min read

Unlocking The Potential of Customer Data

October 4, 2022
September 18, 2023
Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Guest

Zack Wenthe is the Customer Data Platform Evangelist for Treasure Data. He often speaks about the marketing and customer data industry at events, webinars, and virtual conferences. Having spent a majority of his career in marketing and marketing consulting working with large enterprise brands like Walmart, Nationwide Insurance, FedEx, and many more, Zack now gets to tell the CDP story to help marketing teams eliminate the friction caused by silos, inefficiencies, and lack of understanding of their true customers.

The Interview

The interview begins with a brief overview of the customer data landscape, where we ask Zack to describe the ways in which all this data and tech has both helped and hindered marketers’ abilities to track results and create more effective campaigns. 

“As data has exploded, it’s no longer a question of whether you should collect data, but what you should do with it,” says Zack. “The challenge has been that customer data is locked up in different platforms and defined differently; email engagement doesn’t mean social media engagement. Data shows up as fragments, the task is really tying all this to actions and outcomes.”

Siloization isn’t the only problem with customer data management; there’s also the issue of taxonomy and duplication. Many organizations are collecting data on customers and engagement while increasing the chances that all that data will lead to chaos, rather than clarity. Zack offers a simple solution.

“One of the simplest things you can do is start a data dictionary,” explains Zack. “What are all these systems collecting, what is customer-defined, what is defined by systems, and what is defined by the team deriving the metrics. Knowledge management is essential, particularly when it comes to temporal measurements of activity. If the window of visibility is time-defined, say in 30 day segmentation, 28 day measurements aren’t gonna connect. You really need a unified view of metrics to create a sensible narrative to stakeholders and those not in the marketing space.”

Our interview then pivots into the disruption of third-party data collection and the “cookiepocalypse” which is already challenging marketing teams with creating a holistic view of engagement. Zack believes the answer is data ownership and collecting your own first-party information.

“A lot of it comes down to control,” says Zack. “If you aren't in control of the data, you are at the mercy of the publishers and platforms. This creates disruption, and opportunity, in a few ways. One, owning data allows more personalized connections with customers and two, it prevents data from being vanished by platforms. When Apple released no-tracking, it dinged Facebook hard. When you ladder that down to the average marketer, they need to be gathering purchase information on their own.”

When asked about the future of customer data, Zack believes marketers that own their data have a chance to both respect privacy and create stronger connections.

“Where we’re headed is aggregate information. Granularity is on the marketing team. Consumers are figuring out that their data is valuable and can be misused. The opportunity is you can still get the data from ad-tech, it will just be less one-to-one.”

When the conversation reaches the topic of customer data analytics and dashboards, Zack unpacks how dashboards can be misused as proxies for success.

“One of the core functionalities to a customer data platform is that it’s going to take all the fragments of data and link them together with identity resolution. That’s been the desire of marketers. Exact matching or probabilistic matching are tools that can help build a holistic profile of customers. There may be records you can’t match to devices or engagements, but might collect the data points later. What does an engagement dashboard look like, rather than a channel-specified dashboard? Take it off the platforms, un-silo the data, and connect your reports around actions and behaviors. Creating engagement dashboards can help you engineer strategies and tactics to reach customers and track effectiveness. Channel analytics create a proxy for success, but don’t link directly to bottom line metrics. Landing page actions, email actions, actions on social media, are not inherently linked to actual results.”

For Cinderella stories on brands that successfully solved the customer data management problem, and horror stories on those that didn’t, as well as insight into how your marketing team can succeed with data management and create strategies that leverage data into action, listen to the full show on the links above and below. 

The Links

Treasure Data

LISTEN TO THE FULL SHOW -> Stay tuned, stay curious and subscribe to What Gets Measured on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or add it as a Favorite on your podcast player of choice.

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