Which tools to use in Database-Marketing?
ATTENTION: Before thinking of tools you should consider the Data-Requirements so that later on you can provide the relevant information!
As tools you will use the following tools:
Depending on in which depth you would like to analyze your data, you might like to use the following tools:
A database-management-system (DBMS)
A database-management-system is the system where all of the information is stored. Typically you will either use relational DBMS (information from different tables can be linked using "relations" (which can thought as a reference between two corresponding items in different tables) or object-oriented DBMS (which treat entries in the database like real objects with different properties).
For details on DBMS please refer to the appropriate literature, since a deep explanation on how a DBMS works would exceed this topic by far.
Querying tools are programs that help you to get the data out from the DBMS where it is stored. The main purpose of querying tools is not only querying the DBMS (which often requires joining lots of tables into one single query) but also to group data for presentation (i.e.: how many customers have made a purchase over ... US$, which would give you the number of customers in total, not the individual customer).
Nearly all of the DBMS-providers offer tools for querying their DBMS). The standard language used for querying database-stored data is SQL (which stands for Structured Query Language).
SQL has become a standard to which all of the DBMS-providers have committed (though you often find some provider specific extension of SQL). Additionally there often (macro-)languages included into the DBMS that can do the same job (or even more).
Tools for interaction with the data ( forms, reports)
Not only getting the data into your DBMS is important, even more important is the need to keep the data up to date, which usually (if not already a automized process) is done manually with tools, that allow to show data on forms on the screen of your PC.
For PC-based database-systems this tools are usually included in the DBMS, whereas for the "big" database-systems (like Oracle, Informix, Sybase, ...) there are separate tools available.
You may even consider using a DBMS-independent tool-set like GUPTA which allows you to develop DBMS-independent forms and reports. The advantage of this tools is that you may start with small database-systems (like: MS-Access, ...) and still may upgrade the DBMS without having to change the GUI-interface that much.
Querying the data is one thing, making it ready for presentation an other. Since in Database-Marketing you normally are facing tons of data, presentation becomes more and more important.
Putting data into nice diagrams can be done either by using spreadsheet programs (like MS-Excel, Lotus 1-2-3) or (as you might have expected) you may also can get this tools from the DBMS-providers.
Considering the fact that typically about 80% of all data within a company has some geographic aspect, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) have become important presentation tools.