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Tealium has been featured in The Relevancy Ring’s 2018 CDP Buyer’s Guide – a report that details the aspirations and hurdles that marketers face, an in-depth analysis of six enterprise-class Customer Data Platforms (CDP) and the most desirable vendor features and attributes.

We’re excited to share that Tealium received the highest overall score, ranked the highest in “Integrated Customer View Completeness” and won The Relevancy Ring Client Satisfaction Gold Award for Product Innovation and Account Management. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Matt Parisi, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Tealium, to hear his insights on these wins, inclusion in the guide and how Tealium’s CDP stands out in the space.

Q: Tealium won The Relevancy Ring Client Satisfaction Gold Award for Product Innovation. How is Tealium constantly evaluating what their customer wants and needs are and refreshing and invigorating your solution to achieve that?

A: At a high level it comes down to having a consistent philosophy, or approach to the challenges in the market, that stands the test of time and reflects your belief of where the market is headed. This serves as a litmus test for any product enhancement, whether that be related to a product feature, an entirely new product, a service, documentation, etc. Then, I’d say there’s probably 3 major inputs for items that will get measured against that litmus test.

#1, our customers and partners. This could be direct customer requests, this could be insights from product usage, this could be feedback from consultancies or agencies, this could even be ideas our account management team has based on their knowledge of our customers and how their needs intersect with our products. However, it’s important that we’re not limited to only this source of ideas. As Henry Ford famously stated when building the first automobiles, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Which brings me to #2, our own innovation. The people we have working here have been working with data for a long, long time. Working with data has taken various forms over the years, but it’s always been about that underlying data. We’ve directly seen the trends, know the technology, and know the business. Not from reading about it, but directly from doing it and learning. We’ve been granted numerous patents over the years, not only the company but our engineers themselves. And the awards we’ve won speak for themselves.

And finally, #3, I’d say is the market at large. Partners again, consultants and analysts, other technologies, etc. You can’t be overly dependent on any one of these sources of information, especially this particular category of input (market at large), but it has to be part of the consideration.

Q: Tealium also won The Relevancy Ring Client Satisfaction Gold Award for Account Management. How does Tealium serve their client base at the highest level? What are you doing that sets you apart from other vendors?

A: Again, it’s a combination of things. The 3 Ps— People, Process, and Product— are huge here.

It starts with our people. We certainly hire unbelievable professionals. I’d stack our account managers, their knowledge, and their approach, against any company out there.

Then, process-wise, the company puts its money where its mouth is. Our overarching goal is to empower the customer (as opposed to driving services) and we have an entire customer success department and program that delivers on this. In addition to our very knowledgeable, friendly, and effective Account Management team, we have a whole team of Digital Strategists, offering a level of service and expertise I’ve never seen from another vendor. And our deployment and education teams (which we also won an award for) are second to none.

Our CTO and co-founder actually oversees our customer success teams, which underscores the fact that we consider our customer success program to be part of our product. It’s not under the Sales or Revenue departments as is commonly the case in SaaS companies. We want our customers to be self-sufficient, but be there when we’re needed. This contrasts with other solutions that aren’t as self-service on one end of the spectrum, or maybe have really limited service offerings on the other end. I think we strike the right balance.

And lastly, product. People and process can’t cover everything. Both need to be empowered with tools that ultimately deliver on that promise.

Q: Let’s start at the beginning. The Buyer’s Guide says that the CDP term itself was coined in 2013 and the past 18 months have shown that marketers and vendors are continuing to see the value the platform brings to their martech stacks. When did Tealium first create our CDP, AudienceStream, and is it true we were the pioneers in the space, being the first to bring the solution to market? How did Tealium know this would be such a need for brands everywhere?

A: We announced the release of AudienceStream in 2013 and it won the “Best New Technology” Award from the Digital Analytics Association back in 2014. The phrase “customer data platform” back then was rarely used and when it was used it was more as a descriptive phrase than as a tech category name. We were simply trying to describe what the product did. We actually worked with David Raab before he founded the Customer Data Platform Institute (along with Tealium as a founding member) to get more awareness out there.

As I mentioned earlier, we have a very mature way of identifying how best to evolve our product based on input from our customers, partners, internal team, and then the market at large. Then we consider how those inputs line up against our guiding principles.

From the very beginning, Tealium was building tools to manage customer data. Data is how companies can become customer-centric. It just so happened that in the early days, this was largely done through tags. As the center, or hub, of our client’s customer data collection via our Tealium iQ Tag Management system, it was a natural product evolution to build value on top of that position within our customer’s tech stacks. Because we were the central point where data was flowing, we were in a really advantageous position to start connecting the data dots, so to speak. And that’s how AudienceStream was born.

Q: The Relevancy Group defines Customer Data Platforms as data management solutions that enable a view of the customer that is holistic, integrated and persistent. Does Tealium’s CDP fit this description? How so?

A: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll break down each word as I would think of it in relation to our products.

First, “Holistic.” To me, that means a customer view that cuts across customer teams, tools, and touchpoints. It’s not a view for marketing or a view for the customer service department, but rather one view, used by the whole organization. This means that it should include the broadest possible collection of integrations across the customer data landscape— so bringing in data from websites, analytics tools, mobile apps, customer service systems, email, ads…it goes on and on. Across the entire customer journey too, from anonymous prospect to loyal customer. This is hard to do, that’s a lot of data, in a lot of different forms…and it’s ultimately a lot of integrations to maintain.

Second, “Integrated.” This has a few elements to it. Number one, you’ve got to bring the data in. This is where Tealium iQ is a huge differentiator…there’s not a better option on the market to get quality data in. Then, based on this data being holistic as we just discussed, there’s a diverse amount of data that needs to be standardized. If the same data is called something different in every system, you can’t really use it or analyze it effectively.

Once the data is standardized, then it can be unified, which is another way of thinking of the customer view being “integrated,” in that all these various views of the customer by tool or touchpoint or team are brought together. And lastly, the data needs to be sent back out. Depending on the destination system, that means you may need the data at the event-level or maybe you need it at the customer-level (which CDPs can give), and you also need to think about delivering the data client-side or server-side. EventStream adds this flexibility when used to deliver data in combination with TiQ. Our customers really value this flexibility.

Third, “Persistent.” This speaks to the fact that the view of the customer needs to exist over time. My view of a customer based on 60 seconds of time is a whole lot different than one based on an entire year of engagement. Customers have high expectations for consistent experiences across channels, yet they’re also very sensitive (rightly so) about the use of their data in “creepy” ways. So, ultimately “persistent” means the ability to have a view of the customer that exists over time, and hopefully, you’re doing it in a trustworthy, secure and privacy-conscious way.

Q: 43% of marketers say the top benefit of deploying a CDP is better access to valuable customer data. Does AudienceStream have the capability to provide multiple teams within an organization with the ability to see better data?

A: Oh most definitely. This is one of the challenges we’re most focused on, but it means you need to have features built to support this, which in combination with all the other features we’ve already talked about is hard to do. The only way customers can be delivered an experience that meets or exceeds expectations (now and in the future) is through data. But different teams have different metrics, different priorities, and different needs.

The data is how that gap is bridged, which means its very important how the data flows through an organization. It’s not good enough to just hire smart people or trust that people are going to follow some process religiously. Tools must be part of the solution making sure the whole organization, #1 has access to the same data and, #2 can use that data as needed.

Q: The power of the CDP lies in being able to drive positive customer experiences. This is because CDP’s are known to individualize email personalization, increase opportunities for addressable advertising, provide real-time targeting, and optimize the customer experience. Which of these key tactics does Tealium’s solutions employ? Some? All?

A:  All of them. When it comes to using data, the Tealium Customer Data Hub basically is only limited by the imagination of the person using it.

Q: 53% of marketers who have a CDP are using it for real-time targeting, do you have any specific examples or use cases of how Tealium is helping to keep up with the speed of incoming data so brands are able to take action on it in a meaningful way?

A: There are a lot of examples. Some are more traditional, like identifying a high-value customer on the website in order to take proactive steps to provide a more tailored experience, whether that’s website personalization, cart abandonment programs, maybe even informing a chatbot experience. And some examples are more emerging like we’ve been using beacons at our conferences to collect data and then subsequently do everything from personalizing the mobile app experience, analyze, and optimize attendee flow, even personalizing the dance floor with lighting and music.

Q: Of the many benefits a CDP has, being able to integrate with a plethora of other available solutions is definitely top of the list. What integrations, if any, does Tealium support? Are they all custom or readily available at a moments notice for customers?

A: You won’t find Tealium’s breadth, depth, and diversity of customer data integrations anywhere else. First off, data can be collected and delivered client-side, through things like tags, pixels, SDKs in some instances, or server-side through APIs and certain code libraries. Some systems work with event-level data like clicks, page views, calls, etc. And some work with customer-level data like email address, lifetime value, loyalty ID, etc. Not only is there complexity from that diversity of data, but there’s quite simply a massive amount of vendors across a large number of tech categories. Tealium also has both pre-built, turnkey integrations ready for plug and play, in addition to more customizable means of integrating through webhooks and custom code.

Q: 61% of survey respondents in this guide cite data security and control as a top consideration when selecting a CDP. Since this topic is critical for all martech professionals, especially in today’s GDPR world – how does Tealium’s CDP help ensure data governance, privacy, and control with customer data?

A: We work with a lot of demanding enterprises. From that experience, we have built really robust data governance functionality. We have advanced tools for user management, managing environments, change management, etc. We were the first HIPAA compliant solution out there and we have numerous other certifications as well proving our commitment to security and privacy.

Q: Tealium scored a 5 out of 5 for “Integrated Customer View Completeness”, showing a best in class solution. What does this specifically mean for a customer view? How does Tealium achieve this and why will it matter to a brand evaluating a CDP?

A: You can only act on the data you have. Tealium’s integration marketplace is unmatched. I don’t know that there’s another solution out there with even 20% of the integrations we have. That means our customers have an unrivaled capability to not only analyze data from anywhere but also act on it.

Q: The Tealium customers that The Relevancy Ring team spoke to stated that Tealium was an important partner and vital to the success of their organization. What type of customers does Tealium have? What type of industries do you serve?

A: We have a really diverse set of clients. That’s because the value of data is universal across industries. It makes our jobs challenging and fun. We focus on Retail/E-commerce, Financial/Insurance, Media/Publishing, Travel/Hospitality, B2B, and Healthcare. Sometimes, depending on whose list of verticals, we also work a lot with Tech companies, but those exist in each one of the previously listed verticals.

Q: Thank you, Matt, for taking the time to sit with me and talk about Tealium’s inclusion in the Relevancy Ring’s 2018 CDP Buyer’s Guide. Where can our readers download the full report so they can have all of this important information at their fingertips when evaluating CDP vendors?

A: You can always contact us and we can help out. Or you can find the report for free on our website.

Thank you Matt!

Post Author

Julie Graham
Julie is the Senior Field Demand Generation Manager at Tealium

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