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Avoid new database vendor problems

After selecting a new marketing database vendor, marketers can become complacent. After all, if the marketer just spent considerable effort putting vendors under a microscope, the last thing they want is to be hands on afterward.

Caveat emptor. What you do during the negotiation, contracting and on-boarding of a database vendor can determine whether the relationship is long and successful or short and costly. Here are four red flags to watch for:

Pricing that does not scale with business growth

Models for database vendors vary, but they are usually based on some measure of activity, such as number of customer records or number of campaigns. If the pricing model does not factor in growth, a renegotiation of pricing will be necessary.

Insufficient contractual performance obligations

Without constraints, database vendor performance typically slips mid- to long-term. Establishing contractual standards through service level agreements, along with penalties based on underperformance and bonuses for continual good performance, provides an incentive to maintain quality. 

Team is too technically focused

Marketing database creations requires an almost constant recalibration. When the “build team” is led by a technical resource, the nuances of technical and marketing calibration can be lost. Marketers should request that the vendor include a senior marketing resource on the team.

Rushed timeline

Some marketers try to accelerate the process to meet a calendar milestone or promise, whether by asking the vendor to migrate the old design, or by rolling out incomplete functionality. These efforts typically fail. The result is a month of pain and additional cost. Years later, marketers won’t remember if the database build took two or three months more time than they wanted, but they will remember if it failed. 

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