Picture this: you’re walking to your car after a late night at the office on All Hallow’s Eve; its dark, damp, maybe even a little foggy. You aren’t into this this whole Halloween business because you’re a marketer and you get it, it’s just a ploy for the retail industry to make an insane amount of money. But you’re there, walking to your car, thinking about funny marketing-isms, and out of no where a woman appears. She’s dressed in jeans and a blazer with rather trendy glasses (so you know she’s got to be a martecher), but as you look closer, wondering what her landing pages might look like, you can kind of see right through her. That’s weird. Holy crap, she’s a ghost. (Don’t ask how she died, my creative writing skills aren’t that good or that dark …#busted).

You walk closer and she’s staring at you with this look on her face like, ‘I don’t have time for this but he needs to know.’ You’re just a few feet away from her now and she finally rolls her eyes and says, “Look I don’t really want to scare you but I have to and I’m going to.”

You stand there with a blank look on your face wondering if the retail giants are really that good, but as a modern marketer up on all the latest and most innovate trends, you know holography just isn’t there yet. You finally respond awkwardly with, “Yeah, well I don’t scare easily.”

The ghost lets out a pretty nerdy laugh, kind of snorts, then suddenly stops short with a serious face and says, “Look here Mr. Marketer, I know something about you and its bad. Real bad. And if you don’t address it, you’ll probably get fired.”

“Woah, woah woah,” you immediately retort, “I don’t even know you and I can see right through your weird little laugh and…your entire body actually. And ev –“

She cuts you off, “Look marketer man, I’m a ghost, I’m dead, I have special powers and I know certain things. Just listen.”

You feel a cold draft of air blow by, giving you goose bumps on the back of your neck; you have a weird ominous feeling.

She comes even closer, rolls her eyes, lets out a sigh, and says in an extremely matter-of-fact manner, “Your marketing database sucks. Its old, out of date, half the people in it don’t work where it says they do, their emails bounce, your marketing automation platform keeps slapping you on the wrist, and pretty soon everyone is going to wonder what the HELL you’re doing and why you can’t get quality leads, let alone conversions. Even worse- your database has literally no depth – what do you even know about your buyers? Prospects? Leads? How do you even segment? You might think you segment but splitting up your database by ‘title’ isn’t segmenting, hate to break it to you.”

You stand there, shaking, you feel a knot in your stomach. You know she’s right, whoever she is, this crazy nerdy ghost who happens to know quite a bit about demand generation and database marketing. What is even going on? In true marketer form, you let out a final ‘comeback’ that makes almost no sense and doesn’t really do anything: “Wish you would have just said ‘BOO’…”

You turn around quickly to run away but you feel something wet on your face. You go to wipe whatever it is off but at the same time, you open your eyes, you’re in your bed and you’ve been drooling, per usual. You think to yourself, “Wow, I just had a marketing nightmare.” You chuckle because you feel silly that you were actually scared for a second. But the smile fades from your face as it all sets in…you are living a marketing nightmare.

You jump out of bed and immediately forget the campaigns you’ve been stressing over, the content you’ve been waiting on, the messaging strategy you just put in place. None of it matters. You realize that without an up to date database with in depth records, nothing else matters. There has to be a reason you’re sending certain content to certain people, there has to be a functioning email address for your contacts or else they wont get it anyway, and even worse the messaging won’t resonate with them if it isn’t relevant.

You walk in the office after an intense drive. You bust into your boss’s office and sit down to tell her all about the nightmare. She looks back at you with a face you haven’t really seen before, you aren’t sure how to read it.

She fires you anyways.

Just kidding…she actually gets scared too, realizes you have an excellent point (that she hadn’t really considered because she doesn’t manage the database like you do) and together the two of you start reallocating budget. Its time to fix your data and wake up from this real life marketing nightmare.