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Tips on how to use your data for better engagement and conversions by Phillip Davis

  • When you improve engagement you also improve your reputation which happens with a combination of clean and complete data.
  • Make sure you have clean data and make sure you have the information you need to understand who the user is behind that email address, so you can take better action and meet your user’s needs.
  • It’s age, gender, location, marital status, the presence of children, homeowner status, and income. Those are universally useful across channels.
  • If you’re sending me over a file that represents emails that you’ve collected over the last 20 years, obviously the metrics will suffer a little.
  • The Holy Grail is personalization. And so the idea is that every single person will get a tailored email or a tailored experience when they walk into a store or a tailored postcard or a tailored experience on your website based on the uniqueness of their data.
  • One of the biggest marketing mistakes is not using the technology you have in-house to its full potential.
  • Measuring and establishing benchmark KPIs is probably one of the most important things a marketer could do.
  • Fill your data holes in and then you can go cross channel and so if they have an email list, let’s get them a postal list because you know what’s fascinating? Direct mail converts.
  • It’s like every relationship, it’s the dance you do when you date. There’s kind of a pacing and a right sequence to engagement takes place so don’t try to go too far too fast. With the data, use it for understanding and just be appropriate with that use.
  • Stay true to the voice of your brand. And if you don’t know what the voice of your brand is, go figure that out. 

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When you improve engagement you also improve your reputation which happens with a combination of clean and complete data.

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Doug: Well, welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing, Real Fast. Today, I’ve got a special treat for you. The guest joining us in studio today is going to share some really great information. If you have an email list, or you have a direct mail list, or you have a telemarketing list, Phillip is going to share how you can enhance that data to have a deeper, more engaged relationship and conversation with your clients, prospects, and subscribers.

Doug: Phillip comes from a company called Tower Data, a company that I’m quite familiar with. He has been a data industry veteran for years. He is the Chief Business Officer for Tower Data, and he’s held several high-ranking positions at other well-known players, such as CEO of RapLeaf, a division of LiveRamp, and the President of ConsumerBase where he ran its data division and their digital agency. And he’s also worked with SVPMD, which is a newly-formed online division of EquiFax. But before that, Phillip was part of the management team that took Daily [Dalien 00:01:08] Technologies public. He’s an exceptional, energetic, and personable guest. I’m sure you’ll hear that as we carry on our conversation.

Doug: Phillip really helps his clients identify better and more efficient ways to engage their prospects, or in this case, your prospects and my prospects and customers. And he holds a B.S. from the Vanderbilt University. I’m super, super excited today to have this conversation on how we can leverage the knowledge and the technology and data from Phillip’s company to further enhance our existing databases to get better engagement and higher conversions.

Doug: Enough of that, and let’s get to the main show. Welcome, Phillip, to the Real Marketing, Real Fast podcast. I’m super excited to have you in the studio today, Phillip, so thanks for joining us.

Phillip: You’re welcome. My pleasure, Doug.

Doug: Why don’t you give our listeners just a little bit of background on who you are and what you do with Tower Data.

Phillip: Sure. I’m the Chief Business Officer for Tower Data. It’s kind of a made-up title, maybe, and it means that I handle sales and marketing, and I do a lot of work with figuring out what our future products should be. I’ve been in the email marketing space for a little over 20 years. I ran a digital agency. I was part of the early team of Rapleaf and LiveRamp, and so I have a number of experiences. But basically what I focus on is helping our customers do a better job of getting what they need in terms of data to have great engagement and interactions with their customers.

Doug: As it relates maybe to email because email seems to be on this uptick right now, people are realizing that “Hey, social is great, but we’re not getting conversion,” or, “We’re getting our accounts suspended,” or there are restrictions. They’re going, “Hey, email maybe is a good thing.” How can you help a marketer who has an email database to get a better ROI from what they’ve already got?

Phillip: Sure, absolutely. There are a couple of things. One is, you want to make sure that they have clean data, and number two, you want to make sure that they have the information that they need to understand who the user is behind that email address so that they can take better action and meet that user’s needs. We do email hygiene. We look at an email address that is collected. We can do it in real time or in batch, and we make certain that that is a good, deliverable email. Once that’s done, we can also then help a marketer get the data they need. They can pass us an email address, and we can give them demographic information, household information, we can give them behavioral data so that they could really do a better job of understanding the user behind that email.

Phillip: Most of our clients, there’s about seven fields that I have been … I’ve been doing email marketing a long time that I would sort of say of what your Holy Grail of what you should have. It’s age, gender, location, marital status, the presence of children, homeowner status, and income. Those are universally useful across channels.

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When you improve engagement you also improve your reputation which happens with a combination of clean and complete data.

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Doug: I also know, by having worked with one of your partner companies and being very familiar with your site, that you also offer things like the value of the home. So now you’re getting an idea of, like you said, or are they a homeowner? What’s the value of their home? You can add the zip code, so we can use it for maybe direct marketing targeting if we’re doing DM as well using third party data.

Phillip: Well, and even further. We help our clients with identity matching, so we can connect identities across various channels. If you are a marketer and you have a list of postal addresses and you want to be able to reach them in an email, or you want to be able to use that email to reach them in social, we can append a permission-based deliverable email to that postal address. If you have an email and you want to reach them in direct mail, we can go the other way around and give them a full postal. And we do have, we can give you first name, last name, full postal, zip plus four. That zip plus four is super-powerful for a modeling perspective.

Phillip: Additionally, we can go from a mobile ID to any of those fields. And then we can also go from a website visitor that you don’t recognize any of those identities.

Doug: So can you give us a little bit of an idea of what that looks like? Let’s say for example I’ve got a list, and I’ve got the first name and maybe just an email address, and I want to append that additional data. Just kind of walk us through the process of, what does that look like, and what should I expect? I know that it depends, often, on where you collected the data. But what should I expect for a match?

Phillip: Yeah, sure. It really depends mostly on the age of the data, right? So if you’re sending me over a file that represents emails that you’ve collected over the last 20 years, obviously the metrics will suffer a little. But if it’s a traditional file, you can deliver that data in multiple ways. We can upload it to secure FTP. We have an instant data platform, where you could actually upload the record on your own into an instant data platform, select the fields you want. You could do it through a real-time API, so as you’re collecting emails you could then add these other fields.

Phillip: So if you want just an address, we could add to those emails a first name, last name, full address, and zip plus four. You’re going to see roughly between a 40 to 60% match rate on those records. In terms of turnaround time, obviously the real-time one at a time, it happens in under a second. In a file, most of our clients we can turn around files within minutes to hours. It’s a very, very rapid opportunity.

Doug: While I enjoy the technical side, I think what we would probably do is I should probably switch off of this because I could have this conversation with you all day long because I love the ability to add data in segments. Can you share with our listeners an example or two of somebody that you’ve walked through this process, and what it meant to their bottom line, and how it improved their ROI?

Phillip: Absolutely. I’ll give two examples, one not super … one’s going to be a little more tech-heavy because it’s so interesting. The other that maybe is less tech-heavy. We worked with … the genesis for this product was the work we did with one of the big daily deal companies. They struggled because they had one-offer at first. Basically, they were either offering some type of spa service, whether it was a massage, pedicure, manicure. They were sending an offer no matter what email they collected because they just got an email, they knew nothing about it. We worked with them to just append a couple of fields. Just a simple test and that was gender and marital status. So now they knew if you were a male or a female, that you were married or single. They realized their copy was always written to speak to a woman. They didn’t write copy for men, and they didn’t write copy separately whether you were single or married.

Phillip: They started to write copy, different copy, and they were good at writing kind of tongue-in-cheek, fun copy. When they realized you were a married man it was, “Hey, you may or may not want a manicure. However, we know someone who you love dearly that might be very interested in it. Maybe next time you’re in the doghouse, you should be ready with this certificate. Oh and, by the way, look at your own nails. She has too, also.” The conversion … they literally, they had 100 X improvement on conversion of that segment.

Doug: Okay, let’s stop for a sec. I just want our listeners to make sure they heard you. So 100 times better conversion.

Phillip: With the caveat that their conversion was so bad beforehand that some incremental gain. But still, they turned a segment of their list that didn’t perform into a segment that could perform without changing anything but the copy.

Doug: That’s amazing because we’re taught as marketers and the research keeps pushing us to, you know, originally it was they don’t do double opt-in because you drop, you lose people and now the movement for compliance and all the changes in the industry everybody’s using double opt-in but we’re still in a lot of cases collecting only a first name and an email and often the first name that people put in might be a couple of letters so we’re still addressing people wrong by not having that accurate data.

Phillip: Right. Absolutely, absolutely. And then not being able to contextualize the experience they had with your brand.

Doug: I was thinking as you are saying that I’m thinking so, what’s the big deal and when you started saying yeah, it’s a daily deal and it’s women versus men and married, not married, I’m thinking well of course, that makes a ton of sense because the offers are not the same.

Phillip: Right, absolutely. So ideally, they could then also direct the sales team to go out and get offers that meet the segment because now they’ve segmented the list and said hey, the segment, maybe they’re going to convert on something else and they can to the merchant we have X number of men between this age and they weren’t able to do that before so that is the secondary benefit of getting the data was then they were able to go out and find offers.

Doug: And then the other thing obviously, is that comes that’s kind of a win, win, win is now you’ve got better data so now you’ve got a more responsive offer and a more responsive offer is going to translate into less unsubscribes and more opens and better deliverability.

Phillip: Oh, I mean, that’s the entire notion of better engagement. We improve your engagement you also then improve your reputation and it all falls into place and that’s what we’re trying to help, ultimately help our customers do between a combination of clean data and complete data.

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When you improve engagement you also improve your reputation which happens with a combination of clean and complete data.

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Doug: And at the end of the day you have more money which is a good thing too.

Phillip: Yeah, that is a good thing. Absolutely, absolutely. Let me give you Doug, the second example because I want to bring you two more current, so what’s happened is that technology keeps getting so much better at managing and taking in data and making use of it so we partner with another company that takes our data and they marry it with purchase data from Magento. So we’re talking about a lot of small merchants, small retailers that need to compete with the big giant retailers so what we do is make them as smart or smarter than Amazon and they take the purchase information and they marry it with demographic and household data and put it into a predictive engine that then sends out the next offer.

Phillip: And when they have data to marry with purchase data as opposed to sending out based on the purchase data alone they get a 7 to 10 X improvement in the conversion rates.

Doug: So just so I understand so when you’re saying marrying purchase data you’re talking about the retailer, so the small retailer has some purchase data and some basic data.

Phillip: Yeah, so they’re actually tapping more into real-time. So someone just makes a purchase, they bring the data in from Magento, so they’ll bring in this is an email and they just bought high heel shoes and then what we’re able to do is add to that email demographic and household information to contextualize the experience better. And now they can put an offer. So they might see that the person that just bought the shoes is on a lower scale in income, might be a bargain hunter, is looking for deals but still the right offer or it might be very high net worth is looking for high-value, long-lasting products.

Phillip: And this engine crunches it, the data fast and takes action.

Doug: It gives you a view into what the potential lifetime value of a customer is because obviously, when a customer … If when I walk into a store, so especially if I’m traveling, so I’m traveling somewhere in the US, I walk into the store and buy something. You have no idea, like you said, why I bought it, you just know that this person with this credit card bought X for this much money.

Phillip: Right.

Doug: So you don’t know whether I have the ability to, you know, if I’ve gone into John Laub in New York and I bought a pair of shoes and their $800 you don’t know whether that’s my entire shoe budget for the year or I’m likely to buy a pair of those every month.

Phillip: Exactly. Exactly and so from it could include frequency models, how often should they communicate with you in terms of what kind of offers they should also provide for you, in terms of what should go in at the bottom, how they should stack if they do multiple offers. 

Phillip: Political campaigns are getting great at this as an example. That’s what drove the way that they raise money typically is they want you to opt into auto donate off an email and then there are algorithms that will determine what are the three choices they’re going to give you at the bottom. And those algorithms will come from data like ours.

Doug: Well I think the other thing is for some of our listeners may be thinking oh, it’s kind of big brother-ish. Your data is already out there, so we’re not … People in your case, you’re not taking data that people haven’t willingly shared and you’re making, I think you’re making the buying experience better. I would rather have an offer that suits me than an irrelevant offer.

Phillip: Absolutely, if you think about even your browser experience, if you clear your cookies you’re going to get the most irrelevant ads that have nothing to do with you. Basically, if I clear my cookies suddenly I get a lot of dating sites because that’s one of the … Dating sites and cell phone offers. I’ve been married for 30 years and I’ve got a fantastic phone. So I don’t need either of those.

Doug: Yeah, we used to say that we get ads for email ads anyhow for financing for a household to buy a house, and I have a house and for Viagra. I’m thinking I hope this is not targeted. I hope this is just pure random stuff. That’s really interesting.

Phillip: Yep, absolutely, and just so you know one of the most important things that we do is we provide for a both safe, secure and compliant process for allowing our clients to get the data so everything in our data falls back to the terms and conditions of what has been allowed for us to use the data for and so when we build product we talk about safe, secure and compliant. Always.

Doug: So how does the predictive engine work. So from a … let’s take a retailer. We have a shoe store and it’s not a chain or franchise and they’ve got some data in their system so they probably, you know, if their in-store purchases are not selling online, they won’t have addresses and so they’ve got some kind of CRM or some kind of backend system that they’re housing the state in so how do they take advantage of taking this extra data that comes from Magento and through this predictive engine to be able to send them an offer, what does that look like from the store owners to do list?

Phillip: Yeah, yeah, yeah, so in this example, the Magento data is the store owner’s data and so what typically happens is Magento already has built in what’s called API’s, think of those as just pipes that easily move data. And so that data easily moves from Magento to wherever they want it to go which could be some centralized data management platform. What they then need to do is to fill in the holes so they will hook up to the Tower Data API’s, so they’re basically going to get a Tower Data hose that hooks in and they’re going to look at what’s available and we allow you to enable an API key for whatever field you want.

Phillip: So there isn’t this requirement you’ve got to take all of the data, you take what helps you improve your conversions. And in that data comes into the … back into the database and all of it will be stored against a unique identifier so that there is an ID for the user and then their data sits in the field and then if they’re taking advantage of some sort of engine that crunches data, the engine will then pull all the data they need.

Doug: So I’ve got a couple of maybe off-topic, not topic questions but maybe just a different direction. So when you’re appending data such as phone numbers are you getting landlines, are you getting cell phones, or are you getting both?

Phillip: So we do very little phones and I’m probably less than an expert in that but traditionally, the traditional providers were delivering landlines and they’re harder and harder to get and combine and there’s less of them.

Doug: Right, that’s what I was thinking.

Phillip: It’s a harder, more difficult process than it would be if we were going back when I first got into this kind of space almost 20 years ago, new connects and landlines were pretty readily available.

Doug: Sure, that’s what I’m thinking, who has a landline anymore?

Phillip: And people who are getting their first apartments now and their first homes aren’t putting in landlines. So that’s shrinking and actually there are still call centers that have great demand, we played more in the digital and email marketing folks. Think of us as the more text side of the house where people are want to message specifically to an individual as opposed to an ad tech where people are messaging to audiences that look similar.

Doug: So what you’re saying is that once this is all connected really there is no user intervention, the system runs. You pick the data that you need to have to enhance your relationship with your customers and subscribers and while you’re sleeping or while you’re doing whatever you’re doing it just automatically updates your system for you.

Phillip: From a data perspective, absolutely, it automates updates. Now there are … Our clients have a varying degree of sophistication and so what I want to make sure that your audience understands is that whether you’re a fortune 100 company or your small you can still take advantage of all of this stuff. It’s just how you take action can be a little differently. So the Holy Grail is this notion of personalization. And so the idea is that every single person will get a tailored email or a tailored experience when they walk into a store or a tailored postcard or a tailored experience on your website based on the uniqueness of their data and this engine crunches that and makes these decisions.

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When you improve engagement you also improve your reputation which happens with a combination of clean and complete data.

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Phillip: And too many marketers this sounds like remarkably overwhelming and they’re probably hyperventilating just as we speak. And so what I would say to those marketers is understand the tools that you have and understand that personalization is the endgame but it’s the journey too if you don’t start there so if you’re a small shop start simple. Start with finding the three or four fields that you think can make a huge difference for you and it’s okay to segment. Because when you send everyone the same message you lose a portion of your audience and so people say AB test, see what performs best.

Phillip: But what if your AB test is 51% to 49%, are you going to give 49% of the people a bad experience? AB testing is old and dead. Learn how to give everybody a good experience, so you segment and maybe you’ve got to segment into three segments or four segments or 10 segments. But I would say is use the data if you’re smaller to initially create a few different segments and then build trigger messages associated with each segment or persona if you will. And then you can get started your way towards personalization that way.

Phillip: So it doesn’t have to be tech-heavy but it certainly is wonderful if the technology’s great.

Doug: So do you guys work with the primary CRM’s out there? I’m assuming with your API people can hook into.

Phillip: Yeah, we work with a lot of email service providers that house a CRM and then we’re starting to work with what I would say the new acronym which is the CDP, the customer data platforms? And we’re starting to plug in there also.

Doug: So that way listeners if you’re using a company like hub spot or like an infusion soft or like drip or like active campaign, like you’re saying this will just plug in so you’re not going to physically see anything other than this more information, better data and the ability to customize like you said and build trigger messages to respond to people.

Phillip: And that’s what’s kind of exciting so 10 years ago, while in 2010 when I launched this product associated with just giving you the data, clients have this insatiable need for data but they didn’t know how to take action on it. Their ESP couldn’t do it, they just didn’t have the engine to crunch the data in real time and take action. And now, it’s flipping, there are so many great tools out there. So look closely at your ad stack and look at the capabilities of what you already have.

Phillip: Most I would say, one of the things you and I talked about potentially would be what are my marketing mistakes. One of the biggest marketing mistakes is not using the technology you have in-house to its full potential. Most of us use 20% of it. Think of Excel, what percent of Excel do you use? I’m pretty good I probably use 40%. Imagine that with all of your investments, it’s like … get good at them.

Doug: You’re so right. I work with all these different companies and they have all these tools so they’ve got a CRM and they’re using lead pages, they’re using click funnels, they’re using whatever at the front end and the reality is they barely, they’re barely using, I would say that 10% would be generous and I still get irrelevant offers. So what I thought I would do to give a real-life example is I just pulled up in my email box while we were chatting and I got an email from a brand that I purchased from before called Tory Burch.

Doug: It’s a brand my wife likes and I got introduced to Tory Burch through a joint venture with Fitbit. So they made a really nice watch looking a piece of jewelry where she could put her Fitbit piece in and that way when you go out you don’t have a big Fitbit on your arm. I just received an email from them and all it is a big, huge image that says Starts Now – Private Sale. And I scrolled to the bottom and it talks about free shipping but only valid in the US. Well, clearly I’m in Canada. You already know that because you have my credit card information because I purchased from you before and didn’t even make an effort to say hey Doug, it’s just a blatant offer. So there is an example of somebody who has more data and they’re just … I like the brand, we still buy the brand but their marketing in terms of personalization that’s a fail.

Phillip: That would be absolutely and it’s amazing because they’re so many different places to personalize. That simply could be one piece of widget that their ESP probably already has prebuilt that allows them to say suppress if outside the US or change the free shipping, take the free shipping in the US off of this email. It’s a really simple, simple … And there ESP probably does it for them. And they’ve done it.

Phillip: It’s funny, so I was working with a very large woman’s retailer and I’m not allowed to name it because in the contract it says we’re not allowed to name them but we sat down and they said to us only young women buy clothes online. And their definition of young women was different than my definition of young women may be because I’m 50, 52.

Phillip: So they’re like women over 35 do not buy online, they only buy in the store. And I was like wait for a second, where are you getting this stat. Well, from our experience. We only convert with young women. I said, well then you have a massive opportunity to get improvement. And they showed me their emails and basically, they sent everybody in their database the exact same email. One day it was 30% off, one day it was 40% off, one day it was 50% in-store. That was the nature of their thing they just changed the call to action.

Phillip: They sold what I would say professional to casual clothes and when I looked at their email every image was a 17 to a 20-year-old model who was probably a size 0.

Doug: Of course, because that’s what the world looked like.

Phillip: Right. And I said well, you are converting with people who look like your models, they’re the same age as your models, they relate to your models. They’re looking at those images because you have very little text, but they’re looking at the image and my hypothesis is they’re looking at the image and they’re saying oh, yeah, those clothes work for me, that’s the right age.

Doug: That looks like me, yeah.

Phillip: And someone who is 40 is looking at them and saying, wow, those models look like my daughter and ignored your email. Well, we appended age to their data, that’s it, age. And they put age-appropriate pictures in the campaign and had a significant increase in their over 35 orders, just from the image. Now it also makes sense because it’s getting the image right in mobile is very important. And they convert very well on mobile so I wasn’t surprised but that supported, it was one field they invested in.

Doug: I’ve been surprised sometimes when we’ve been working with somebody, a client and not talking specifically about their email but just even going to Google Analytics and looking at who their website visitors are and finding that there is this big gap, so I asked the clients who is your customer avatar, who are the people that you like to work with, who are the people that are easy to work with, who are the people that are most profitable? And we go through this list of questions and then we get into some of the demographics and you plug Google analytics, we’re going like … It’s mostly men who are looking at your site and they’re this age, they’re going no, it’s like, that’s the fact.

Doug: So they’re clearly missing even at the website level before you get into the email that a lot of that data’s available if you’ll just take into your analytics and take a look.

Phillip: Exactly and so measuring, establishing benchmark KPIs will allow you to do that and that’s probably one of the most important things a marketer could also do is just get a benchmark. I heard people say well, what should my click rate be? I said, well, what is it? And they said I don’t know. I said great, start measuring it. The first thing you do is get a benchmark and then look to improve. Don’t worry about what the average click rate is in the industry for click rates, it’s irrelevant.

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When you improve engagement you also improve your reputation which happens with a combination of clean and complete data.

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Doug: Yeah, I get that question all the time. So if I run an email campaign because I rent a lot of third-party data from big publishers. So if I run a big email campaign what’s my click-through rate going to be? What’s the average? The average goes from 2% to my own house list that goes up to 74%. So pick something in the middle.

Phillip: Right, exactly. Exactly.

Doug: So what’s a quick win that somebody could take away. So for our audience that’s going okay, this sounds really cool, I built a database of I don’t know, 15, 20,000, 50,000 names and I really want to wrap it up and juice up my sales this year. What’s the first thing they can do to make a major impact.

Phillip: Fill your data holes in. I would say there are two different directions they can go. They can go cross channel and so if they have an email list, let’s get them a postal list because you know what’s fascinating? Direct mail converts.

Doug: Yeah, I love direct mail. It’s funny I wrote an email book and people go do you do direct mail, I said absolutely, they said why? I said because it works.

Phillip: Right, not only does it work but it’s gotten better so we work with companies like Loeb or Pebble Post as an example but Loeb is a great example that you could send over the data in real time and they could do a more personalized graphic. It’s tremendous. So one thing look at your opportunities for across the channel and two, make sure you have the data you need to better engage with your customer whether your small or big you should know about your email that you could … Like when someone walks into your shop you make assumptions, right? Man, woman, age, right?

Phillip: If you’re selling clothes you make some quick assumptions and you kind of direct them. Well, you should be able to get enough data on that email so you could be able to make some of the same assumptions. So I think that’s one quick tip. Do any of your listeners have really massive lists?

Doug: Yeah, I host some data for some of my clients so we’ve got lists that are in the half a million names and we’ve got some that are past the million.

Phillip: Got it. So I would say the quick win for big, big lists is you probably keep getting better, your clients probably keep getting better at email marketing, right? They’re probably better today than they were a year ago [crosstalk 00:31:23] two years ago, and much better than they were three years ago. So there is a lot of email sitting in their unengaged file that had they been better with them they wouldn’t have been unengaged. I would look at that list because it’s expensive to get new ones. Take a look at that list.

Phillip: We have an opener flag data field that we could append to it and tell you what emails in your unengaged files have been engaging with other people. So we can tell you if this email opened last month, a month ago, anytime in the last 12 months. It’s a quick win. Grab those emails, move them over and put them in a re-engagement, and a whole re-engagement kind of funnel.

Doug: Or send them out a direct mail. I’ve talked to one of your co-companies because I’ve got a client right now that’s an e-commerce client and because they’ve got credit card information, they’ve got their mailing address and we’ll have them, we’re going to have you guys append the data, clean the data that they’ve got for direct mail and then we’re going to do a direct mail sample to 100,000 of their previous customers through postal.

Phillip: Right, that’s wonderful. Absolutely. So you go back, that’s my first tip, do cross channel.

Doug: So what are some of the myths about this tactic. I understand it, I like it, I encourage it but there’s going to be people saying well, what about you know, fill in the blank. What are some of the myths that when you talk to people about this type of opportunity?

Phillip: So I think that in some ways personalization or engagement it’s almost like they get some information about people and then they get creepy fast. So it’s almost like you’re … Think of your relationship with your customer, you might know more, but you want to be more subtle in how you message to them. You don’t want to be very specific like because you’re a woman who’s 35, 45, you’ve got to be a little more subtle.

Doug: And you’re married and you own your home and it’s worth this much money. Yeah, that would freak them out, yeah.

Phillip: Right, but you’ve got to be subtle and it’s a relationship, it’s like every relationship, it’s the dance you do when you date there’s kind of a pacing and a right sequence to how you, how that engagement comes along and so don’t try to go too far too fast. With the data, use it for understanding and just be appropriate with that use.

Doug: Well, and you share that with your agency or your copywriter and share that with your graphics guys so like you said the content that you’re producing even if you don’t identify them, call them out by name, hey, you’re a married woman and live here, make sure, like you said, the content speaks to that person.

Phillip: And then really, the other one is stay true to the voice of your brand. And if you don’t know what the voice of your brand is go figure that out. What is your voice, what do you aspire, what does it mean to be brand on.

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When you improve engagement you also improve your reputation which happens with a combination of clean and complete data.

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Phillip: So I think those are a couple of quick tips.

Doug: So what are you most excited about in the next 6 to 12 months with the tools and the platform and how you’re helping your clients?

Phillip: I think what I most excited about is the fact that the tools just keep getting better. It’s super exciting and so we’re working on building more integrations to the partner ecosystem that we have so that our clients can turn the data on without any tech with very limited technical support because the integrations will be prebuilt. So that’s one of the things we’re working on this year because these tools can now handle them better.

Phillip: So that’s one of the most exciting things that we see.

Doug: Do you have a toolset or do you foresee toolset in the future where you’ll be able to append and add social data to people’s database?

Phillip: I’ve done that in my past. And we did it… when we did it in our past we were terms and conditions compliant with the social media. In about 2011 Facebook took the lead of changing its privacy policies and frankly made it very difficult to get access to that data in a privacy-compliant way and many of the other social companies took the lead.

Phillip: And frankly, if you’re not getting the Facebook data, that’s the biggest bulk of the data out there, so I don’t see that loosening up at all. In fact, I would be surprised. So there’s no really great way to go from social handle to the data.

Doug: I was thinking the other way around, adding social handle because I know for example when I open my email that I use a tool so I can see you know, I saw your LinkedIn profile pops up right away. And if I go into my CRM it shows me Twitter and Facebook and all the different platforms that that email addresses on and then I can verify that and manually add that.

Phillip: You would be in violation of their T’s and C’s if you robotically collected that data [inaudible 00:36:39]. And so I don’t see that changing frankly, I think that if anything the data that sits on one social site like a LinkedIn or Facebook, they both recognize how valuable that data is and they want to keep it for themselves. For their use in their ecosystem.

Doug: Yeah, I get that, that makes sense. So two questions for you. Who’s one guest that I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Phillip: Okay, so it’s interesting, as we were speaking I thought of a different one that I probably would have considered, so I’m going two give you to very quickly. The founder of a company called SpringBot, which is the tech company that marries our data with Magento data. Their stories interesting, they grew from a small company, slowly raised … Did rounds, raised money, they’ve grown, they’ve had tremendous success. they’re very forward thinking, Joe Rieger is a really interesting guy.

Phillip: And then when I was relaunching Rapleaf I was one of the first companies in 1971 which is a hub here in Chicago for entrepreneurs. There were four of us that started at the same time and a guy by the name of Eric [SevernHaas 00:37:51] launched a company there. And what’s interesting about talking to Eric is the last time we sat down he had just come back from climbing Everest and was talking about the experience of climbing Everest as relates to his experience as an entrepreneur. And it’s a very different conversation but it’s a very interesting conversation and he’s dynamic and he’s had a couple of exits and the company he’s with now was just acquired by DocuSigns. He does something with DocuSign. I don’t know what because it was just acquired.

Doug: Yeah, maybe he’s just the sponsor climber for them.

Phillip: Maybe, yes.

Doug: Sponsored athlete.

Phillip: He did at the top of Mount Everest hold the flag of the company he was working with at the time when he got there.

Doug: There you go. A tax deductible trip, that’s amazing.

Phillip: I can’t speak to that I don’t want to get in any trouble. But I think those would be two very different conversations and both I’m sure equally interesting.

Doug: Well, excellent. So where can people find you and connect with Tower? Where’s the best place?

Phillip: So one, we have our TowerData.com and if you go to us today and if you go to us in a few weeks you’re going to see a different website, we’re about to launch our new website. And you can certainly go there. I can be reached at [email protected], certainly you can connect with me at LinkedIn and we’re happy to help you with anything from whether it’s an email validation project, appending more email intelligence, helping you with identity matching. So email appends, reverse appends or any other of your data projects.

Doug: Yeah, listeners, I’ve been a big fan of Tower Data for a number of years. I worked with one of their sister companies over the years as well for making sure the data that we’ve got for our clients that we’re hosting is clean, actually it’s a requirement. I won’t take on the management of the clients file unless they’ve cleaned their data because we want to make sure that obviously what we’re doing is first compliant and secondly we get good results. So I would encourage you to check out their website. It will be interesting to see what your new website looks like. Your existing website has always been easy to navigate. I like your newsletter, so I think you guys have done a great job for communications.

Phillip: Well thank you, honestly we use HubSpot and years ago I had a chance to sit down with the founder of HubSpot and I asked him tell me about your marketing strategy and then I told him I was going to rip it off. And so were methodical about how many social posts we do every day, about how many blog posts every month, what goes in the newsletter and we basically put a lot of posts out so that we would see what gets a response so we can figure out what we should be writing about.

Doug: Yeah, absolutely, that’s brilliant.

Phillip: So thank you, appreciate it.

Doug: Well hey, thanks so much. I appreciate you taking time out of your day and sharing with you and I know I’ve got some follow-up conversations with you guys with some new projects that are coming up so listeners, a great opportunity, low hanging fruit, clean up your data, look at different ways to engage as Philip said, maybe cross channel and just change the conversation to suit your subscriber. So thanks again for tuning in. If you liked this episode don’t be shy to share it and to leave us a rating at iTunes. I look forward to serving you on our next episode.

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When you improve engagement you also improve your reputation which happens with a combination of clean and complete data.

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"Innovation isn't just thinking outside the box; it's about setting the box on fire and building something extraordinary from the ashes."

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