With CDP being the key focus in marketing personalization to its underutilization in the martech stack, be all ears for this wonderful session with David Raab
[00:00:03.66] Welcome to the Martech Cube's Let's Talk Podcast with the Martech space evolving at a phenomenal level, it gets extremely rattling to keep track of each and every update on both the Martech stack as well as marketing knowledge Treasury. In such excruciating times that rise from the Martech mediums comes in handy. Martech Cube's Let's Talk series is just that night in the shining armor and focuses on a range of topics from the Martech arena. We bring in the industry mavens to venture out your queries in the same space.
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00:00:44.64] In today's podcast, we are going to cover various aspects of CDP, along with discussing the underutilization of the customer data platform. But that being said, we are also going to discuss how marketing teams can gear up in order to personalize the customer interactions across the entire customer journey map.
[00:01:03.99] One of the biggest problems was simply getting access to that data and then pulled it together and unifying it so that you could recognize it. People started buying so much technology and using somewhat less of it that they just kept hiding on with the Martech tools and the Martech stack.
Very few companies even now, really have that data under control.
Chandrima: [00:01:28.47] Why do you think that customer data was being severely underutilized?
Chandrima: [00:01:34.50] On the offside? We are also going to touch base on the seemingly urban marketer's problem of piling on to the Mattick stack and how it can be solved on both operational and implementation levels.
Chandrima: [00:01:47.61] Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Martech Cube Podcast. Joining us today would be David Raab. David Raab is a marketing technology expert. He's an independent consultant and I think author of literally thousands of articles on the subject of Martech, Analytics, and Customer Data Platform. He's the founder of the Customer Data Platform Institute and is related to the coinage of the term customer data platform. Welcome to the podcast, David.
David: [00:02:17.20] Thank you for having me.
Chandrima: [00:02:19.15] Ok, I would really like to start the podcast by asking you the most preliminary question. Why do you think when you started with customer data and marketing, why do you think that customer data was being severely underutilized?
David: [00:02:36.75]Well, the challenge with customer data has been multifold, actually, but perhaps the core challenge, certainly with the customer data platform, is that the data has not been easily accessible to marketers so that it was trapped in this system or in that system. Some of those systems didn't have very good tools, where even if they did have good tools to analyze the data, the data was only the day that that system captured, which you would ideally have related to useful data that was captured in other systems. So bringing that data together was something that often a data scientist would have to do or an I.T. person would have to do and was a very painful kind of manual job. And then you had to do it all over again next week when you add some other projects. So that was one of the biggest problems, was simply getting access to that data and then putting it together and unifying it so that you could recognize that this email over here is related to that phone number over there, relate to that Web cookie over here. So there was a number of issues that come down to data integration and combination.
Chandrima: [00:03:44.83] Ok. And I also wanted to access the conjunctions of sales and marketing as functions, as functions are quite interrelated, but where do you think that sales and marketing truly intertwine to provide an omnichannel experience to the customer?
David: [00:04:04.08] Particularly in B-to-B what we find is that the sales-people are talking to their prospects at the same time that the marketing people are talking to them. So you really do have this issue of the need to coordinate the message. The change in behavior that we've seen over the last decade or so has been that buyers increasingly engage on the website in particular and research the company without talking to sales-people. So they further and further down the buying process before they even reach out to sales. So it's really important that marketing be delivering messages that are appropriate so that when they do finally get around to talking to the sales-people, the people have been educated properly and reached out properly. And because so much of those interactions are not just sort of one-time queries, but really part of a process or a sequence of messages that are delivered through the website or through email. Those are messages that marketing controls, but again, they're very, very important to sales-people, those be the right messages.
Chandrima: [00:05:14.56] Ok, and I also wanted to ask dive a little deeper into this by asking you, currently, the entire focus has been shifted to just automating the entire process and, you know, being like converting your lead in the fastest possible manner.
Chandrima: [00:05:31.24] So do you think somewhere down the line that in utilizing in maybe over-utilizing the customer data, we are losing the actual essence of caring about our customers and bringing or roping them in the entire procedure?
David: [00:05:47.77] Well, I don't know that I'd agree that we've been focused obsessively on automating for the sake of automation. There are many more points of interaction now and there are many more interactions themselves through to each of those different channels that have to be done. And there's too many to not automate it. So, you know, you want to have a personalized website, you're not going to have somebody sitting on the other end saying, oh, here's this website visitor. I'm going to decide what to say to them manually. I know you can do that in a Web chat, but that's not going to be for every visitor that just because for those who choose to chat with you so you have to automate. It's simply an imperative, again, to give the customer a good experience. That being said, the automation doesn't have to be. Bad automation, you know, good automation will feel very personalized and we'll be very personalized and very caring and there, we say human. So I don't think that it's a question of automation versus not automate. I think the question of automate well versus automate poorly.
Chandrima: [00:06:54.66]Ok, that's another interesting take on this. And also [00:07:00.00] what, according to you, are some of the improvements that the marketing teams can gear up to in order to personalize the customer interactions across the entire customer Map.
David: [00:07:14.75]How much time do we have? There are a lot of things.
Chandrima: I just want you to cover in a nutshell. I know you can speak on this, like for hours together.
David: Really, you know, certainly getting their data organized [00:07:30.00] and accessible is a major improvement for most people because very few companies even now really have that data under control, although, of course, it's getting better. But I think beyond that, I think there's a lot of analytical work to be done that can again guide those automated decisions to undertake to observe the customer's behavior or the prospect's behavior and to try to understand what they're trying to accomplish so much of what we do. Getting back to your earlier question really is about serving the customer, serving the prospects, giving them what they need to solve their problems. And hopefully, that results in a sale for us because we have a problem or a product that solves their problem. Otherwise, we shouldn't sell it to them. And I think most people really don't want to sell someone a product that doesn't really solve their problem. You know, it's a matter of ethics. It's also just a matter honestly of good business practice because it's going to end up with unhappy customers. We're going to turn anyway. So there's really no point in selling somebody something they shouldn't be buying. So that is much more of a service attitude. And again, that gets back to the point that it's marketing and sales and even post-sales in the actual service. People themselves who are critical for renewals all need to cooperate and will need to give the customer a good experience. So there's a lot that can be done. Is more of that service orientation, convenience for the customer, ease of use for the customer, speed for the customer. That would not be considered a traditional marketing thing.
Chandrima: [00:09:06.99] Hmm. That's great. And I also wanted to ask you, there has been a kind of a debate, actually, there is a certain set. The marketing has seen a divide and people have varied opinions that, you know whether the marketing, the entire marketing channelization is seeing a major slump, or is it heading for a speedy evolution post the pandemic? Since we are going to obviously, you know, we are trying, everybody is trying to fin in the brigade of virtualization and you're trying their best to keep up the entire race going. So what is your opinion like? Whether the marketing is going to see a wave of revolution post the pandemic or is it going to see a major slump before and amidst and post the endemic?
David: [00:09:55.72] Well, I think marketing will do whatever the larger economy does, if there's a major economic slump, then marketing budgets will be cut. It's rather inevitable. And on the other hand, if we all bounce back vigorously, then marketing will bounce back as well. You know, there was a very sharp contraction in advertising and advertising and marketing aren't quite the same thing, but advertising a large chunk of marketing where people just cut back in the initial stages when honestly they just froze like the proverbial deer in the headlights. You know, now that advertising spending is creeping back and marketers are also beginning to realize that they can have additional messaging. A lot of the initial messaging ads back in March and April is just over here for you. We care about you and we're really not going to try to sell you anything right now. And now marketers are being marketers. They can't do that forever. And it just goes against the grain. So they're not creeping back into selling you things as they should. So, you know, the question is not whether marketers will do marketing. Of course they'll do marketing. The question is how much it will change because it will change. There's no question that people are doing way more online and that's not going to go back. There's plenty of research to that. And they become more savvy online. You know, we used to ask marketers, do many, many webinars. And I think people are kind of bored with webinars, right? They've seen too many. So now they're looking for more interaction, more just creative, more interesting, intriguing, more engaging marketing. And marketers, I have no doubt, will step up to that challenge. Marketers are inherently creative people, and now we've a lot of room with nothing else to do but think about what they would like to do. So I'm sure that there are many clever things that are germinating in many apartments as we speak that hopefully will create a new age of brilliant marketing genius innovation. Can't wait.
Chandrima: [00:12:10.06] Yes, absolutely. And also coming to CDP, now when CDP was launched and when it has been used extensively, the main, main tagline, I would say it was used for marketers having more data available than ever, but they really struggled to pull it together into a usable and actionable format. So CDP always offered the promise to solve this problem as a go-to. But why do marketers always have the doubt about CDP? You know like, why do marketers, technologists and executives who have not worked or, you know, have brought in CDP into the functionality have that first doubt? Can CDP really deliver on this promise? Why do you think where does that doubt crop from?
David: [00:12:58.69] Who are these people with doubt have them call me, but I suppose there are still a few out there?
Chandrima:Yeah, there are.
Chandrima Samanta: [00:22:52] And so it'll see a slump and then rise back.
David: Well, I think that realistically they've tried many technical things, other technologies that don't always necessarily deliver everything that's promised. So there's been a little bit of painful experience that they're reacting to. And even specifically in this area of customer data unification, a lot of the DMPs promised to unify their first-party data. DMP, so marketers are like, oh well, your CDP guys are telling me the same thing the DMPs guys did in the DMPs couldn't do it. So why should I believe the CDP guys? And that's an entirely fair question. The short answer to that is, well, it's a different technology and one that's actually designed from the start to do that. And DMPs were not designed from the start to do that. It just seemed like something that those clever marketers thought they could get away with saying. But, you know, I mean, it's people who should be skeptical, you should be skeptical of any claim well, really about anything, but certainly about technology. There's a lot of wishful thinking among marketers. I really have this problem. And if someone claims to solve it or even seems to claim to solve it, because I kind of hear what I want to hear it, even if the market is not quite saying that to me, they get all excited by, and then, of course, once they try it, you know, it turns out that it's not perfect, it has some limitations. You know, it might not even be what I thought it was. And the other thing, so there's that there's you know, there's wishful thinking on the part of the buyers. There's over promotional part of the sellers. But there's also realistically mistakes that are made at the implementation level. I see a lot of projects where people buy tools and they don't use it properly. I was just having this conversation with someone yesterday, the other day and big company, and they were using one of the CDPs that was perfectly capable of meeting their needs but have been installed wrong for all the people who could install that, which were the company's internal people, now the CDP vendor people just plain set it up wrong and then it couldn't do what was needed. Well, what was anybody's fault except the people who installed it. Yeah. You know, so there's that and we've seen that in other technology, marketing automation, you had a lot to buy and then not use them properly. So nothing unique to CDPs about that. But that is it's much easier to buy these things and to learn how to use it.
Chandrima: [00:15:44.92] Well, I think that's why we started discussing a lot like marketers overall and well, you know, like editors like us are content creators. They started discussing this topic a lot, the pile-on of Martech stack. So that's what like, you know, made way for it because people started buying so much technology and using so less of it that they just kept piling on the Martech tools and on the automatic stack. And it just created a heap that never went used and neither were they able to utilize any of the existing data. So then they started questioning the tools and everything in place. But actually, the entire implementation order was in reverse. So that's why it wasn't ever successful, this practice of piling on to your Martech stack.
David: [00:16:32.97] Yeah, that's exactly right. It's very easy to buy software, especially if it's a software as a service, you know, just kind of basically just write a check or put in a credit card. And again, people. Will see a promise made or they'll think they'll see a promise made and they get excited, they'll find it right up and then they'll do it. And then if it doesn't work immediately, they don't invest the time to use it well. So that is a big problem. And it's again, it's across space, people getting much smarter. I mean, we are very impatient, particularly right now. It's just as I wasn't going to say a culture,society because it's global. Right. But we're just everyone's very impatient and they don't want to give things time. They do it. They try. If it doesn't work on the next thing, there's somehow that's considered to be a virtue. But maybe there are places for that. But it is better actually to slow down a little and kind of work with the things you have rather than just tossing them away. If they don't immediately solve their problems doesn't mean they can't solve it. It just means you have to work at it a bit more.
Chandrima: [00:17:44.00] Also, I really wanted to ask you about the human aspect of marketing. So do you think that you know, with times of global crises like this, we need to humanize marketing and explore the customer sentiment in a rational manner other than just putting it out there on their face, especially? There are certain elements that we have seen in the recent past about like marketing campaigns were run on the basis of certain communal events that happened and everything. So do you think that we really need to sit back and take a back seat and analyze what we are doing with our strategy and how we are putting ourselves out there?
David: [00:18:24.37] Well, I think we always needed to do that, I don't think that really has changed you. Listening to your customers has always been the first commandment of marketing and understanding what people need and then hopefully delivering it to them and fighting which messages resonate and all that. So I don't think that's changed. Maybe it's become a little harder. Maybe the stakes are a little higher now because the things that your customers wanted for a long time that you were kind of used to giving to them and you became habits. Now all of a sudden, those habits are no longer appropriate. So we have to go back and maybe listen a little harder for things that we are not expecting to hear. So that may have changed a bit. But the fundamental need to be human and to recognize that your customers are human is still there. Of course. Now a lot of marketing is not done by our two humans. We market to algorithms, but let's set that aside. And even that you got to understand, even if you aren't marketing to machines, you got to understand the machines too. So it's really not that different.
Chandrima: [00:19:32.35] Yeah, exactly. And coming to CDP again, what do you think will be the next strategic evolution in the CDP arena? What will be the next defining aspect of it?
David: [00:19:50.11] Well, it's a fascinating arena to watch, it's evolving very quickly, as everything does these days.
You know, what we see right now is we're seeing the big technology companies, the Adobes and Salesforce and Oracle and Microsoft, and asking them to go on and on entering the market with products. And it took them kind of a long time for various reasons to recognize that the CDP was just part of what they had to offer to have a complete solution. Their number of reasons, they kind of resisted that notion or they thought it was just a simple thing, that we're just going to build one. And it took them three years because it's harder to build it than it seems. So that's probably going to reshape the market in a fairly major way. And that that is happening as we speak. Most of the vendors I just mentioned have a product that has been released within the past year, you know, so it's just beginning to really kind of impact the marketplace. And along with that, we do see an additional. Set of vendors who are, offering other things that, again, are adding CDP to the commerce vendors, adding CDP capability or email vendors, adding a CDP capability, and that also changes who buys it and how they buy it and who sells it. So, you know, we have a number of standalone CDP vendors. That's their entire business. And some of them have been very successful and are growing very, very quickly. But we also have a lot of small guys. We're not sure how many of those will survive, but when they do survive, we think most of them are going to be surviving by focusing on particular niche markets, financial services or travel or healthcare or whatever it is, because that's really where you can do well as a small, focused company and, you know, be better at your little niche than the generic product that I can buy from Adobe or Salesforce or some.
Chandrima: [00:21:59.99] True, That's correct. And moving on to a lighter note. Can you tell us a quote that you swear by, you know, that that has always stuck by you and you always remember that in times of crisis?
David: Creator Stiction Budish,
Chandrima: Can you translate it for us.
David: Russian grandfather told me that the slower you go, the faster you get there is roughly what it means. So plan carefully and you know, take your time and then move quickly after you've done your planning, which resonates with me personally. Plus I like Russian.
Chandrima: [00:22:37.37] Yeah, that sounded really exciting. That's why I asked for the translation. That was rather inspiring. And I can really resonate this quote with marketing and like in every aspect that goes with all situations in life and otherwise.
And yeah, this makes us to the end of our podcast. And I really want to thank you a lot, David, for joining us for this wonderful session. We really look forward to hosting you again on Martech Cube. And as for our audience, we really hope that you enjoyed our conversation as much as we did. We hope to see you all once again next week at the brand new episode of my podcast with another special guest. And I hope you all tune-in then. Please stay safe and stay vigilant.
[00:04:04.08] Particularly in B-to-B what we find is that the sales-people are talking to their prospects at the same time that the marketing people are talking to them. So you really do have this issue of the need to coordinate the message.
Martech Cube’s Take – Absolutely! This is a common issue faced by B2B businesses. When marketing, as well as sales representatives, communicate to a potential prospect at the same time, then various issues in communication and commitments arise. So, the sales and marketing departments of a B2B company should work together in sync to obtain maximum sales without miscommunication.
[00:15:28.56] I see a lot of projects where people buy tools and they don't use it properly. I was just having this conversation with someone yesterday, the other day and big company, and they were using one of the CDPs that was perfectly capable of meeting their needs but have been installed wrong for all the people who could install that, which were the company's internal people, now the CDP vendor people just plain set it up wrong and then it couldn't do what was needed. Well, what was anybody's fault except the people who installed it. Yeah. You know, so there's that and we've seen that in other technology, marketing automation, you had a lot to buy and then not use them properly
Martech Cube’s Take – We completely agree with this statement made by David Raab. This has happened in many cases in the past and is still happening, many companies join the herd of sheep to purchase the latest technology available in the market, without even checking, if they would be able to leverage the efficiency of technology to the fullest. Many times as the machine is not utilized to the fullest because of the use or lack of knowledge, people start bad mouthing them. So businesses should learn about a particular technology, their features, their uses and then decide and use them to their fullest capabilities.
[00:18:28.93]Listening to your customers has always been the first commandment of marketing and understanding what people need and then hopefully delivering it to them and fighting which messages resonate and all that. So I don't think that's changed. Maybe it's become a little harder. Maybe the stakes are a little higher now because the things that your customers wanted for a long time that you were kind of used to giving to them and you became habits. Now all of a sudden, those habits are no longer appropriate. So we have to go back and maybe listen a little harder for things that we are not expecting to hear. So that may have changed a bit. But the fundamental need to be human and to recognize that your customers are human is still there.
Martech Cube’s Take – The most important success hack is to listen to our customers. Customer feedback is something that will always help a business to improve. Yes, we are developing at a very high pace technologically but as David rightly said, we are also failing to be in touch with our customers, who are the main source of improvement. So, we need to find ways to get back in touch with them in a humanly manner, so that we can understand what customers want to convey as a human, which machines fail to understand.
Listening to your customers has always been the first commandment of marketing and understanding what people need and then hopefully delivering it to them and fighting which messages resonate
David M. Raab
David M. Raab is the founder of the Customer Data Platform Institute, which educates marketers and technologists about customer data management. As Principal at Raab Associates, Inc., he has been helping marketers to understand, find, and deploy appropriate technologies since 1987. Typical projects include marketing process analysis, architecture planning, needs definition, and vendor selection. He also consults with industry vendors on product and business strategy.
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.