MarTech Interview with Jill Canetta, Chief Data Officer at Experian Marketing Services

Connecting multichannel digital touchpoints can sometimes turn out to be a challenge even for the most seasoned marketers; Jill Canetta, Chief Data Officer at Experian Marketing Services shares some best practices in this chat:


Welcome to this MarTech chat Jill, tell us more about Experian and its growth journey over the last few years and especially new (latest) innovations!

Our industry has experienced a bevy of changes over the past few years; two of the more notable have been the accelerated shift to digital (mostly a byproduct of the pandemic) and the phase-out of third-party cookies. And we’re seeing those changes challenge our clients more and more each day. 

While consumers are engaging with brands through multiple channels (in-person, mobile, TV, tablets), there’s still an expectation of a one-to-one experience. The challenge for marketers is connecting these dozens, if not hundreds, of fragmented touchpoints together to create a 360-degree view. And now with new digital identifiers emerging, ultimately replacing third-party cookies, we’re adding more fragmentation to the market. 

That said, fragmentation can be healthy for the market. We just need to be nimble and evolve and further the interoperability of these digital identifiers. And that’s where Experian has really focused our attention. 

In fact, a little more than six months ago, we acquired Tapad, one of the leading digital identity resolution providers. Our vision is to develop solutions that are resilient to industry and consumer changes. The addition of Tapad’s digital identity capabilities enhance our ability to provide cross-screen campaigns and streamline digital ad buys.

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How are you seeing digital interaction trends change today and what are some key expectations from the customer today that are redefining the way tech innovators are being challenged to meet new needs?

COVID-19 had an enormous impact on consumer behavior, particularly the transition to digital. Prior to the pandemic, consumers were becoming more reliant on digital, however when quarantine first started, we saw a noticeable uptick; mostly out of necessity. But as months passed, many consumers have realized the benefits and convenience that digital provides, and we expect the reliance to continue. 

The shift to digital creates more fragmentation in the market. Consumers are engaging brands both offline and online, and if marketers are unable to reconcile these interactions, one consumer can look like four or five different consumers. No matter how many different channels a consumer engages a brand with, the consumer experience needs to be seamless; that requires marketers to gain a 360-degree view. 

The challenge, particularly with the phase-out of third-party cookies, is creating that single customer view. With new digital identifiers emerging, our focus has centered on how we can improve the interoperability of these identifiers, so marketers can better understand their customers. 

How can brands enhance their digital experience and journey for customers without crowding their customer’s space with too much marketing and information?

Marketers need to be more intentional. What I mean by that, is the consumer should be at the heart of every marketing strategy. People are bombarded with marketing messages every day. Marketers need to break through the noise and be relevant. You don’t have to send out hundreds of marketing messages, you just need a message that is going to resonate with your customer through the channel they most prefer. 

A few predictions in mind for the future of digital customer journeys and how this will evolve?

The acceleration of e-commerce that COVID-19 brought on will continue.  Brands will need to continue to reach consumers digitally. Meanwhile, the customer journey is evolving, and consumer expectations are increasing. Consumers are hyper-connected (the average person has nine connected devices) and have numerous preferred channels. Providers need to reach them in new places. It’s not just one, but multiple touchpoints, many times including peer feedback, that lead to a purchasing decision. The days of using personas are gone, it’s now one-to-one marketing, so it’s critical that messages are personalized and consistent across channels. Finally, consumers have so much choice, access to everything and they are driven by convenience. Providers need to ensure the consumer experience is seamless and frictionless.

Once the worldwide pandemic is more under control in most places, how do you feel marketers will have to focus on recreating the typical drive brand experience and brand engagement in a post pandemic world? What are some top data protection practices they should still be following?

Moving forward, the consumer experience is going to be heavily reliant on digital. That means, marketers will need to connect digital touchpoints together and create a single customer view. While some consumers may appear fragmented to us, we need to ensure the experience is not fragmented for them. 

To address the second question, just because we navigated a pandemic, data protection and privacy don’t change. At Experian, privacy is at the heart of what we do and the way we work. Marketers need to prioritize consumer trust and transparency and use data responsibly. 

A few predictions that you have for the future of martech as a whole? Can you talk about some top martech providers you have been following in the recent years from the global market and why you find them innovative?

Moving forward, striking the balance between personalization, privacy and consent will be the challenge/opportunity for marketers. One trend that is emerging is the use of clean rooms, leveraging technology that allows organizations to share data with each other without actually passing it to each other.  In fact, one provider in particular, Infosum, a London-based start-up that Experian collaborates with, has built a federated, decentralized architecture that uses mathematical representations to organize, “read” and query the data so information from different companies can be connected to derive insights and unlock value. This happens without the parties having to openly share or expose the data to the other party.

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A few takeaways for marketing leaders and CMOs/CEOs through 2021: top factors they should keep in mind as they plan for the rest of the year, innovate and expand their teams?

Digital identity and data privacy will be key and they are intertwined.

The rapid acceleration of digital transactions places a high priority on data-driven digital identity solutions. Incomplete data and identity linkage continue to be challenges, so marketers must be able to link first-party data with third-party data to better define customer segments and drive insights and strategies. 

Also, with new regulation and industry changes due to consumers wanting more control on how their data is used, it becomes critical that marketers build trust with consumers and look for solutions that provide transparency and enable privacy compliance.   

Marketers will need to work with providers that can help them navigate the new environment and see clearer views across the digital customer buying journey – leveraging solutions to support data-driven advertising across all channels— ones that are built on scale, resiliency, consumer privacy, security and trust.  

Experian is focused on just that – building a more effective advertising ecosystem that promotes the interoperability of digital touchpoints while enabling and fostering new innovations in a privacy forward way – allowing our clients the flexibility to adapt to consumer behavior and market changes quickly. 

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Experian unlocks the power of data to create opportunities for consumers, businesses and society.

During life’s big moments – from buying a home or car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business exponentially by connecting it with new customers – Experian empowers consumers and clients to manage data with confidence so they can maximize every opportunity.


Jill Canetta is the Chief Data Officer at Experian Marketing Services

How can you enhance the Customer Feedback experience in today’s digital economy? Catch more tips from the latest episodes of The SalesStar Podcast!

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