MarTech Interview with Steffen Schebesta, CEO at Sendinblue

Marketers will have to become more and more transparent with their data practices as consumer trends surrounding the collection of their personal data evolve, Steffen Schebesta, CEO at Sendinblue comments on the changes marketers will have to adapt to in the near-future:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Steffen, tell us more about Sendinblue and how the platform has evolved over the years…

We started out as an email marketing software for SMBs. Over the years, we added more online marketing channels such as SMS, Marketing Automation, live chat, CRM, Facebook Ads, and a landing page builder.

But we have always stayed true to our mission to provide powerful, yet affordable and easy-to-use tools to SMBs to empower and put them on equal footing with the Amazons of the world.

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We’d love to know about the key highlights from Sendinblue’s recent study on how consumers view data privacy today? A few top takeaways for marketers?

Over the past year, there has been a rising concern among consumers about how, when, and why their data is used. Compared to pre-pandemic, 65% of global respondents trust third-party applications less now than they did a year ago – a clear sign that consumer trust is on the decline.

For marketers, the key takeaway is that you should be honest and transparent with your customers. The vast majority of US consumers – almost 80% – accept sharing data if they understand why, how and what data is used. Further, 86% of consumers in the US prefer to connect with brands that are transparent on how they use data. These findings further validate why it’s important to be transparent about data privacy practices.

Consumers are catching on, and, as a marketer, if you’re not catching up, you’ll be behind!

How are you seeing data preferences in terms of privacy evolve when it comes to consumers?

I think we have arrived in a new period of time where consumers are more aware or even concerned about data privacy issues. It’s a clear market trend that has been reflected in recent legislation (e.g., GDPR, CCPA) and changes announced by big tech companies (e.g., Apple’s IDFA, Google’s FloC).

This also clearly showed in our survey: Almost 70% of US consumers are more concerned with online privacy than a year ago and 65% trust third-party applications less compared to a year ago. With data privacy concerns on the rise, marketers will need to evolve with the times and be more transparent with how, when, and why they use consumer data.

In what ways do you feel marketers of today need to use their martech stack efficiently to protect individual data privacy preferences of diverse users?

Marketers need automated segmentation to maintain data anonymity. By using automation techniques, marketers can identify and remove any sensitive data in their martech stack that violates any laws or doesn’t adhere to consumer data privacy preferences. If marketers fail to vet existing data across their martech stacks, it can result in customer loss, or even worse, major fines from violating privacy laws.

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What are some of the top challenges you see marketing leaders struggle with when it comes to ensuring strong data privacy practices?

Naturally, marketers are very eager to learn everything about their customers. The mantra for years has been: the more data, the better.

However, this will have to change in the future as consumers don’t accept that marketers collect personal data behind their backs anymore.

With less data however, it will become more difficult for marketers to target and personalize campaigns. This is why it will be important for marketers to be transparent about their data privacy practices and turn to other techniques, such as zero-party data collection, to effectively target and build trust with their customers.

How can marketers prepare better for future evolutions in consumer data privacy measures?

In order to continue running successful campaigns, marketers should be more transparent and permission-focused with their customers in terms of data collection.

Zero-party data (data that consumers provide voluntarily) is a good way to overcome this challenge. Not only is it transparent for the end user, but it also provides marketers with rich insights they can work with to run effective marketing campaigns. Combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning, zero-party data can become very powerful, and possibly, even more successful than traditional targeting.

A few last thoughts and takeaways for marketing leaders and CEOs/CMOs to keep in mind?

 Data privacy is here to stay. So you better deal with it now and embrace the change. Even better, understand it as an opportunity. After all, it’s good to have an informed customer. So, be proactive; reach out to your customers, communicate transparently and take a stance to support this movement.

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Sendinblue is an all-in-one digital marketing platform empowering B2B and B2C businesses, e-commerce sellers and agencies to build customer relationships through end to end digital marketing campaigns, transactional messaging, and marketing automation. Unlike other marketing solutions built for enterprise-level budgets and expertise, Sendinblue tailors its all-in-one suite to suit the marketing needs of growing SMBs in tough markets. Sendinblue was founded in 2012 by Armand Thiberge with a mission to make the most effective marketing channels accessible to all businesses. Headquartered in Paris with offices in Seattle, Berlin, Noida, and Toronto, Sendinblue supports more than 180,000 active users across 160 countries.

Steffen Schebesta is the CEO of North America at Sendinblue. He has over 15 years of experience as a business and digital marketing leader. Prior to joining Sendinblue, Steffen was the founder and co-CEO of Newsletter2Go, the leading email marketing provider in the German market. Under Steffen’s leadership, Newsletter2Go became one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Europe. In 2019, Newsletter2Go was acquired by Sendinblue and Steffen earned the title of co-CEO in Germany. Steffen holds a master’s degree in business and electrical engineering from The Technical University of Berlin.

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