TechBytes with Rob Parrish, VP of Product at Treasure Data

TechBytes with Rob Parrish, VP of Product at Treasure Data

Hi Rob, Tell us about your current role and the team and the technology you are responsible for at Treasure Data.

I lead Treasure Data’s product group. We have a great team of people, including product management, product design, documentation and product operations. My key responsibility is to set the vision roadmap for this creative and collaborative team. That includes establishing the priorities and design direction of the Treasure Data CDP product. 

How would you compare the CDPs of 2015 with those available in 2020?

The market for customer data platforms (CDPs) has taken a huge leap forward in five years.

In 2015, CDPs were seen as yet another new item for the marketing tech stack. But there were plenty of skeptics who openly questioned the need for such a product, including most of the large Cloud companies. Fast-forward five years and 2020 finds new CDPs being introduced weekly by companies large and small, including the doubters.

So, what changed?

Consumer experiences and expectations. As we approach 2021, customer experience is king. Organizations must be able to serve and satisfy customers in as close to real-time as possible. It is now clear that the capabilities of a first-rate CDP are the best way to understand your customers and deliver the positive experiences they demand.

Treasure Data has been at the forefront of the CDP movement from the beginning. Given our data management expertise and experience, it was a natural process. In our early days, we had a number of customers looking to build on top of Treasure Data in order to support their clients. We were also getting requests from agencies pulling us into their relationships with major global 2000 brands because those organizations wanted to have better control of their data. As we worked to support various use cases, we added to our core data management capabilities, with out-of-the-box integrations and the ability to collect data at scale – streaming everything into our platform. Our customers have always benefitted from having massive flexibility to gather, analyze and act on customer data in ways previously not possible.

I believe Treasure Data is probably the only CDP that can really solve the core data management problems. We have learned so many lessons and been involved in countless deployments over the years.

We currently have over 400 customers today and we have noticed – especially with companies that tried other CDPs – if you don’t have the full suite of both data management and business-ready capabilities in one application, then you end up having a lot of failure scenarios that are caused because issues have to be managed outside of the CDP deployment. That leads to longer deployment times or failed projects. By having the most comprehensive capabilities and having learned the lessons of what really needs to be solved to achieve a high ROI in a CDP, Treasure Data has been able to bring first use case deployment times down to six to eight weeks, even with global 2000 companies.

CDPs are evolving at a flamboyant pace, and as a result, taking CRMs to new heights. Please tell us the most unique CDP features that can help deliver better ROI from including them in Martech stacks.

MarTech Series readers should be looking for these three features:

  1. The ability to handle both backroom and real-time data at scale. In order to create a truly holistic view of your customer, there are different channels that get updated at different times and it’s critical for a CDP to be able to handle all types of data ingest. That data then has to be unified and made accessible in the timeframe required and without unnecessary latency. Treasure Data CDP excels at this.
  2. The ability to configure how you unify data in ways that are important to your business. Particularly for large enterprises – they have their own view of the customer. And so they want to develop their own data model that makes sense to their business, but then still be able to accommodate data sources from various different channels. There’s a huge number of capabilities involved here, whether it’s cleaning up data upon ingest, whether it’s streaming or batch or whether it’s just being able to configure and fine-tune how data is unified. Treasure Data’s fine-grain capabilities allow enterprises to configure the CDP to their customer’s profiles.
  3. The ability to make the data accessible across all channels. Treasure Data does this by having over 170 out-of-the-box connectors for activations and also making available, by API, the full profile for operational use cases. Key components for Treasure Data are the ability to use machine learning to determine “next best action” and advanced dashboards that make information available to everyone from the executive suite to the campaign manager.

How should organizations strengthen their data mining capabilities for Marketing and Sales activities?

The best way to answer this is to give an example. Treasure Data has seen customers leveraging digital channels to support in-person sales activities for the past five years. One of those customers is Subaru. An early use case they applied to Treasure Data when we started working together five years ago was taking digital information about a consumer who asked for an appointment at a dealership and applies machine learning (ML) on the Treasure Data CDP platform in order to improve the ranking of their likelihood to buy. Subaru shared the information with store reps to help them plan campaigns.

In Subaru’s case, they were able to boost close rate by 14%, which led to more than $1 million for every one percent increase in conversion rate.

With every campaign, companies need to leverage insights about their consumers. This can be attributed from your CRM in the past or behavioral signals that are happening every day as customers engage with your product. Without data mining, all of that is impossible. So it’s a critical need for a CDP and why Treasure Data’s data management capabilities are so important to creating an ROI for your business. 

Which industries are deriving the maximum results from investing in a CDP?

Treasure Data has seen many industries realizing remarkable results from their CDP investments.

The sectors that stand out are retail, consumer product goods (CPG), automotive, and media and entertainment. We’re seeing tremendous growth in those industries.

How is a CDP for an e-commerce platform different from that used by a B2B Sales organization?

eCommerce platforms are more likely going to be focused on optimizing micro journeys within similar micro digital journeys. Each step of the life cycle is examined – from prospecting to awareness to purchase to loyalty. eCommerce platforms are likely to spend much of their time in the CDP looking at which stages may be presenting problems and then optimizing and building better journeys within those stages. That provides the most ROI and complete transparency of the consumer journey.

With B2B sales, it’s often a similar buying experience for companies selling to SMBs. It’s digital-first.

But, when the companies are targeting larger businesses, there’s more of a human element. And so it’s more than just about optimizing prospecting. As you get further down the funnel, it becomes much more about giving insights to humans who are then taking the action and using those insights to either optimize their own data or improving the next communication with their prospects.

How can a CMO make better choices between the two or more options available in the CDP offering?

The CMOs and other decision-makers should be looking for three things:

  1. A history of success in delivering value to similar businesses.
  2. The ability to provide complete service. As soon as a CDP vendor starts using excuses – “well, to serve that use case, you really need to bring in this other piece of the tech stack” – red flags should be going up.
  3. The ability to handle advanced analytics on the platform.

Yes, CDP is about technology. But it’s also about the people on the team you engage with. Companies must be comfortable and confident in their partners. They’re the ones that help you maximize your CDP journey. Time-to-value has never been more important, especially during the COVID crisis. Picking an experienced, comprehensive platform partner is critical to success.

How do modern CDPs add more Marketing value and ROI quotient to a CMO’s Martech stack?

This is an important question for every buyer.

Treasure Data CDP is designed to be added into an existing MarTech stack and add intelligence immediately. With a complete view of the customer, companies can make better decisions about campaigns that are happening across all of the different campaign tools that you have. It can help with coordination by making sure customers have the proper segment across all their different campaign tools.

And, it’s meant to support a company’s ability to add intelligence into the tools they have today. With our just launched Treasure Insights, bringing data from current campaigns across various channels into one place is a breeze. This allows enterprises to analyze the value of different campaigns more effectively, as well as the value and effectiveness of different channels.

What makes Treasure Data different from the others in the CDP marketplace?

It seems that CDPs come in all shapes, sizes and flavors these days – it’s very confusing for buyers. But what separates Treasure Data from others is our broad suite of data management capabilities. Our customers have the unique ability to take real-time and batch data from any channel and incorporate it into their customer profiles. They have the ability to run advanced analytics. And, using out-of-the-box dashboards or easily crafted custom-built dashboards, companies have access to invaluable insights into customer activity and campaign progress.

CEOs and CIOs want flexibility in their buying decisions about technology stack components and vendors. In fact, a just-released survey by Merkle of over 400 marketers at major North American and UK brands found that 79% prefer a custom-built platform. That’s not a surprise to us. Time and time again, we see enterprises making choices around best-of-breed products – their best investment is selecting a CDP that lets them continue to make flexible decisions in their entire marketing stack.

Advances in AI, ML and Mobile user data intelligence are considered as the top sources of CDP inventory. What kind of data science engine does a CDP maker have or build to intelligently mine, process and deliver actionable insights to customers?

A CDP tool must have the following capabilities in order to allow best-of-breed data science insights to be created out of your customer profiles:

  • Ability to bring a full customer profile data together.
  • Ability to do advanced data cleanup & feature engineering.
  • All the key insights available via Out of the Box capabilities, to allow a fast time to initial value.
  • Full “white box” approach to all Machine Learning features, so that an enterprise’s own Data Science team can further improve on those insights for further business impact.
  • And, all the built in Machine Learning and Data Science tools needed for a Data Science team to be productive with the data in place.
  • Lastly, a full set of security & policy levers so that data scientists & marketers are leveraging consumer data in full compliance with regional-specific regulations, globally.

Treasure Data includes all of the above capabilities in our approach to bringing Machine Learning insights to our CDP customers.

As a VP of Product, tell us how you communicate with your product development team members? Which tools and technologies do you currently use to collaborate remotely?

We’re operating well in a remote environment. Like many others, we use Slack for quick communication and Zoom for video conferencing.

But, we have another asset on our side – the Treasure Data CDP. It’s an enormous help as we continuously engage with and look for insights on our customers. It helps us determine how we can best support improvements. As a SaaS platform, it’s extremely easy for all of us to connect to data in one place. We have the flexibility to the segment as needed and collaborate around how our customers are using the Treasure Data CDP. This is tremendous support for our product development.

CDP Forecast: Tell us the most interesting trends that you foresee in the next 6 months within your industry.

We’re in the middle of the trend of accelerated adoption of digital tools by industries that haven’t necessarily used the Direct-to-Consumer route before. This means adoption of traditional marketing methods by CPG companies, along with further shift in digital purchasing experiences.

That being said, for brick-and-mortar stores, they can take more advantage of the Physical + Digital advantage, to bring an even more complete view together – to optimize the full buying journey (including pick-up). This is why we’ve released our new InStore SDK, for completing a physical customer profile to complement the digital.

On the more extreme prediction – as this happens, I believe we’ll see more personalization of fully immersive digital advertising experiences. This will be done to effectively engage with audiences who are limited to spending their time at home.

A good example of this is happening this week.

There will be a virtual reality concert with Janelle Monáe performing to coincide with the season finale of the HBO series Lovecraft Country. It will be interactive even for those not attending via VR. These types of digital advertising experiences will occur more and more and be targeted/personalized in-experience based on what brands understand about the consumers attending.

Tag a person from the industry whose answers you would like to see in the TechBytes / Predictions Series 2021- 

Shashin Chokshi, Director of Data Science and Insights, Upfront Healthcare Services

Thank you, Rob, for answering all our questions!

Rob Parrish is vice president of product at Treasure Data. He sets the vision roadmap for the creative and collaborative product team. That includes establishing the priorities and design direction of the Treasure Data CDP. In his years at Treasure Data, Rob has played an important role in helping the company achieve its position as a leader in the growing CPP market.

Previously, Rob worked as a data scientist and product manager at Radius Intelligence, focused on enabling predictive data products, and at Nomis Solutions helping consumer banks with pricing optimization.


Treasure Data Customer Data Platform (CDP) empowers enterprises by delivering rich insights that drive outstanding customer experiences. Built on a strong data management foundation, our CDP enables brands to securely unify customer data across silos at scale so they can better identify, engage and acquire customers. The highly configurable platform boasts a comprehensive connector network that evolves with your existing technology stack to future-proof all customer data initiatives.