SQL and the Technical Marketer

In an earlier blog post about coding, I mentioned the “Technical Marketer” and linked to this post on MOZ titled “Every Marketer Should be Technical.”  In it, Jamie Steven of MOZ writes, “technical skills are becoming a requirement for success in online marketing.”

From what I’ve heard, this is so true.

When I decided to become a marketing major, I was surprised that I had to take Management Information System classes or talk about Google Analytics, but I really shouldn’t have been.  In a digital world, almost every profession needs to be a bit tech savvy.

Here is a list of technical skills that Jamie says you need to have:

Technical marketer

The first on the list is databases and SQL, so that’s what this post is about.

Databases collect and hold data. In order to get information out of of databases to analyze, a database management system (DBMS) needs to be used. To tell these DBMSs what you want, you need to speak a certain language. One of these languages is SQL.

Marketers know how intensely important data is.

I looked around a few job search sites and saw many marketing positions that used SQL.

Microsoft had a position that required SQL to ” carry out deep analysis on various large data sets to generate business intelligence and extract insights for Microsoft Global Advertising Campaigns.”

An Intel post stated “it has become increasingly apparent to Insights and Market Research group that in representing the end-user, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on integrating non-traditional primary research data into its insights generation process (e.g. web behavior, social media listening, search, etc.). Integrating these different (and at times unstructured) data sources with traditional primary research data (e.g. survey-based data, focus groups, etc.) is becoming critical in driving a data driven culture into Intel’s marketing efforts, including driving more effective media targeting and spending; and the build out of predictive models designed to increase the sales efficiency of our marketing campaigns.”

A Facebook post stated that applicants needed strong SQL skills and would “leverage data to understand our products in depth, identify areas of opportunity, and execute projects to drive growth and engagement of Facebook users.”

Companies use SQL to help in customer relationship management by getting to know their individual customers better. They use it to find information about target markets. They use it to aid in research for the 4 P’s.

If that’s not enough, the common trend around these postings were discovery and understanding. To be involved in those activities would be an exciting opportunity, wouldn’t it?

In the end – I definitely don’t think that you need to be the know-it-all of SQL, but you should know enough to understand its uses.  Learning how to use SQL could make you look more technical and get you hired, but it is helpful in more ways than just employment – it can help you as a marketer avoid many headaches of waiting for others to do the work for you.


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