Customer Data Perspectives, Ep. 6: Allison Schiff, AdExchanger

Allison Schiff, managing editor, AdExchanger, doesn’t hold back her feelings about all the acronyms, jargon, and “mushy” words that permeate the tech world. On this episode of Customer Data Perspectives, Schiff jargon-busts terms like “fingerprinting” and “cookieless,” dives into the future of OTT and CTV advertising, and breaks down what businesses need to understand about data privacy, identity, and evolving regulations. 

Watch or listen to the full episode below. You can also tune in on Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, or wherever you choose to listen to your favorite shows.


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Read the Transcript

Sacolick: Hi, everyone, and welcome to this episode of Customer Data Perspectives. I want to welcome today, Allison Schiff – she’s the managing editor at AdExchanger. Hi, Allison.

Schiff: Hey there. Thanks for having me.

Marketing During Economic Uncertainty

Sacolick: Thanks for joining us. And we’re going to cover a lot of different ground on many different topics today. I want to start with something I’m hearing and seeing and reading most about. I know some of your writers at AdExchanger have covered this. Let’s talk about whether or not you believe there’s an impending recession. Marketing is a common line item to get challenged, whacked and hit, depending on the verb you’d like to use, when people are fearful about changes in the economy. Do you have any thoughts for marketers around what they should do during a recession?

Schiff: I mean, whacked is, it’s an evocative word, but it’s probably pretty accurate. Like when money gets tight, people see marketing, like you were saying, they see it as a cost center, rather than a revenue generator, which is kind of short-term thinking. Yeah, I mean, a market downturn will usually lead to a pull back in marketing spend. But, that’s, it’s really related to fear, because when people are afraid they pause things that don’t seem essential to keep the business running, even though, in the long term, marketing really does keep the business running. 

But yeah, I mean, what’s interesting, I think, about a recession or a time of uncertainty is that marketers will start to reevaluate their partners to try and trim fat and be as efficient as possible. So they might actually look at their technology stack and decide, like, it’s time to shake things up a little bit, like in the name of efficiency.

So it might, you know, sound counterintuitive, but like, at a time when marketers are spending, you know, less, they’re actually potentially, like more open to new partners and partnerships, because those can potentially help them, you know, spend better and spend smarter. We saw that during the pandemic, it was chaotic, and it was confusing, but it was also an opportunity for companies to clean house, and just to make their tech stack work a little better, and to optimize their revenue. 

But uh, one other thing that does occur to me too, is that like, a recession – it’s an opportunity to grab market share, while everyone is getting more conservative with their spending. The inclination is to pull back, but if you spend strategically, you could attract people to your brand with messaging that speaks to the current climate. So not that you have to discount everything that you have in your warehouse. But you know, people are in a brand switching kind of mood when money is tight.

Sacolick: You know, as a person who comes mostly from a data and technology background, I love your answer, because you’re like, you know, let’s go address some of the inefficiencies in your technology stack. This is a good thing to invest in now, and just become more efficient. Reevaluate partners, get smarter about what you’re doing. But, you know, for me, it’s, you know, you made some decisions two, three, four years ago around what experiments and what customer segments you are going after, what products you are pushing, and things like that. And maybe you know, some of that needs to get reevaluated to use your word.

But this is also a good time to really be smart and strategic about growing market share. So, really liked that answer. I don’t think people should be fearful of it. Just be smarter about what’s coming down the road. 

Fingerprinting and Consumer Data Privacy 

Sacolick: And, you know, that leads into – you’ve covered so many great topics around using customer data and getting after business outcomes. I want to explore some of these topics with you. One of them is around fingerprinting, and your recent article said, quote: “The writing’s on the wall.” You share a little bit of a 101 on what fingerprinting is, what Apple is and isn’t doing about it, and the impact of both marketers and developers around it.

Schiff: Yeah. Okay, so fingerprinting in a nutshell, it’s an online tracking technique. Basically, you’re linking multiple different device attributes and combining that information into what is known as a hashed identifier. So like a numerical string. And you can still identify someone online fairly accurately, even if you don’t have any cookies. People will use fingerprinting when someone has cookies turned off. So, you’re cobbling together this ID by looking at all of these different parameters, like the plugin somebody has installed, the timezone on the person’s device, their IP address – although IP addresses are getting a little harder to come by. The user agent string, which is what identifies the browser that someone is using, the fonts they have installed, the OSlanguage they use, the screen resolution, it’s like all of these different things. 

And it’s probabilistic because you’re combining data points to make what is essentially an educated guess. But it still can be pretty accurate. And it’s problematic. 

Although people have been doing it for a very long time, there’s crackdowns because it’s considered a privacy problem. Because third party cookies for all of their many ills – and we’ll probably talk about that a little later in the episode – you can turn them off, you can clear your cookies periodically, but you cannot opt out of fingerprinting. It’s not a transparent process, like a fingerprint is not stored locally on a device. So, you can’t delete that information really even know if you’re being tracked in that way. And what I think is interesting, actually, is that Apple is not the only company that’s making moves to curb fingerprinting. There’s this proposed API in the Chrome privacy sandbox that is collecting all of these different potential alternatives for the functionality that people lose when third-party cookies go away. So it’s an API called Gnatcatcher, because most of these APIs have weird bird names, gnat is a kind of bird.

But it basically just hides a user’s IP address so that it can’t be used to target people, which kind of short-circuits fingerprinting. And Amazon is masking IP addresses for its CTV apps whenever they share ad campaign data. So for Twitch, and also for Freebie, which used to be IMDb TV. And then going back to Apple, it was two years ago, it’s a time that every app developer remembers very well, you know, because it was – this is when the writing went on the wall. And it was at the same time that it was first announced that Apple was going to start requiring an opt-in for the IDFA, which is its ad ID for iOS. And Apple, at the same time, said that fingerprinting would not be allowed under its policies. And this was true even before iOS 14.5 was released. But Apple came out and said very definitively, you know, that if you are an app, or an SDK, which is a software development kit, which are the partners that apps work with, if you guys rely on fingerprinting as a as a tracking technique, you run the risk of being rejected from the app store.

Sacolick: You know, what I love about the story is that, you know, I was amazed when I went looking up and researching more about fingerprinting – just a number of attributes you can get access to, if you break these rules, and just start doing what developers do, which is get access to data. And, you know, then, you know, there’s so much knowledge that you have to have to actually put it to use to be able to capture data, to know the APIs out, to know what you can and can’t do with it. 

And as Apple and others are coming to realization that they need to put the right technologies and policies in place to protect it, it’s also creating sort of this wall; that they’re gonna be able to control the data a little bit better, they’re gonna be able to control the ad networks a little bit better, and we continue to need to learn and adapt their strategy. And, you know, here’s another area, you mentioned, cookie lists. Let’s demystify another term around this. It doesn’t really mean cookie lists, it means what third-party cookies are going away – what’s the implications of that?

A Note on Marketing Jargon 

Schiff: Right? Well, just to take a step back. This major pet peeve of mine is like mushy words, people just, they hide behind jargon. I deal with a lot of that. When people are explaining their technologies to me, during the background briefing or whatever, they just gloss over stuff, they say things that, if you peel it back, they don’t really mean anything. Like, how does that actually work? How are you doing what you do? They’re like, kind of minor offenders – like, I hate when people say leverage instead of use. 

But I think it’s really symptomatic of a problem, because people are trying to make things sound more complicated than they really are. And, and then there are terms that get conflated, or that people get confused, because there are too many meanings that are tossed under one umbrella – like cookieless, which has become like an umbrella term to mean all kinds of signal loss. So, you know, loss of the IDFA on iOS, which is opt in. It’s not like Apple got rid of it, but you have to ask people for permission, so people are kind of referring to that, even though it has nothing to do with cookies. And they also, you know, sometimes seem to refer to the use of first-party cookies. But cookieless really is, just very specifically, the end of third-party cookies on Chrome and using cookieless as an umbrella term just obscures, I think, people’s understanding of how identity is changing online by just being too general. And yeah, it’s annoying.

The Cookieless Future is Now 

Sacolick: What I like about your answer is, you know, to ask the question to really understand the jargon people are using in front of you. Sometimes it’s dropped from, you know, creating a fear factor or an unknown factor intentionally. In other words, use my product because it will help you deal with X, whatever X is, right? It’s magic, it’s going to solve this problem. But the reality is, we’re talking about identity, and identity is not an easy problem to solve. It’s always historically been a hard problem to solve. I have multiple mailing addresses, I have dozens of email addresses. I go cookieless in some places, I disabled it before Chrome was preventing it, now it’s much easier to control what data is being shared, but it’s not perfect. And if you’re a marketer, you’re going to invest time and energy and dollars to do your best or can’t, because it’s kind of an incremental spend to get better and more accuracy around identity. But you also have to understand the regulations around it. That’s what I’m hearing from this conversation.

Schiff: No, definitely. And and one point I did want to make is that people are always talking about this, quote, unquote, “cookieless future,” but one, third-party cookies are still supported on Chrome, the phase out won’t start until next year, and that was already delayed, and it’s possible that Google will delay it yet again. 

And so that speaks to this cookieless future, but we really live in the present where third-party cookies aren’t available on two other major browsers that have less market share than Chrome. But third party cookies are not supported on Safari or Firefox. So if you kind of bury your head in the sand, and you know, just pretend like there’s some future that’s coming, you’re ignoring the fact that today, a lot of your users are already, you know, not third party cookie-able. And yeah, you have to really grapple with the fact that, you know, there is a trend right now toward, you know, the crackdown on cross-site tracking. And so that really should inform, you know, everybody’s, you know, to-do list. Like, if you’re going to, sorry to use kind of an annoying jargony phrase, but if you’re going to future-proof yourself, like you really have to understand the reality of what’s happening and like, get into the nuances. Otherwise, you’re going to be kind of buffeted about by people’s sales pitches, and that’s just going to waste your time.

Sacolick: Yep, I agree with that. And, you know, again, we’re talking about a hard problem to solve, you’re only going to get there incrementally. And, I tell people, I tell technologists, data people, marketers, you need to get in the weeds and really understand how some things work. And realize, you know, your dollar added to go after another variable, another dimension, another way of measuring people on different platforms. It’s hard, right? And so stay focused on the outcomes that you’re trying to get to. And, you know, that gets it to another technology area that you’ve been covering this, Apple’s attribution API, largely ignored by the tech and data providers. Now everybody has to learn it. And you described it as wonky. That’s another great word, I love that it. What’s the future of attribution on iOS look like for marketers? What does it all mean?

On Apple’s Attribution API (SKAd) 

Schiff: Well if you don’t mind, can I go back and in the past just for a second, because it feels emblematic to me of how a lot of people go about their business not necessarily planning for the future, even when they have a hint that the future is going to change. Because like you said, SKad network, which is the name, some people call it SKAD or SKAN or whatever –but it was largely ignored by mobile measurement providers. And more than ignoring it, they kind of scoffed at it. Like when the specs for the very, very first version were very quietly released back in 2018, nobody really paid attention to it other than this mobile consultant and writer named Eric Seufert. And I read his post, so then I was intrigued. And I wrote about it too. And I remember talking to mobile attribution providers at the time, and they just weren’t that bothered by it, or at least they told me they weren’t. Like they didn’t think that Apple would want to, like get his hands dirty and get involved in attribution, and they were wrong. And years went by though, to be fair, until Apple released anything, But in 2020, it became pretty much the only way to get attribution data on iOS devices for users who opt out of letting companies use their their IDFA, which is a large amount. 

I’ve read different numbers and seen different stats, but I think it’s more than 50 percent, well over fifty percent will not opt in to have their IDFA used for tracking and for measurement. And the problem is that, you know, SKAd network didn’t really work that well, it works a little better now, but I mean, they were bugs and developers barely got back any data, like optimization was really hard and like, still remains hard. It’s a pretty basic tool, even, you know, with the new additions Apple has been, which is uncharacteristic for Apple, listening to suggestions from the developer community and making tweaks so that SKAd network 4.0, which is what we’re up to, is a little less wonky and a little more useful. But I would quote, somebody that I spoke with for this explainer story we wrote about SKAd network 4.0, where he called it “no longer actively painful to use,” which is kind of beyond something with faint praise. But um, but yeah, at least the newer version is functional. And, you know, you have to use it. And you have to be, you know, basically, you have to justify your existence as a mobile measurement provider. They have to position themselves as facilitators to help developers use a SKAd network properly, because it can get a little complicated. 

Sacolick: I’ll tell you the story that reminds me, I’m going to date myself too, is when you know, we were doing web sites 10, 15 years ago, sort of had the choice of, you know, are you going to go use a site measurement tool, a Google Analytics and Omniture back in those days, or are you going to use log files and put your own JavaScript on the site and try to do it yourself? 

And we quickly realized that the complexity of trying to measure things yourself is really hard, to do it accurately, to get all the data that you want. And so you know, of course, nowadays, most of us are dropping JavaScript on our pages from one or other providers. And what you’re seeing is, the providers have to keep up with data, with regulation, with capability. And when you get into newer areas, like mobile, and harder areas, like attribution, we’re not going to go do it ourselves. A marketer is not going to ask their development team to go figure this out, you’re going to rely on a provider. But you still need to be smart about what’s happening across the ecosystem and to pressure your technology providers if that’s the direction that you need – that you need attribution data, Apple who has an API out there, maybe it’s a little bit wonky, but maybe we should tell us where it is on our on your roadmap. Does that make sense?

Schiff: Definitely. And I do think that a lot of mobile measurement providers were right, when I spoke to them back in the day when they said, yeah, we’re not going to be completely dis-intermediated. I mean, even though they kind of had their head in the sand about it, and they’re like, oh, SKAd network, what is this, whatever, Apple won’t get involved in attribution –  they were wrong about that. But they were right that their partners will continue, and developers will continue, looking to them for help and for guidance, and to demystify and explain things to them, because attribution is vitally important. 

And it really has a massive impact on how they optimize, and how they spend and where they direct their money. But it’s not the only thing that they do. They have a lot of considerations. So they do need experts to direct them and to make sure that they’re really up to date on technical things, so that they can go to the experts, the people who have made themselves experts over the past couple of years, because it was a mad scramble for advice.

OTT and CTV Marketing Trends

Sacolick: Super. So let’s shift gears, we talked about identity a little bit, now attribution. Now let’s switch to content and platforms. And you know, if we talked about content and platforms, a decade ago, maybe it was 15 years ago, we’d have been talking about the shift from web to mobile, right, the device changes, the user experience changes, how you have to create content a little bit differently. So I want to explore this evolution in two steps. First, this notion of you know, we’re moving from set top boxes to OTT and CTV, and what that means. We have a whole new area of platforms to advertise in, to create content for, to actually leverage and reach audiences with. And then let’s shift to our future where we’re going to Web3 and around the Metaverse. But let’s start with OTT and CTV. What should marketers really understand about these platforms today?

Schiff: I mean, they are a massive opportunity, but since it seems to be like a little bit of a minor theme for this podcast to talk about defining terms, there is actually a difference between OTT and NCTV. Which I think like bears, you know, like talking about just for a second. The Media Rating Council, they audit and evaluate measurement companies and they create standards for measurement for different media environments. I believe it was earlier this year they decided on some actual definitions for CTV and OTT, which often get conflated, and they’re not synonyms for each other. So, the way I understand it, CTV is any video that isn’t linear television that gets delivered onto like a TV screen. So, like a streaming device or a Smart TV, but also including lgaming consoles. And then OTT is when you know, you watch “The Handmaid’s Tale,” like on your laptop, or your phone or, or whatever. So just take that for what it’s worth. But I think it is worth knowing the difference. 

But I mean, in terms of what marketers should know about streaming, it’s obviously this massive investment opportunity for them. But what I think is interesting is that it’s actually not this unlimited opportunity that everyone seems to frame it as. I mean, there’s not unlimited, like premium CTV inventory. I mean, a lot of people watch a lot of random stuff, but people kind of fail to talk about the longtail when they’re talking about the potential of streaming. There is a ton of longtail inventory. So you might end up with some premium placements on Hulu, or you might end up on a channel with, I don’t know, videos to calm your puppy or whatever, you know, and it’s just not inherently premium. 

And measurement is also challenging. Like, if you want to be able to really analyze and track the success of performance campaigns, it’s fragmented, and it’s really hard to know if your CTV ad had an impact, or even exactly where it ran, because a lot of platforms won’t tell you, they’ll just tell you that it ran, but not what show. And, there are a lot of people you can reach with ad supported video on demand, but there are a lot of people you can’t reach because they subscribe not to see ads. But then again, look, Netflix is going to launch an ad supported tier sooner rather than later. So that’s a lot of premium inventory that’ll come onto the scene. 

But I would just advise people – what do I know, I just kind of write about whatever seems interesting to me here and there. But, my advice would be not to get the shiny object syndrome with CTV. Just take claims with a grain of salt, really think about the measurement side of things. And don’t think of it as some kind of savior, think of it as an opportunity. But you know, not like it’s galloping in on a white horse or anything. I will say though that AVOD, ad-supported video on demand, is going to be an opportunity as the recession hits, because people will want to save money, and they still will want to watch stuff, and maybe won’t have money to go out to dinner. So they’ll order in and they’ll watch Pluto TV.

Sacolick: There you go. You know, we always talk about this, when the new mediums come out, we tend to repurpose content and repurpose older business models for that medium. And, you know, streaming is just, you know, at the end of the day, it’s a pipe, but we really didn’t rediscover what that medium was until very recently. And now you’re starting to see new ad models against it, you’re seeing new business models against it, and you’re seeing new types of content being created for it. So, you know, I’ll watch a ballgame on my mobile device, and there’s content on the right side of the screens, and there’s ad placements on the bottom side of the screen while I’m watching the game. And it’s interesting that keeps me more engaged. And actually I click on more ads because of it, because it’s smarter about who I am and what I’m doing at the time. 

On Web 3.0 and the Metaverse 

So I think, you know, this is a place where creativity is going to shine a light over the next few years. I don’t think there’s going to be a winning set of answers for a little bit because it’s a pretty wide playing field. And you know, that’s going to lead to the next gen of technologies, Web3 and Metaverse are going to be creating new devices again, they’re gonna have new technologies against it. They’re gonna have new business models and new content created for it. I think you and I have somewhat similar opinions on where the technology is today. But I’ll let you share what you know, what should marketers think about. You know, somebody says, let’s go do a big campaign, or a big idea for the Metaverse – what are you thinking there?

Schiff: I mean, first, I want to solve for frequency capping on CTV. Can we do that first before we go into the Metaverse? Yeah, that’d be nice. I mean, in a weird way, I don’t really feel equipped to answer that question, because I don’t feel like anyone is equipped to answer that question. 

Like, there’s a lot of BS peddling that’s going on all this hype. And, you know, if an industry is still trying to define what the environment is – and there’s probably even going to be like multiple metaverses, and this whole concept of like interoperability, or whatever. It just seems premature to think about how you might want to be present in the metaverse. But definitely premature to really want to monetize it in a way that like other media environments are monetized. 

I went to this conference in Toronto last week, so mid-June, and there was a panel discussion on this topic. It was called Advertising in the Metaverse, and it did not answer that question, like how to advertise in the Metaverse. And that’s because you know, no one could clearly define what the metaverse is, let alone like what to advertise in it. But one of the speakers did say something which I agree with. She’s like: “I really hope it doesn’t end up just being like virtual billboards and slapping the display ads everywhere.” And I don’t think it will be, but I also don’t think it’s going to be like the “Wendyverse,” which is Wendy’s version of its restaurant with games and stuff in Horizon Worlds. Or, you know, there’s this Chipotle experience where you can wrap burritos and deliver them in Roblox. I mean, I don’t know. I’m clearly too old for this. I do know, like people, like young people. The youngs, will play Roblox for hours. And it looks primitive and basic, but it’s so interesting to them. They love it. And so I feel like a little bit of a Luddite sometimes. 

But those kinds of experiences, right, like Wendy’s in Horizon Worlds, and Chipotle in Roblox, that feels like experimentation. It’s not a Metaverse strategy. And I think it’s a little difficult to have a real Metaverse strategy. But yeah, I mean, it’s fine to mess around. But you don’t have to feel like FOMO, like everyone’s in the metaverse and like, what, what’s my strategy? Like, I don’t think you’re missing out if you don’t have a Roblox experience. So like, think about it and, you know, address it in your meetings, but you don’t have to, like rush in and create some kind of experience for your brand. It doesn’t necessarily make sense. And not everyone needs NFTs either.

Sacolick: There you go. You know, your response makes me think of my kids, because they’re on Roblox, they’re playing all these sort of simulation games, but then when you put the brand on it, right, and you think about brand, recognition, and, you know, early teen, preteen. If they’re on those devices, and they’re on those applications, they’re going to Wendy’s before somebody else just because of their presence, if they really liked the experience that brand is offering. And then I think about you know, I’m going to age myself, again, that’s sort of very quick, the web was a directory with really primitive graphics, really slow. And, maybe the 1997 experience. And then by 1999, you know, there was the equivalent of unicorns doing primitive e-commerce until the bubble burst in 2001. So, in that five-year period of time, we went from primitive experience to, I need to be there too, we’ve probably over invested in it. And, you know, the metaverse may be longer, because we may be hopefully a little bit smarter around it. The technology and the content is a little bit more complicated, after all, not just putting HTML up in a browser on a screen. So it’s gonna take a little bit longer for all of us to figure out how to put this together. And then we’re going to make the same mistakes, right, we’re going to start doing, repurposing our content for this new medium, and it’s just not going to fit the bill, and we’re going to have to evolve and learn about it. 

Data Privacy and Regulations

Sacolick: Let’s cover a couple more dimensions…Talk to me – what the latest and greatest is around regulations and privacy laws that I have to keep in the back of my mind as I’m starting to work in these different areas.

Schiff: I mean, there are two new ones. Connecticut and Utah both passed their own privacy laws, which brings state privacy laws up to five because there’s California, of course, that was the first, everyone talked a ton about CCPA, and then CPRA. There’s also Virginia and Colorado. And I mean, what I would say is that they’re not massively different from each other, even though there is nuance that you have to be aware of if you want to comply. So I am not a lawyer. That’s my disclaimer. But we published a useful column in AdExchanger in early June. It was written by two lawyers at the law firm Davis and Gilbert, and they talk about the difference between the two new laws, and also bring in examples from the three that are already on the books. Because Connecticut and Utah are not in effect yet, even though they’ve passed. And they had some words of comfort for companies that are trying to comply, which is you know, that a lot of these state laws, they follow similar patterns. So if you’ve started to get into compliance with laws in California, and Virginia, and Colorado, and you have also thought deeply and have a strategy for complying with GDPR, then you’re not going to be like super surprised what’s in Utah’s law or Connecticut’s law, like, you’ll be in a pretty good position to comply. 

But you do have to pay attention to the details. So I mean, just like one example, is the difference between what constitutes a quote unquote, “sale,” like under different statutes. You know, usually, it’s a sale of personal information that will trigger the the application of any of these laws, but they don’t all define sale exactly the same way. So, under Utah’s law, a sale is when you exchange personal data for money, some kind of monetary consideration by a data controller to a third party. So that actually might not apply to the exchange of third-party cookie data across platforms. But under the Connecticut law, which is pretty similar to Colorado, and also the laws in California, the sale includes, the definition of a sale also includes, for money or other quote unquote, “valuable consideration,” and that could include the sharing of third-party cookies. So there are so many, you know, overlapping elements, but there are also – the devils in the details, basically, that would be my takeaway,

Sacolick: The devils in the details, but I think the big takeaway is that it, you know, in the span of jurisdictions that are creating these laws is increasing. So, you know, if you operated only in the U.S., and we’re a medium-sized business, just geographically in the U.S., maybe you didn’t pay attention to GDPR very much. If you were a regional business, only operating in the northeast, maybe it didn’t pay attention to CCPA as much as you should have. And now, it’s in Connecticut, it’s in Utah, it’s in other places. And yeah, the rules are the same. But now, you’re two or three years behind your competitors that might have been putting the regulations, putting the data governance in place, building up an internal understanding of what you can and can’t do. And chances are, if it’s not in your area, it’s probably coming soon. And you’re probably going to need somebody who’s going to interface with experts to say, here’s what you should and shouldn’t do around your product or your offering when it comes into your area.

Schiff: Zeitgeist. Yeah. 

Privacy, Identity and Customer Data Platforms 

Sacolick: So let’s bring this all together, right? We’re talking again, identity, attribution, privacy, medium, all this involves customer data, right, and how we’re using it. What these platforms, customer data platforms are good for. You have an article from last year: privacy is the number one reasons why marketers say they want to partner with a customer data platform. And that’s actually surprised me, because it’s usually marketers not following a regulation to go after technology. It’s usually, I want more data to be able to do more things with. What are some of the things, why should marketers get more comfortable with the CDP category?

Schiff: What’s interesting about the data that you cited about privacy being the number one reason why people want a CDP – it’s worth understanding what Advertiser Perceptions is, they’re the ones that did the study. They’re an interesting company, because they poll advertisers, as the name denotes, on their perceptions of the market. So what marketers think is happening is not always what’s happening, or it’s like just what happens to be on their mind right then. This is actually a funny example, because a few years ago, Advertiser Perceptions, they did another CDP wave, and they found that a lot of marketers said they were using the Salesforce CDP. Salesforce had not released its CDP yet. So like that was just evidence, you know, that Salesforce has a ton of mindshare, because you can’t use a CDP that doesn’t exist yet. But yeah, I mean, privacy is the top reason why, or at least was last year why marketers want to partner with a CDP, is reflective of that challenge of keeping up with privacy regulations. And it was on their mind at the time. They’re trying to be good stewards of data. And, you know, they also want to do all of the cool things that you can do with a CDP. 

But I guess they’re realizing that you need to really understand what you have in your data stores and get a really good sense of identity before you can do those things. And, you know, if you can do those things, all of those things with a CDP, maybe it makes sense to have just one partner as opposed to you know, like a confusing stack. I mean, it really doesn’t mean that privacy is the only reason they want to partner with a CDP. It’s just this foundational reason, and once you get your data house in order, you can do all that other stuff like segmentation and activation. And, you know, do it through one kind of pipe.

Sacolick: Yeah, I think what’s interesting that you bring up where the question came from. You know, a lot of marketers, I keep teasing this out, and you ask him a question like, where do you store your customer data, they say their CRM. And because that’s going to be the primary source of where they go look up a customer and where they go look up an account. They’re not thinking about all the tentacles, that their data and technology people know that, you know, there’s 100, 200, SaaS platforms, all collecting data, or all doing activations on it. And as you get smarter and say, look, I want to do more of this stuff, then you become acclimated in saying, okay, I need platforms to help me do this, and I know, privacy is really important. So if I’m going to bring my customer data together, I want to be able to manage it in a compliant way. So this has been really great. Allison, I want to ask you one last question. I’ve asked everybody who’s participated in Customer Data Perspective, what’s your easier button? Right, everything is hard. You know, we dream bigger than we can execute, we plan more things than we can execute, you know, What’s your wish list for an easier button, and gaining a competitive advantage with customer data?

What is your ‘Easier Button’ for Marketing?

Schiff: I want a BS detector for supposedly cookieless solutions, like truth serum that makes the people who sell those solutions explain them properly, and not obscure what they really do. And I mean, that way, I mean, that would help me do my job. Because I get pitched constantly with all of these companies saying they have really amazing tools and whatever. And I’m not a practitioner, I just write about this stuff. And I try my best to understand it. So it would, it would would help my coverage if I could really understand who was legit and had useful offerings. And then it would help marketers because they could run tests with companies that also have legit solutions and not get sidetracked by nonsensical promises and pitches.

Sacolick: So that’s a theme of our discussion today. Keep it jargon free. Tell us what you do. And if you don’t understand it, as a buyer, ask detailed questions until you do understand it. Allison, this has been a great conversation. We’ve packed together a lot of different topics that I think marketers are all facing. And, you know, I look forward to listening to this Customer Data Perspectives episode. Have a great day. 

Schiff: Thanks for having me. 

Sacolick: Thanks, everybody. Enjoy this episode of customer data perspectives, and we’ll see you at the next episode.

Want more Customer Data Perspectives? Check out our latest episodes here.

Isaac Sacolick
Isaac Sacolick
Isaac Sacolick is the President of StarCIO, where he guides clients on succeeding with data and technology while executing smarter, faster, safer, and more innovative transformation programs. Isaac is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology, and has written over seven hundred articles as a contributing editor at InfoWorld, Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other publications.
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