SQL: “One Good Search Can Take You #Anywhere”

Beneficial Technical Skill for Marketing

To be an effective analytic marketer and witness successful returns on marketing efforts, the path may start with SQL. We know human interaction and relationships with computers are constantly increasing, meaning almost everything is becoming digitized. Where excel was once the tool for database marketing, SQL is the new tool every marketer should know for a world of digital marketing. Vault Analytics told us that SQL will change our lives for the better. In order to become a better marketing analyst, “you have to know how to leverage SQL…[and you will] do things you’ve never imagined possible.” SQL is THE efficient way to store, retrieve, and manipulate data for your marketing objectives and goals. Some are discouraged and fearful of the SQL learning curve. Sources, such as the udemy blog, show insight into how knowing basic SQL query structure can improve marketing teams. Below is a snapshot of udemy’s blog showing the two great benefits of SQL for marketing.

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These two benefits briefly show the importance of data and being able to use it in today’s marketing world. Everything is increasingly becoming centered around speed and efficiency and SQL can serve both of those. In Moz’s blog, Every Marketer Should be Technical, they defined a technical marketer as being able to “devise, develop, launch, and analyze their marketing campaigns with little or no assistance.” The Moz blog continues to show a fictitious step-by-step process for a simple marketing effort where SQL is a player that every team needs. With the planning/objectives/forecasting thought out and in place, a SQL query was used to create an email list of the target market. That simple. Using all the data in the database to generate a email list to effectively target and successfully reach the communication objectives of the campaign. Step 10 of the Moz blog, “Automate for ongoing success,” reminds me how continuous A/B testing efforts build a companies fast-moving experimental system, and continuous SQL efforts build a companies data culture. It’s important for a company to build a data culture because data is all around us in this digitized world. 

Companies Using SQL

The official Microsoft blog’s A Data Culture for Everyonethe CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, describes “data culture” as “with the right tools, insights can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time.” For a company to have a successful data culture is for everyone to have access to data at their fingertips. For individuals of company to be able to use SQL queries in their marketing campaigns is an experience that “brings order to data sourced from myriad sources.” Aside from the fact that Microsoft in the end is trying to sell their product (SQL Server 2014), the CEO Nadella does genuinely express the importance and opportunity that tools like SQL offer. We can compare this to companies like Barnes & Noble, Twitter and Uber that list SQL knowledge/experience in their LinkedIn job opportunities. At Barnes & Noble, their Analyst, Database Marketing SQL position, is to be filled by someone “with vision and energy to help us in our quest to change the future of reading.” In their quest to change the future of reading, Barnes & Noble believes that experience in SQL statements and a “strong” understanding of relational database tables will be the answer. 

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Whether its a company about printed materials, like Barnes, or a company like Uber that does business in the digital world, both show the importance of SQL in marketing. Here is Uber’s LinkedIn job posting for Marketing Analyst

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As you can see the third bullet is “strong SQL skills.” They believe that a marketing analyst with SQL skills will aid them in their effort to “collectively drive growth and enhance user engagement.” It just goes to show that if Barnes and Uber are thought of as opposites (books vs. smartphone app), that both companies know the importance of marketers having SQL knowledge in their toolbox. 

Then we have Twitter and their LinkedIn posting for a Data Scientist – Analytics. They live in world of extremely large databases. Here, a marketing analyst needs the ability to “write and interpret complex SQL queries.” Below is a inspirational video that Twitter also put on their LinkedIn job posting. It was effective at getting the point across about data and the digital world. That being, data can easily and quickly be shared at the click of a button. The video ends the viewer with, “One good search can take you anywhere.” I think this relates to SQL and how it is an effective tool for marketing. No matter the type of business, like Barnes & Noble vs. Uber vs. Twitter. Each company seeks marketing analysts/database marketers/data scientists, whatever you wanna call it, that have a working-knowledge of SQL.

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