Last Tuesday I was joined by an industry hall of fame to discuss how data collaboration empowers companies to unlock their data’s full potential. At the end of the event, I was left inspired by the leaders who are innovating, determined to take control, own their own identity, and develop new products and businesses. I also left hopeful for the future of marketing, and for any customer-centric company looking to deliver better experiences.
For the 45-minute live discussion, I was joined by Lara Izlan, Data Strategy Director at ITV, Louqman Parampath, VP Product Management - Advertising at Roku, Bruce Biegel Senior Managing Partner at Winterberry Group, and Emily Del Greco, Founder of Del Greco Solutions and Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company.
Lara set the tone for the panel discussion perfectly as she reflected on 2020:
Through the face of extreme uncertainty, across people and across organizations. People have found ways to come together in the spirit of what we’re talking about today. They’ve found new ways of working, new ways of working with each other to overcome these challenges and to innovate. I think these events have been a catalyst for collaboration in every sense of the word. We’ve found out that while we’ve been forced to isolated, we’ve actually come to realize ways we can pool our individual strengths as a matter of survival and as a matter for future growth.
Addressing the Google elephant in the room
In the weeks leading up to the live discussion, I was incredibly excited by the subject matter. However, in light of the announcement made by Google a week prior, the event became even more exciting and relevant. The panel was not shocked by the news and already see the utilization and protection of first-party data as critical to data-driven marketing approaches. Our guests saw the news out of Mountain View California as an opportunity to evolve data-driven marketing, not a threat to its effectiveness.
Bruce shared his view on how the open web will work as we move forward.
There will be a better bond between the buy and the sell-side of the industry. It will not be as adversarial as it has been over the last 5 to 10 years. I think the open web is going to function very differently from the walled gardens. Google is going to have its rules and it’s going to do its thing. The open web is going to have its say. And as long as consent and permission lead it, I think it’s going to be okay.
When I look at the news from Google, I’m reminded of an analogy I often reference whenever I explain the function of business strategy for fast-growing, modern technology companies. Google’s news reminded many companies, how critically important it is to evolve the function of ‘strategy’ to be more like Waze rather than Mapquest. Strategy can no longer afford to be a point A to B set of directions, formulated at one specific point in time. You need to be able to absorb what is happening, navigate the various road closures, traffic jams, and unexpected events while ensuring you’re still navigating your way towards your final goal. In doing that, you also need to ensure that your business success isn’t dependent on another company. As Brian Lesser recently stated in an AdAge article this week, “if you put the success or failure of your business in someone else’s hands, you leave yourself at heavy risk”.
The collaboration trend will only accelerate now
Collaboration across first-party data sources will now become more important than ever. Fortunately, as the recent report from Winterberry Group covered, 64.3% of US companies are already collaborating with other organizations, and a further 16.7% have plans to do so.
But the collaboration rules are changing. Companies are no longer willing to sacrifice control of their data to a third-party to enable analysis across multiple data sources. Instead, privacy-centric companies are using solutions, like InfoSum, to enable them to collaborate across customer data, without moving, sharing, or commingling data.
Louqman commented on how Roku is assessing the opportunities to collaborate across multiple data sets:
What we are increasingly focused on in these scenarios, is the mechanics of such integrations with the data sets. And this is where maybe the data clean room discussion comes into the picture. We generally prefer an approach where our data also does not leave our walls. So clean room approaches where our data and third-party data can sit in their respective silos, but we can match, onboard, and activate such data sets, however large and complex the taxonomy may be, and then bring that to bear and show that the media itself works better.
Media collaboration is just the start
While the session was largely focused on how data collaboration can improve the customer experience across marketing and content consumption, we also touched on the additional industries that could improve their businesses through collaboration. Emily spoke to use cases in both the public and private sectors, including business travel, tourism, payments, retail, and healthcare. Emily probably put it best when she said:
We can’t underscore enough that all the use cases we’re talking about today are just barely scratching the surface of what is possible and what I think will happen...in all honesty, a lot of what we’re talking about today has applications on every industry, it’s limitless.
For me, one of the highlights from this event was that while we discussed what data collaboration means for the companies looking to collaborate, we spent a lot of time talking about the end consumer. In the whirlwind of industry changes and innovations, what is often forgotten is that all our efforts should be focused on delivering a better experience for our customers - as commercial success is a product of a great customer experience.
If you missed the event, it’s available to watch on-demand.