In marketing, successful people – including database developers – learn from their mistakes. And in building a database that helps marketers build customer relationships, promote retention or referrals and increase sales, the biggest mistake companies can avoid is not having an information platform that meets the needs of both business managers and data administrators.

"You need to collect data on your customers and build a database that permits ad hoc analysis," Arthur Middleton Hughes, vice president for strategic planning, Msdbm, noted during his session "Why Databases Fail: Nine Deadly Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Chances for Success" July 31 during the National Center for Database Marketing Summer 2001 Conference in Chicago. "Construct a lifetime value table and figure out what motivates your customers."

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