I reacted by educating myself on how to access the system, learned how to write queries, and became a power user. It got to the point where other employees would come to me for requests instead of IT. For the short term, this approach worked and was even fun, but we had created an informal data access structure that struggled with its own delays and inaccuracies, and it soon became a burden on me—pulling me away from my primary responsibilities.

It seems our entire world needs constant access to ever-growing repositories of data. As a database marketer, you need easy access to your marketing database system and marketing data. This access must be convenient, intuitive, and immediate, characterized by the following:

  • You need the ability to get to your marketing data, directly, on your own, with no dependency on anyone else. Depending on an outsourced database vendor or your IT group to access your data, even in the best of scenarios, can take too much time, and does not effectively allow for the inevitable back-and-forth questions/answers that occur.
  • The system you use to access your data should be web-enabled, allowing you to access your marketing data from any web-connected device.
  • Marketers frequently receive requests from other stakeholders in their organization to pull lists, run analysis, or provide reports. As a marketer, you need instant access to effectively support the requests of others in your organization.
  • You want data securely accessed by only those personnel who have permission to access and use the data. You may also need various users to have different permission levels for functionality and data access. Your web-deployed software should be secure and support this multi-tenant model requirement.
  • If you are a technical user, you may want other tools deployed, such as statistical or Business Intelligence tools to directly access your marketing database.

Accessible marketing data is essential to your database marketing efforts. With the proper marketing database solution, your marketing database will be web-accessible anytime, anywhere. Accessibility is the second component of TAFI, and one of four key traits to attain and maintain actionable marketing data. The next article will discuss Fresh, the “F” in TAFI.

The next article in this series is The “F” Stands for Accessible Data.