Partner Spotlight: How Leverage Lab Helps Marketers Get the Most Value Out of Their Data
What ROI can marketing organizations can expect when they adopt a customer data platform (CDP) to improve their marketing metrics? And which use cases pose the best chance of improving conversion and lifetime customer value through personalized customer journeys?
These are questions that Leverage Lab is highly qualified to answer. The data consultancy helps data-rich advertisers, retailers, and media organizations future-proof their missions by harnessing the power of CDP technology and the intrinsic value of first-party data. Treasure Data recently interviewed AnnMarie Wills, the company’s CEO and co-founder, and John Haake, its VP of Technology Partnerships, to get their take on pressing questions of CDP ROI, use cases for media companies and other CDP adopters, and how to get the most out of CDPs.
Treasure Data: What does Leverage Lab do to help increase CDP ROI?
AnnMarie Wills: Leverage Lab focuses on helping marketers get the most value out of their proprietary data. Over the last five years, we’ve developed and refined a road-tested playbook for marketers that supports a wide range of monetization use cases–such as customer journey management, recommendation engineering, media spend optimization, and range of revenue-generating products and marketing services programs.
Leverage Lab also has developed a dedicated personalization engine, as well as closed-looped audience and media optimization solutions that sit atop a larger customer data platform infrastructure.
Leverage Lab is built differently than a typical sort of systems integrator. Rather than focus on tech functionality, we focus on defining and prioritizing use cases and making sure they are tied directly to business outcomes. We have a very deep and rich set of technical resources, but we also have one side of our organization that is built around activation. We’ve got paid media experts, digital strategy experts—folks who are there to fundamentally support organizations through what can be a pretty significant change management exercise.
Treasure Data: That’s an interesting point. What kind of changes do these companies see when they implement a CDP?
We hear clients say all the time, “This changes everything; my entire marketing workflow is now significantly more efficient than it was.” This is because they used to spend so much time manhandling data—cleaning and integrating data before they could segment, target, activate, and orchestrate. When they switch to a CDP and we help them implement their use cases, much of that messiness goes away. A CDP really changes the marketing job and what their focus should be, because they no longer have to focus on unifying the data themselves, and can focus on what they can do with their data, through activation and orchestration. That’s what makes us unique: We’ve gone through these changes with lots of different companies across lots of verticals, and we’re really there to help in that transformation process, and to help them focus on getting the best possible ROI, about 600% on average.
Treasure Data: Can you discuss a use case that demonstrates your capabilities in action?
AnnMarie Wills: People often start with one or two goals or use cases for their CDP, and then use their new data capabilities to achieve new objectives. We went through the CDP implementation process where the company was spending a lot of money in paid advertising. As a test, we put together an audience target based on their usual approach, which was to find some third-party audiences in a walled garden and run a promotion—such as a buy-one-get-one-free offer. We also did an A/B test with audiences that were lookalike audiences, based on first party data that was coming through their CDP.
Guess what? The lookalike audiences that their CDP found were performing four times better against what their traditional approach had been, which is a really significant performance improvement.
John Haake: Our experience runs very deep with media and publishing use cases. Publishers serve two markets: the user, who’s there to consume content, and the advertiser, who’s there to connect with the users. So when an organization pulls their first-party data together in a really compelling way, they have opportunities to support both POVs. They can leverage their first-party data to engage users with a more personalized content mix or personalized offers for subscriptions while using the same data to create more compelling services for their advertisers. We have a proven playbook to do all this. As a result, Leverage Lab has helped generate millions of dollars in new revenue for publishing and media companies.
Treasure Data: How do you see CDPs playing a critical role in helping companies grow in the future?
AnnMarie Wills: Market forces like the demise of third-party audience tracking and tightening privacy legislation require marketers to future-proof their strategies. The CDP is an integral part of evolving away from anonymous third-party data and earning direct, first-party relationships with customers and audiences.
Treasure Data: What about privacy challenges due to Google’s deprecation of cookies and the lessening importance of Apple IDFAs?
John Haake: This has become a real issue over the course of the last 10 or 15 years, with the advent of programmatic media buying. In the beginning, programmatic ad buying was a really great thing for marketers and publishers. For the first time, it allowed us to actually go out and address a specific audience across multiple inventory sources. But it didn’t encourage a deeper understanding of the user needs. The entire exercise got boiled down to “how do you reach an audience a cheaply as possible.” Things like context and user experience all got lost in the mix as the focus became entirely on cheap reach and frequency. It also creeped out a lot of users and basically took the lunch money out of the hands of publishers.
The pendulum has swung back the other way and publishers are reclaiming their seat at the table, because they own that relationship with each audience member. It’s also encouraging advertisers and brands to forge a direct formal relationship with their audiences too. And that’s a good thing across the entire ecosystem, because it’s putting customers first and making them our North Star.
And these changes must all be driven by first-party data throughout the process. So the events of the last four or five years are really positive. With the functionality we see in CDPs and the kind of services that Leverage Labs add on top of the CDP, companies that use first-party data and CDPs to build better relationships with their customers can still see outstanding results from CDP-driven personalization.
About AnnMarie Wills
AnnMarie is the co-founder and CEO of Leverage Lab, a first party data consultancy specializing in CDP technology. AnnMarie brings more than 20 years of experience helping organizations maximize their data competency and opportunity. During her career AnnMarie has conceptualized, built and launched numerous first party data infrastructure initiatives and products for notable companies like Penton Media, Knight Ridder, SourceMedia and Vance Publishing.
In addition to her experience in the Media industry AnnMarie has led digital agency teams delivering insights, performance marketing services and data science projects for such notable clients as Microsoft (Azure, Dynamics, Windows 10), Hallmark Cards and Crayola.
AnnMarie is passionate about helping brands large and small, see the opportunity and power in their data. She believes that we are living in a critical evolutionary period where embracing first party data to create customer centricity not only drives improved business outcomes but creates true, authentic brand relationships. It’s the first party data revolution and AnnMarie is here for it!
About John M. Haake
John M. Haake is a fierce champion of independent media and an advocate of a sustainable open web. He leads the technology partnership strategy for Leverage Lab, a first-party data consultancy that helps marketers solidify direct relationships with their audiences. Early in his career, he worked on the creative side telling stories for consumer brands including Stetson Hats, BluBlockers, Democracy Jeans, and Farmland Foods. More recently, he positioned SaaS platforms at the crossroads of art and data science. John has helped multiple companies to successful exits, including [x+1] (acquired by Rocket Fuel) and MediaMind (IPO). He cannot wait to dance on the grave of the third-party cookie.