When taxonomy becomes taxing: Knowing who you’re collecting
One of the best ways to bring disparate data together to help make it more accurate and actionable is by assigning titles to those who have visited websites, events, webinars or conducted virtually any transaction type. By doing so, we can more accurately understand behaviors associated with certain target categories, helping us to better communicate with them in the future.
There’s only one problem. Title codes.
In a B2B field, title codes may vary greatly in their nomenclature, thus changing the accuracy and significance of those you are tracking. For example, the titles can range from executive manager to C-suite manager to corporate manager to Vice President, board member, owner, senior manager and a host of other title and function categories. To simply lump all of these various titles into one mass category of “executive management” is not an optimal solution for any given database engagement.
So let’s take Vice President, for example. Seems easy enough, right? But upon further consideration, a Vice President – and his or her role and responsibilities – can vary tremendously from one industry to the next. In some industries, from a title like Vice President, it is very difficult to know if they have four people under them, or 400.
Depending on how you make your taxonomy choices when setting up your database, any search – even those involving the most sophisticated search engines, would produce the results of widely disparate vice presidential candidates.
For most marketing purposes, it is not likely that the client is going to be interested in marketing to the assistant vice president at the local branch of Chase bank in the same context as the Senior VP of manufacturing at Boeing in downtown Chicago. In short, it would be ludicrous for you to send to the former the same Mercedes $110,000 S Class promotion you would send to the latter – just because they share the words “Vice President”.
This is why it is so important for clients to engage in pre-planning of taxonomy characteristics. The significance of nuances in taxonomy choices can be crucial to the success or failure of a database marketing effort. Creating the proper taxonomy requires several critical inputs.
- A very clear and concise definition of the purposes and uses of the marketing database being created.
- Input from senior management levels as well as many views as possible from each different department that touches data.
- Precise documentation and education on the actual content of each taxonomic category for everyone using the database.
This is where alignment kicks in, the team using the definitions must adhere to their definitions, as they may very well have markedly different concepts of what data is included in that particular taxonomic nomenclature.
While getting the details of any engagement correct can be an arduous process, it is essential for optimal database management. The impact of clearly defined taxonomy cannot be overstated.
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