MTC Podcasts

Episode 1: Discussing Data Unification and CDP Emergence With Tom Treanor

Martech Cube ventures on a thoughtful discussion about the rampant nature of data and how the emergence of CDPs have stacked the shelves cleaner.

Chandrima Samanta :[00:00:05] Welcome to the Martech Cube Podcast. With the Martech space evolving at a phenomenal level, it gets extremely rattling to keep track of each and every update on board the magic stack as well as marketing knowledge Treasury. In such excruciating times that rise from the Martech maven comes in handy. Martech Cube’s Podcast Series is just that knight in the shining armor that focuses on a range of topics from the Martech arena. We bring in the industry mavens to venture out your queries on the same space, get inside tricks, trends and practical know how from the top minds in the marketing technology space.

Chandrima Samanta:[00:00:39] In our CDP Specialized Week on the Martech Cube podcast, we are going to dissect the shortcomings of massive amounts of data and the data handling process in general. Along with that, we are also going to venture the identity resolution of different data representation sets and venture on several poignant questions like how can they end up representing a common database for utilization?

[00:01:10] Having a lot of data doesn't necessarily mean that they're managing it well, and that's one of the problems that you see. Where do you see the Customer Data Platforms in the next three to five years?

They're actually so many rich ways that companies start to learn to use the data...

Chandrima Samanta :[00:01:28] Going slightly off the hook we are also going to touch base on the volatility and validity of each content piece these days and discuss how content clusters can actually help in making your content evergreen.

Chandrima Samanta : [00:01:43] Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Martech Cube’s podcast, our guest today is Tom. Tom is the global head of marketing at the enterprise CDP Company, Arm Treasure Data. He's responsible for driving strategy and looking into the marketing, analytics and Martech functionality of the same. He's also responsible for authoring a tremendous amount of articles because of his immense and deep knowledge of Martech, Marketing and customer Data. Welcome to the podcast Tom.

Tom: [00:02:14] Thanks. Happy to be here.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:02:16] Ok, I'm going to dive right into a very customer centric question.

So, we have seen that companies are rapidly transforming themselves into digital businesses in a race to build brand loyalty that leads to revenue. Data in this case has an extremely key role to play, to deliver experiences to these customers. While there is no shortage of data at the disposal of the companies, what do you think are some of the shortcomings that the companies face while trying to handle massive amounts of customer data? Like how do you suggest to overcome this trouble?

Tom: [00:02:57] Right, having a lot of data doesn't necessarily mean that they're managing it well, one of the problems is that so many companies have data within various silos, but they really haven't made the effort yet to pull that data together to unify their customer profile. So I think one of one of the things that certain companies are doing during this time is really finalizing that effort to unify the customer profiles, often using a Customer Data Platform, because then at that point, they really understand when the customer is hitting the different touch points. They can really understand what the customer journey is and I think one of the other things it can do is help them be more agile in their business models.

As things shift, they can change business models more quickly, if they actually have a good understanding of their customers. 

 Chandrima Samanta: [00:03:55] That's right.

And, you know, seeing the massive evolution of data and the way in which the customer and the consumer data have shaped up to finally drive the decision making process for the marketers, when you see the Customer Data Platform in the next three to five years, where do you see it heeding? And what significant changes can we expect in the data handling process from the marketers end?

Tom: [00:04:22] I think, for one thing, the Customer Data Platforms are becoming more of a kind of ubiquitous thing, something that people need to have because they realize that none of the other Martech tools really handle this functionality. And trying to add it as an afterthought to another technology is not really a recipe for success in a way that's scalable and in a way that's designed from the ground up to manage the data safely, securely and effectively. So one is I think it's something that all companies will have because it's such a critical function to unify the customer data and to be able to see what that journey is. The other thing from the marketing team standpoint is the CDPs are getting easier to use for the marketers.

So better... You know, better UI and, a lot of things are served up for them. So, for example, in our tool, we have segmentation delivered by machine learning that's auTomated. So they can kind of use the out-of-the-box segmentation or they can look at how the segmentation was derived and make minor adjustments to try their own flavor. But they can start with the one that's provided for them.

So I think it's becoming ubiquitous, becoming easier to use for marketers. And I think those are two of the big trends.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:05:59] And coming to personalization, now personalization, has been one of the most complex yet, one of the most talked about topics in the lanes of B2B marketing, but the level of complexity of personalization have sometimes gotten the marketer so worried that we have seen several case studies wherein the marketers have totally left out the cusTom tailoring part of the personalization because it's that tedious and with the current state of consumerism wherein the consumers are so used to the experience that the e-commerce giants like Amazon give them, like literally taking stuff out of the virtual racks. So in that state, where do you think the marketers can simplify and compartmentalize their personalization process and stop their entire engagement from derailing?

Tom: [00:06:50] Right, I think a couple of things, one is, yeah, they don't have to personalize everything all the time, they need to figure out what are the most important channels to personalize in and what are the most important things to tell that particular customer.

So, some things are maybe tied to the vertical or industry they're in. So, you know, the personalization at that level could be something that's more relevant for their industry. In other cases in both consumer and B2B, I think, personalization based on not just the top of the funnel personalization, but actually for existing customers, et cetera. So in the B2C example, it might be, hey, you typically use these cosmetics every five weeks, so personalizing the message, you know, here's the replenishment email, just click the button to do it, type of personalization and B2B you can have other things like, oh, we notice you're not using this tool, you know, would you like to have a tutorial on how to use this tool or most of our top customers use the tool this way have you considered that? So personalizing based on things not just like the top of the funnel, but also on product usage or replenishment or things like that.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:08:12] Yeah, and, you know, taking away from the answer that you have given, since there are so many different types of analytics and data that each sector caters to, for B2C it's more like footnotes and B2B it can be anything ranging from Google Analytics of the website or, you know, for that matter, LinkedIn analytics for social media post, there is so much data, like there are so many touch points and there are so many modes of representation of the data. So I really wanted to know, you know, how do you think that we can aggregate this data from disparate sources for identity resolution to represent a common database for unification? What do you think, how difficult it is, or like how much have we coped up with this problem with CDP? Like, what is the stature of the entire situation?

Tom: [00:09:01] Yeah, I think, we try to make it pretty easy. In fact, you know, some of the implementations are like less than 60 days. So, with the unification, one of the key points is the input. So now companies like Treasure Data have, you know, we have hundreds of pre-built connectors to make it easy to plug in a lot of the known tools.

And then, of course, there are other tools that are not known, maybe we haven't experienced before or that are legacy tools or a tool that was developed in-house, so that just requires a kind of a developing approach to connecting separately from this pre-built connector.

So, you know, one is just getting this connector set up and that's how we make it to be fairly easy, like I said, because a lot of them are pre-built, then we've unified the data of so many different customers that we're used to all the different, you know, "gotchas" and different issues that come up with that. So we work with the client to unify their data and then there's the using that data either for BI or for activation and again, we help them typically figure out a couple of use cases that they want to focus on.

So if you look at that journey, it's doable and it's a lot easier than doing it in-house from scratch, from a new database, having never done it before. Right. So I think using a pre-built tool is a lot faster in terms of time to market. And it's definitely doable. And like I said, if you do it in-house, that's where you might run the challenges that you would be expecting.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:10:49] Yeah.

And also the main reason that we need the unification is because in between marketing, there are several marketing functions that are operating, that is content marketing, social media marketing. So everybody has a different touch point in the entire journey. So unifying it really becomes taxing at one point, but then that would be a good CDP really does the work. I, I really hope so.

Tom: [00:11:15] Yeah. And then there's also data teams that are outside of marketing that really actually start to appreciate having this one source of single source of truth on the customers for executive record reporting, for analytics, in different customer analytics. There's also other teams, customer experience or customer success teams that could start using, you can activate sales teams based on that, especially for B2B.

So there's actually so many rich ways that companies start to learn to use the data that it's not just within the marketing function.

 Chandrima Samanta: [00:11:53]Correct. Also, since I read one of your articles, it was a customer experience. It was a very interesting article.

And I came across the line and I quote the line "creating a cycle of data driven improvement is what differentiates the more successful retailers from their competitors." 

Can you talk a little bit about this?

Tom: [00:12:17] Sure.

So, again, as we talked about, the foundation is actually having the data available. 

So, you know, one of the data driven improvements that was recently done by a retailer is things like getting smart about understanding where the roadblocks are in the buying process and then helping the customer get through those. So one of the examples is the Cart Abandonment or Browse abandonment project where, based on the other activities that happen online, especially right now, we're in more of an online shopping versus the in-person shopping. You can run specific campaigns to improve that rate of Cart abandonment or Browse abandonment and make significant ROI based on that. So that's one example of making improvements in a very specific area. But having all the data available, you can start to analyze different parts of your journey and find where the issues are, either the root cause or add things like activations to help people through that.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:13:32] That's correct, Also, I wanted to talk to you about CDP readiness a little bit. So we recently published A Buyer's Guide on Martech Cube. It's more on the lines of prerequisites to choosing our Customer Data Platform, and it has treasure data ranking on number one, I guess. So on that note, while we have addressed a couple of things in representing CDP in totality, that it helps in providing a composite structure that really helps your consumer leverage the data in a totally unified manner. We would really like to ask you how difficult it would be to judge whether the company is ready for a CDP or not.

What would be the core factors to a confused company to tell them that, you know, your CDP readiness should be determined by these factors that you are now ready for a CDP?

And I know these are, again, bifurcating into enterprises and small scale, but I would just like to have a common list.

Tom: [00:14:38] Let's see, so there's a size of company, for one thing, right?

As you mentioned, if you're a very, very small company, they're probably not the product for you or if you were from a medium company through Enterprise, one of the things is, do you have a significant number of customer records that you have to manage? And that means that, you know, you have a large customer base versus a very small customer base.

So if you know your hundred accounts that you always have to go after and maybe you just had a few more accounts here and there, then you probably, you know, you may not need CDP if you have tens of thousands or tens or hundreds of thousands or millions of records and customers, then that's starting to tell you that you probably need to CDP to keep that straight, because what happens is, one of those hundreds of thousands or millions will come in three or four different channels, and if each of your channels is siloed in managing that customer, you'll probably not recognize the same customer has been coming through these different channels. And maybe the way that you're messaging them is not really appropriate because you might be saying, hey, buy our new thing on special, 10 percent off, whereas, in another channel, you might have recognized that they actually were an existing customer and are probably looking for something different. So maybe they're looking for some support. Yeah, if you have lots of records, if you have a team or a person that you could nominate to be the leader of an effort, so I'd say part of the checklist is having executive buy into the necessity of having a tool like this and being able to designate a single person or team as the point person to lead it, because managing something that's cross-functional by nature, by committee, without a leader is kind of a recipe for disaster because it's kind of like a compromise as project when you actually want clear direction and you're going to have to make some tough choices. So I think its lots of records and you're a big enough company, you have executives buy in and then, you know, this is something that can be worked out before or after the selection because we can help with that.

But it's also some specific use cases in mind that you want to address versus just saying we want to do a lot of stuff. It helps to have a couple of use cases in mind. We want to improve our return on ad spend or we want to improve some parts that you can actually implement to CDP with those specific use cases in mind as opposed to just implementing it and then saying, OK, what's next? What do we do? So specific ideas of what you can work with, and flesh that out. Let's see if I missed anything big. So, I think those are some of the main things.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:18:05] I think it was very well explained.

Also coming to the relevancy of content, now content basically, in certain content marketing aspects, also any article or any piece of content that you put out, I think the immediate value that it has, the validation it has is for 24 to maximum 36 hours. So in times like these, you know, for a company like us, for a publication house like Martech Cube, whose approach is totally dynamic, content driven approach, so what steps would you suggest to, you know, get maximum value out of your piece of content, of your current piece of content?

Tom: [00:18:45] Yeah, I think about that a lot because we created a lot of content, you know, one is a lot of content is evergreen and you should have as part of your confirmation process, because, you know, three months or six months later, that content is still relevant for people. So it's just about getting the exposure via, for example, social media or your email newsletter.

So now typically in social media, you can re-share, another is to repurpose. So let's say you created an eBook. You can take portions of that out to create blog posts or to create kind of social posts, etc. Or maybe you turn that ebook into a video tutorial. So it's repurposing. Another is to check the stats, update and republish. So you kind of maintain that ranking in traffic, but you actually want to give a better version or you can highlight where a new version is available on that particular post and say, hey, we've updated a second newer version or related content on this other page you can click over there. So you basically get two for the price of one. I'd say another one that I've been working on is and I think it's interesting for you as well and for the audience, we created something called the CDP Academy, which is taking some of our best content and exactly for the purpose that you mention, because it has a shelf life and actually discovery is the problem. So having a CDP Academy, we can actually provide our greatest hits by topic area to allow people to kind of go through a kind of curated journey to understand how a CDP works and what are they kind of like, the important things to think about, what are the checklists, what are some kind of the case studies and things like that. So I think it's thinking about how you can repackage your content into a different format that allows for rediscovery.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:20:54] And it's like smaller pieces of a puzzle, sort of a format. Right.

And also coming to the current burning question about the pandemic there have been opposing views on the state of marketing.

So some people say that marketing is going to see a major slump and others are saying that it will see a major revolution post it. So how do you think the pandemic is going to reshape the current state of marketing post we recover from?

Tom: [00:21:25] Yeah, I think it will go through a slump for a certain period of time as many companies scale back their marketing efforts, the marketing budget that they spend, as well as investment in new Martech tools. I think there will be a pullback, which is unfortunate, but when things start to heat up again over time, I think you will see the hiring return and the investment return, because a lot of companies have put, will have put things on the back burner for a year or some significant amount of time. And they're going to realize that both their campaigns as well as their infrastructure will need some updating to stay competitive. So, you know, marketing is strategic, not just a kind of a commodity function. I think for companies that really want to stay ahead, they actually do have to invest. And so there will be that need for investment after that, let's say it's a year, yearlong kind of slowdown. So I think it'll come back and it may take some time to work through the system where it gets back to marketing, full employment as well as investment at the same levels we used to. But I think it will eventually work its way back.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:22:52] And so it'll see a slump and then rise back.

Tom: [00:22:57] Right. But, you know, it's not, it's not going to be immediate. Right. It will be a slow craft.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:23:04] (Laughs.) Yeah. Also, yeah, on a hopeful and rather positive note, I would really like you to consider sharing a quote that has always stayed with you in all your life, irrespective of any situation, something that you follow as something that's done by you from a book or, you know..

 Tom: [00:23:27]  I don't have a quote handy, but I kind of make my own quotes always.

You always keep your eye on the ball. And what that means is that when I'm working with someone on my team or someone on another team and maybe we're debating the value of some project, should we invest in this? Should I have people on my team work on it? I always kind of come back to like, well, let's keep our eye on the ball here. What are we trying to do? Like, what are the things actually helping us achieve our bigger goal? Because sometimes we spend so much time with all these tasks and efforts and projects and some portion of them really are not helping to move the needle on our bigger goals.

So that's why it's kind of like always, kind of, keep in mind, you keep your eye on the ball, because one of the things we need to do is get more efficient and cut out things that are unnecessary. So if you can figure out that some things are really not lined up with the strategy, then you can cut them out. So keep your eye on the ball.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:24:34] Keep your eye on the ball is THE quote.

That was rather inspiring and extremely positive. And this marks us to the end of our podcast. Thanks a lot for joining us for this wonderful session, Tom.

We really look forward to hosting you again.

I'm in the interview with you and we just want to keep doing more and more content with you. We are such big fans at Martech Cube, really. We always read all your articles and everything. So it was really lovely chatting with you. And I hope that you enjoyed this conversation as much as we have.

Tom: [00:25:11] Oh, I really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for hosting me and thank you for the kind words and appreciate that you're reading my articles and I'm looking forward to next time.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:25:19] Yeah. Thank you so much, Tom. Please stay safe and stay vigilant.

Tom: [00:25:22] Thank you. OK, thanks. You too. Bye bye.

[00:03:04] “One of the problems, it is that so many companies have data within various silos, but they really haven't made the effort yet to pull that data together to unify their customer profile”

Martech Cube’s Take – Tom couldn’t have made a more perfect statement when he said that having a lot of data doesn’t mean it’s being managed well. It is equally or maybe a little more important to efficiently manage the data at hand to understand the B2B Marketing personas and enhance the customer journey while offering flexibility in dynamic business models.

[00:04:22] I think, for one thing, the customer data platforms are becoming more of a kind of ubiquitous thing, something that people need to have because they realize that none of the other Martech tools really handle this functionality.

Martech Cube’s Take – Automating Marketing processes, improving content creation and distribution, and optimized spending are some of the top attributes that a lot of martech tools have in common especially when the line of service is around B2B Marketing Automation. But, Customer Data Platform is not one of them, it is not generic. So, it is ubiquitous because of its functionality of data unification not being found in end-to-end tools.

[00:06:54] They (marketers) don't have to personalize everything all the time, they need to figure out what are the most important channels to personalize and what are the most important things to tell that particular customer.

Martech Cube’s Take – Data Personalization doesn’t have a standard unit of steps to follow. It changes from customer to customer as well as from industry to industry. Figuring out what kind of personalization is best suited for your customers is the first step, whereas the next is to identify the right channel to offer the personalized message.

[00:18:51] One, a lot of content is evergreen and you should have as part of your confirmation process, because, you know, three months or six months later, that content is still relevant for people. So it's just about getting the exposure via, for example, social media or your email newsletter.

Martech Cube’s Take – Keeping your content relevant at all times will prove to be a magic bullet for all marketers wrt to their strategies that will evolve their content marketing efforts. You already have a ton of created content, why not tweak it, enhance it, and repurpose it to make it discoverable again? It’s a low hanging fruit that just needs to be repackaged. Not only will the shelf life of your piece of content will increase, but it will also get into the race of gauging higher traffic and traction.

Having a lot of data doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re managing it well, and that’s… That one of the problems, it is that so many companies have data within various silos, but they really haven’t made the effort yet to pull that data together to unify their customer profile.

Tom Treanor
Global Head of the Marketing at Arm Treasure Data
As the Global Head of the Marketing at Arm Treasure Data, Tom drives the marketing strategy and execution for Treasure Data's CDP (Customer Data Platform) and IoT Data Analytics solutions. Previously he helped define the product roadmap for Alexa Internet's SaaS marketing and analytics tools. Before that, he was the Director of Content Marketing, Social Media and SEO for Wrike, a leading project management and collaboration software solution. He has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, as well as a Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Chandrima Samanta
Content-Editor at MartechCube
Chandrima samanta is a Content management executive with a flair for creating high quality content irrespective of genre. She believes in crafting stories irrespective of genre and bringing them to a creative form. Prior to working for MartechCube she was a Business Analyst with Capgemini.

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