#021. Nobody needs a Query

Ever been in that situation?

There’s a meeting going on about an undefined but “critical” subject.

You were not invited.

Suddenly you’ve got people calling you from the meeting. “Join us, please! We need you!”

You log in (because obviously, you had nothing else on your plate…).

The moment your face appears on Teams/Zoom/Gmeet, you experience the fiercest coordinated attack of the century! A dozen of voices yell at you!

You try to understand… Try to calm them down… and finally, one of them tells you: “We’ve been thinking (sic!), and we need you to create a query in Salesforce Marketing Cloud that…”

That’s where you need to act smart.

Do NOT ask about the attributes, data sources, or whatsoever.

Here’s my 3 steps process to create value from chaos!

Step 1: The 5 Whys

I told you about a query, but it could have been an attribute, AmpScript code, or an API call… the point is: the people in front of you have a problem.

But you are the expert.

Maybe they don’t need it.

You’ve got to identify the main issue they’re trying to solve.

The 5 Whys is an iterative interrogative technique that is very powerful to get to the root cause of problems. Plus, your audience will get 5 steps back with you.

  • Why do you need a query?
  • Which specific audience do you need to target?
  • Why this audience?

What you’re trying to do here is to identify the main problem. To be at the right level of information to try and find a solution.

Step 2: Establish a list of options

For illustrative purposes, let’s say that in this case, the problem is:

“One of our products has a defect that can be dangerous for children, and we need to communicate with the customers who bought the product and may have children.”

Now you need data. Where is it?

  • The data is not at all in SFMC
  • There is data in SFMC but it will be complex to query
  • Data is easy to use in SFMC

For each case, there are different options: for example, for the first one, you could upload rough data through sftp or API but also extract directly the audience from the third-party system.

List all the options. Define their estimated cost. The time needed to achieve the task.

Step 3: Prioritize

Honestly, this is the hardest part.


Because you have in your options the “Quick & Dirty” fix.

And that’s all your audience will see.

But I need you to hold.

Ask them how often this kind of situation may happen. Define with them a level of urgency.

Build a prioritization matrix and add a project to your backlog if it makes sense.

Now you can implement your “Quick & Dirty” fix if it’s that urgent.

And next time, hopefully, you’ll be able to enjoy your coffee mug without that emergency call!

See you next week!

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