First, I want to briefly thank my leaders at ActionIQ for offering me this amazing opportunity.
Joining ActionIQ presents two exciting opportunities:
- the opportunity to help organizations create informed marketing technology strategies during today’s critical era of digital transformation, and…
- the opportunity to join a vendor in a must-have technology category with the underpinnings of a champion.
Prior to this new role, I was blessed with career-broadening experiences at two great employers (a reputable industry research firm and a Fortune 50 retailer) wherein the commonality between them was my focus on single customer view solutions.
Let me explain more.
At the Fortune 50 retailer, I helped integrate data into an already-built single customer view solution. Sadly, the solution significantly under-delivered on its use cases. But unable to give up hope, I interviewed stakeholders of their must-have use cases and channeled my drive for innovation by building a new single customer view solution firsthand. Thankfully, this solution is still being used today since it helps stakeholders achieve many of their personalization objectives.
Next at the research firm, I was privileged to advise over 200 clients on their single customer view initiatives. The consistent rise in client demand for this capability was validating evidence of two theories: 1) that the next 12-18 months will be critical for organizations to succeed within digital/data transformation, and 2) that I’d built something special at my prior employer to aid analytics and personalization efficiency. Today’s marketing, e-commerce, and CX professionals illustrate full awareness that they must de-silo their data, democratize data access, and enable widespread personalization.
Unfortunately, the sad part is that not many leaders know where to begin.
Enter the now-blossoming vendor category that delivers the aforementioned capabilities, known as a Customer Data Platform (CDP). Public materials reveal that vendors like ActionIQ could readily implement their solutions in less than three months and change the way marketing teams were operating.
I reached out to ActionIQ for an opportunity to join their team because of two things:
- Their strategic vision
- Their fantastic product
My interview reinforced the foundation of an excellent company. Their leaders were taking a brilliantly strategic approach to their offering. They focused on the most important part of the platform first–building a proprietary infrastructure that scales infinitely and processes data at embarrassingly parallel levels. This is geeky and techy (I get it), but this infrastructure-first, features-second strategy gives clients a platform that doesn’t break down when processing enormous quantities of customer profiles. And it gave me the faith I needed that ActionIQ can lead the enterprise CDP marketplace.
By the way, this innovative infrastructure isn’t the only component that impressed me. The platform’s analytics and orchestration features enable self-service operations and automated marketing that revolutionize the way marketers operate.
So what will I be doing in this new role as a ‘martech strategist’ at ActionIQ?
My objective is to help marketing leaders assess their technology stacks and advance their single customer view solution initiatives by providing trusted advice. Ultimately, my premier objective is to help them make the right technology choices such that they have the highest probability of achieving their use cases, whether it ends up being through ActionIQ’s technology or not.
With honesty in mind, I wanted to emphasize one important call-out, namely the go-to-market principles of trust and honesty that ActionIQ proudly shares with me. (These are worth reading about, especially if you’ve ever been duped by a vendor before.) Here are some examples that explain ActionIQ’s objectivity as well as our focus on building trust with organizations:
- Our sales and solutions teams routinely suggest buyers towards other CDP vendors. If ActionIQ isn’t a perfect fit for you, we will recommend another vendor that meets all your use cases. Why? Because we know that over-promising on an undeliverable use case will eventually come back to haunt us and undermine our reputation in the marketplace. That philosophy is what attracted me to ActionIQ. We are founded on trust, and our strategy is to build immense amounts of it.
- Our content and presentations will remain objective and without vendor bias. We want to be known as a trusted advisor, someone you can get unbiased technology advice from– not a vendor that makes you skeptical of underlying hidden objectives.
Finally, in the spirit of helpfulness, I wanted to pique your interest by sharing a few lessons-learned from my experiences:
- Siloed data is a problem unlikely to go away. In fact, the number of interfaces and channels that consumers interact through is only going to continue growing. That means, creating the single customer view and delivering seamless personalized experiences is only going to get harder if disregarded.
- Building a single customer view solution in house is more challenging than you think. Data collection, data transformation, identity resolution, data modeling, and system management are tasks that require permanent teams, not a few enthusiastic individuals who build the solution, drink some champagne, and transition to other corporate projects. Ironically, I often daydream that I could go back to 2014 and bring a premier CDP vendor with me, wherein I would buy the technology from that premier CDP vendor instead of choosing to build one myself. My organization would have achieved data democracy and scaled personalized experiences within months instead of 2+ years.
- Building a single customer view solution by itself isn’t the end of the road. One still needs features to enable non-technical business users to access, analyze, and activate data without the need for technical skills or assistance. Off-the-shelf CDPs deliver this self-service capability through a user-friendly interface, drastically improving organizational efficiency in the process.
- A CDP’s ability to process data at scale is more important than marketers give it credit for. Consider this metaphor. If one thinks about a car as one’s CDP, and the car’s fuel is your customer data, then imagine if your car wouldn’t start one day because you put too much fuel in it (i.e. customer data) and the only way it would run is if you took out a bunch of your customer data. Sorta defeats the purpose of having the car, doesn’t it? You should be able to put in as much customer data as you want.
There are so many more topics to cover, but your time is valuable so I won’t ramble longer. In case you’re curious whether you should subscribe to ActionIQ’s content, I thought I’d provide some future topics to entice you. They are: what use cases does a CDP support; where does a CDP fit in your martech stack; how do I interplay a CDP with my DMP, my MMH, or my CRM; what pitfalls should I avoid in planning for a CDP; what are the pros and cons of building vs. buying; how do I select the right vendor for my organization. Plus more. Stay tuned!
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
And if you’re embarking on a single customer view or CDP initiative like so many others are, I’d love to help you plan it. Message me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,