Interview with Bryan Gernert, CEO, Resonate

Bryan Gernert
Bryan Gernert

“Marketers need to engage in an intimate conversation with customers to build those longer-term relationships which will drive results both today and in the future.”

Tell us about your role at Resonate and how you got here. What prompted you to launch Resonate? 

Resonate was started with one simple but powerful idea: understanding people. From Day 1, we’ve been on a quest to understand people at a deeper level than any other company in the marketplace. A lot of companies today talk about being “customer-centric.” But at Resonate, we talk about being “people-centric,” because we believe that marketers need to understand their audiences beyond their relationships with their products. Marketers need to understand the true human element—the why behind what people do in the online and offline worlds. I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Resonate.

What is the core technology driving Resonate?

The Resonate Platform is an easy to use SaaS solution that combines the best of primary research, with leading-edge artificial intelligence (AI) to empower clients with a deep consumer understanding, dynamic insights, engagement and analytics. The platform seamlessly unifies trillions of digital and physical consumer touchpoints and more than 7,000 attributes to understand hundreds of millions of individuals through curated analyses and impactful visualizations.

How is the Customer Intelligence and Analytics ecosystem different from when you first started Resonate?

While the fundamental premise behind Resonate has not wavered, our capabilities have evolved significantly. As technology has progressed, marketers’ need to understand consumers hasn’t changed. But what did change was the speed with which they must be able to gain that understanding and put it into action. That speed has greatly accelerated. Our platform developments have recognized and evolved with that need.

Describe the “consumer intelligence marketing” category and the potential opportunities here for marketers.

Consumer Intelligence Marketing is a category that represents consumer intelligence in action. There are categories for “intelligence” or “insights” and categories for “analytics” but not a category that effectively summarizes what’s possible when deep consumer insights are actively applied to acquisition, expansion, and retention efforts. Our goal was to build a platform that would be powerful, easy to use and, most importantly, one that would facilitate the application of this intelligence across the marketing organization. Consumer intelligence into action is critical. That’s where insight turns into growth, revenue, loyalty, and customer lifetime value.

How can Resonate help marketers grow their business and reach new audiences and prospects?

All relationships are built on connections and connections happen when there is understanding. Resonate provides leading brands and agencies with a deep consumer understanding that creates what we call ‘unbreakable relationships.’ Those types of ‘unbreakable relationships’ translate into a more efficient net new acquisition, improved expansion through cross-sell and upsell and increased loyalty and retention and ultimately, customer lifetime value. Now, most marketers believe that they do know their target audience well, but the reality is that they don’t have the depth of insight that Resonate provides. As a reference, we reveal that their customers and prospects look a little different then they thought and we regularly help companies find completely new customers segments they didn’t know about. The other goal for Resonate was to create a unified view of the consumer or customer that could be shared across the organization. That way, this deep consumer insight helps our clients create more compelling customer experiences whether that is designing more personalized messaging, building more resonant products, or even tailoring the merchandising in a specific retail location.

Given the changing dynamic of marketing analytics and customer insights, where do you see Resonate fitting into a CMO’s tech stack?

I believe Resonate will be the consumer intelligence layer that will drive the technology tech stack. This will make the tools, like email marketing, more effective by introducing a deeper understanding of the consumer which drives better outcomes.

What are your thoughts on the growing opportunities in the marketplace for consumer intelligence and insights companies?

With the almost unlimited choice that consumers now have to find and buy products, it has become more and more complicated to compete and much tougher to build brand loyalty. Marketers need to engage in an intimate conversation with customers to build those longer-term relationships which will drive results both today and in the future.

Which sales and marketing automation tools do you use at Resonate?

We use Marketo and Salesforce.com, though we are in the process of migrating from Marketo to Pardot. For marketing, we also use Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google AdWords, the Adobe Suite, BuzzSumo, SEM Rush,

What are your predictions on the most influential disruptions in B2B CRM?

Treating decision makers as people and not just titles and departments. Companies in the B2B CRM space have focused almost exclusively on capturing data about the company, department and the title of a potential prospect. There was little if any data which delivered a deep understanding of the decision maker as a person. It seems obvious that titles don’t make decisions but the people with those titles do, in other words, the people making the decisions are humans that carry their own perspective on the process. For instance, if one buyer is concerned about self-preservation, i.e., whatever I do I don’t want to get in trouble or fired and a different buyer is making a decision from the perspective, I want to be recognized for driving innovation and be viewed as a star. The messaging for these two buyers should be very different, the first one is a message of the product being always available and the other companies that are successfully using the product. In the case of the case of driving innovation, the messaging would be more focused on what cutting-edge capabilities the product can deliver and how the most progressive companies have embraced the solution.

How do you prepare for post-GDPR disruptions?

While we are focused on the United States where GDPR is not implemented we are constantly looking at how regulations and guidelines are shaping how data is collected and used. With that in mind, we take a proactive approach to look at our policies to make sure we are meeting and exceeding the regulations and guidelines.  For us, that means making sure our privacy policy is up to date and easily accessible.  In addition, we are driven to do as much first-party data collection as possible. For instance, all of our primary data is collected via a double opt-in which explicitly describes what data we are collecting and how it can be used. The key is to stay in touch with what are the latest requirements and where possible exceed those in the spirit of being a good actor.

Could you tell us about an outstanding Customer Success story at Resonate? 

We have so many great stories to share! Here are two of my favorites:

A major consumer packaged goods holding company with 30 brands came to Resonate concerned about how many dollars were being wasted by delivering online advertising to the wrong people that can’t or won’t buy their products. They purchased the Resonate Platform to measure how effective their media partners were in reaching their target segments. Resonate discovered that 50%+ of the audience being reached was not the highly specific audience the brand was targeting. The company now uses Resonate data to target more effectively in programmatic. This resulted in a 68% increase in engagement and saved them approximately $1,000,000 in wasted ad spending.

A digital publisher wanted to differentiate themselves in the challenged local publisher market, scale ad sales revenue, maximize yields and retention rates by helping their advertisers better understand consumer audiences. After trying two DMPs, only to receive undifferentiated and poor data quality, they needed another solution to become more strategic with clients and decrease the cost of insights. They then leveraged our deep consumer insights to learn more about the people on their site and ultimately to better segment that audience and sell their inventory at a premium. Our used the insights and analytics to provide valuable reports to their customers beyond just media performance. The result was a 50% cost savings and a 30% increase in revenue year over year.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

Embrace and leverage using business acumen. AI is here to stay and is only going to have a bigger and bigger impact on our daily lives, from both a business and consumer perspective. If you are not embracing AI in the areas where it can help, make better decisions you will find yourself further and further behind. With that said, someone needs to determine what are the problems that need to be solved and why which means people need to think about what result they are trying to achieve, only then can the use of AI be really impactful.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

For us, that is like asking how do you inspire people to breathe. It’s in our DNA and we as individuals are technology forward people that have bought into the belief that technology is what is going to help drive our success. The good news for me is that you don’t often have to inspire people to breathe.

One word that best describes how you work.

Focused

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Dropbox, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Email, GoToMeeting, United Airlines, Google Maps, Multiple travel apps.

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

Know when you do your best thinking and block that time for doing the most important or complicated work. For me, this is not at the office but early in the morning when I first wake up, things are clearer, and my mind is free of all the distractions that are sure to come during the day.

What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

I’m an avid reader of short-form content but not usually from one source. I am the ultimate nightmare for traditional publishers as the content is the destination, not the location. The content is a combination of general business and innovation in the data and Martech space.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

If you want to be average do what others see as reasonable.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

Tenacity combined with the enjoyment of figuring out a strategy to make things happen that most believe isn’t probable or possible.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Marc Pritchard

Thank you, Bryan! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Bryan is an executive with a proven track record of building organizations with exceptional financial and operational results. He has a strong background in the technology industry providing services and solutions to the global 2000. Bryan is an energetic leader with the ability to hire, motivate and lead organizations and has had consistent success in raising money through public and private markets.

Resonate
Resonate is a SaaS-based provider of real-time consumer insights, data and media activation and offers the largest single source of in-depth proprietary profiles on 200M+ US adult consumers. The company simplifies how marketers understand and engage the right people with the right message based on the underlying values and motivations that drive their audiences’ decisions to buy or support certain brands, products or causes. Hundreds of companies have used Resonate’s SaaS platform or managed media services to accelerate the ability to identify the right customers, prospects or voters, understand what they care about, know what to say to them, and find more of them across all marketing channels with precision and at scale. Resonate is helping marketers reduce marketing complexity, drive strategy and win more business or campaigns, while reducing data costs and improving media accuracy. Named a “Cool Vendor” in Data Driven Marketing by Gartner, a DM News Marketing & Tech Finalist, Most innovative analytics platform and also one of the best places to work in Virginia by the Washington Post and Virginia Business and Best Companies Group, Resonate is privately held and backed by Revolution Growth, Greycroft Partners, iNovia Capital and Argentum. Resonate is headquartered in Reston, VA with offices in New York and Washington, D.C.

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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