TechBytes with Andy Hunn, COO at Resonate

TechBytes with Andy Hunn, COO at Resonate

Tell us about your role and the team and technology you handle at Resonate.

I serve as chief operating officer at Resonate, which I co-founded more than a decade ago based on simple but profoundly important questions: “Can we use big data and AI to understand consumers beyond their demographics? Can we use big data to understand the deeper insights that explain why we make the decisions we do – to buy a certain product, to support a certain cause?” We founded Resonate based on this powerful idea of understanding people through big data and technology, and for the past 11 years, we’ve used technology to provide the deepest understanding of that which makes us each human.

At Resonate, we know that your customers are more than their demographics and their online behaviors, and we believe that today, more than ever, marketers need to understand their customers and prospects beyond those surface-level characteristics (e.g., “what” they are, “what” they buy) in order to drive customer lifetime value. If you’re going to be an enlightened, authentic brand in today’s world, you need to understand the “why” that motivates people online and offline to buy, choose, advocate or abandon a brand or cause.

Resonate’s ability to drive the “why” comes from more than 12,000 proprietary attributes, including values, motivations and other psychographics describing more than 200 million U.S. consumers. We marry this data with vertical-specific data and media consumption habits to paint the richest possible picture of consumers. Hundreds of B2C brands have used Resonate to take advantage of this understanding of “The Human Element.”

Over the years, Resonate’s fundamental principle of understanding people beyond the “what” – the facts that describe each of us, like demographics – has never faltered, but our ability to make these rich insights describing consumers accessible to marketers has grown significantly. We’ve been laser-focused on accelerating the speed with which marketers learn, and can then put our deep consumer insights into action.

Since the nature of our data can explain the “why,” and our big data and AI roots have allowed us to understand this at scale, we’re in a somewhat unique position to help marketers across the marketing lifecycle – from developing better strategy and more nuanced segmentation, to more engaging messaging, to more effective targeting for more efficient acquisition, to more resonant experiences that drive loyalty.

Since the “why” is central to the entire business, we’ve evolved our platform to serve the marketing organization and beyond. Our customers today use our platform for brand development, product marketing, product development and deeper strategy decisions. They use it to shape their very businesses and customer interactions offline and online.

What are the key components of any customer intelligence platform? 

Resonate approaches customer intelligence differently than any other company in the market right now. Unlike traditional market research, which takes months to conduct and ultimately only provides a point-in-time snapshot of your customers, Resonate offers a persistent, continuously updated perspective of your customers and prospects, and enables you to translate those insights into an actionable strategic advantage.

Just this month, we launched a new version of our Consumer Intelligence SaaS platform. The new Resonate R7 platform is built around three key drivers of business value: segmentation, intelligence and engagement. Here’s what that means in practice:

  • Segmentation Center: The launchpoint to all marketing journeys, Segmentation Center enables brands to define the audiences or segments that they want to understand more deeply. Defined as any combination of Resonate Elements data, customer first-party data, or third-party data, clients can study existing personas or segments, or discover and explore entirely new ones. Whether defining existing customer segments, prospects, or competitor customer profiles, Resonate offers the richest segmentation logic available.
  • Intelligence Center: Intelligence Center is what makes the complex task of extracting deep consumer insights from an ocean of data simple. Resonate templated reports and deeper interactive analytical tools help separate the strategically important from the unimportant. The richness of Resonate’s 12,000 attributes gives marketers a multi-dimensional view into consumer behavior, from the values and motivations influencing decisions, to the TV shows your customer watch, to the websites they visit and the mobile apps they use. Resonate can also use its research factory to gather custom, brand-specific data.

In minutes, our clients can gain a much richer view of their customer segments, and fundamentally re-shape how they engage those clients to drive greater marketing success.

  • Engagement Center: Resonate’s promise has always been to help marketers from marketing strategy through engagement, with the data best suited to this purpose. Through Engagement Center, marketers have the ability to take the knowledge, segments, and audiences identified through their data and engage with consumers across many channels including programmatic, social, and OTT. Resonate is integrated with many of the leading marketing platforms including Adobe Campaign Manager, demand-side platforms, data management platforms, and social platforms. The Resonate API extends insights into other systems that manage customer and prospect engagement including web personalization and customer experience management.

What makes Resonate a go-to platform for martech and analytics? 

Much of the data that traverses the digital world was expressly created to drive ad targeting online, where scale matters much more than accuracy. But when you’re driving eight to nine-figure marketing strategy decisions, data quality becomes the primary driver. In today’s era of transparency and privacy concerns, having trusted data from reliable sources has never been more important. Resonate’s data was designed expressly for this purpose – quality data that can help marketers gain the deepest possible understanding of their customers, and the ability to transform those insights into action.

The Resonate R7 platform, powered by this “Human Element” data, can transform traditional flat personas created over the years into a three-dimensional view of customers that understands the values, motivations, and the true “why” associated with customer buying decisions.

And our success in recent years speaks for itself. Fueled largely by the need among B2C brands to gain deeper consumer intelligence to thrive and grow in the digital economy, Resonate has experienced 81 percent year-over-year revenue growth and a 122 percent year-over-year increase in EBITDA. Resonate Elements data delves into more than 14 vertical markets, so we’ve seen strength in key B2C verticals like banking, retail, and financial services. We have also seen massive growth in the CPG vertical, as these companies strive to gain a direct understanding of their consumers to fight disruption by upstart direct-to-consumer brands.

How is Resonate’s technology transforming the way modern brands do their marketing and sales?

Nearly all Marketing Technology innovation has been focused on making marketing execution faster – automating email campaign delivery and management so we didn’t need to manage with spreadsheets anymore, delivering and turning around online ad campaigns that are optimized automatically.

But almost no innovation has been focused on making marketers smarter. Leveraging all the measurability and big data available in today’s digital economy to help marketers fundamentally improve their strategy, and in turn their engagement activities.

By providing SaaS software that already includes this vast array of Resonate Elements data that can unify marketing strategy and action, marketers can get real insights about their current and prospective customers in hours, not weeks.

Resonate Consumer Intelligence provides:

  • Understanding of the person behind the transaction. We help you uncover the “why” that drives the “what” behind people’s everyday decisions, which leads to a deeper brand relationship.
  • More relevant, modern personas. Through big data and AI, we help companies build three-dimensional personas that go far beyond static demographics, and can observe in the real world how those customers are changing.
  • Resonate already knows your customers. So the ability to deliver new knowledge to inform decisions on Day One, and the ability to measure what’s working in real time, provides marketers the ability to adjust strategy and tactics with unprecedented speed.
  • Understanding competitors’ customers better than they do. Our verticalized knowledge of brands gives us a key understanding of what drives purchasing decisions in a category, and why consumers might switch brands.

Tell us more about your AI and machine learning initiatives at Resonate.

The 12,000 attributes describing more than 200 million U.S. consumers that powers Resonate’s Consumer Intelligence platform is the result of a massive research and data science factory.

Resonate continuously consumes vast volumes of data every day, from consumer survey research to online and offline consumer behavior signals. Terabytes of data every day.

Our research “factory” weaves all these data sets together and uses AI and machine learning to scale our understanding to hundreds of millions of consumers. This allows us to provide insights describing any consumer we see, but in a highly privacy-compliant manner. Since this is all automated, we can also gather custom research for our clients, asking consumers questions that only they would value, and through AI we can scale these predictions to millions of consumers as well.

Equally important is our ability to see how consumers’ attitudes are changing. So while we have a very deep understanding today, we are updating our understanding of consumers 150 billion times each day based upon new data. We continue to refine our AI infrastructure with new modeling techniques, like deep learning, and by introducing new data sets into our research factory.

What are the biggest challenges in measuring the ROI of any people-based advertising campaign? 

With a deeper understanding and better ways to reach consumers, marketers of course need to measure whether their efforts are working. Resonate’s measurement strategy answers questions like:

  • Have they responded? We measure campaign performance by seeing whether segments have interacted with digital touchpoints.
  • Are they being reached? We can get a real-time view into who’s being reached and on which channels.
  • Find more customers and new audiences. We can identify people who have shown an interest in the brand by making a purchase or requesting information and look at their behavior leading up to that event. Then, we find similar people to make connections. We identify who visited tagged digital properties, see what insights are trending, and create audiences of these insights to activate.

The biggest challenges in measuring ROI today remain the disconnectedness of many marketing channels from each other, and the inability to unify online marketing activities with offline purchases. While digital advertising is inherently an individual or device-level medium, the TV space still lives at the household level. When we try to join anonymously observed online marketing activity to offline sales results, or location-based store visits, the inherent limitations in available data mean that these ROI measures are projected, not observed.

These are industry challenges that will get solved over time, but in the course of years not months. In the meantime, Resonate offers the most advanced marketing measurement available.

Can you offer any predictions regarding the disruptive application of customer intelligence for B2B and B2C marketing initiatives?

First, we believe that the use of deep customer intelligence in B2B initiatives will continue to trail its adoption in B2C markets.

Second, we will continue to see companies that are embracing data-driven decision making separate themselves from the pack and widen the gap with competitors in their respective markets.

Third, we will see the leading companies move beyond use of their own data – their transactional data, or customer registration data – as the primary driver of their intelligence, to a hybrid world where they are looking to trusted third parties with high-quality data that bring entirely new dimensions of understanding of both their own customers and their competitors’ clients.

Finally, we will see the leading companies organize themselves to more rapidly make decisions based upon customer intelligence and make adjustments in real-time based on whether or not campaigns are working. This ability to not only optimize campaigns tactically, but to use learnings to alter strategy during the campaign as well, will profoundly improve ROI experienced by these thought-leading brands.

Our research has shown that every consumer has a core set of values, beliefs, and motivations that shape their decision to choose one brand over another. It is the understanding of this personal ecosystem that today’s marketers crave and that Resonate delivers.

Andy Hunn, Chief Operating Officer at Resonate, has over 20 years of experience driving success in high-growth startups across a diverse mix of technology sectors from such companies as Cybertrust, TruSecure, Apptix and Accenture.

resonate logo

Resonate is a pioneer in Consumer Intelligence Marketing, delivering deep understanding, dynamic insights, cross-channel engagement and analysis in a single, simple-to-use SaaS platform. Resonate has deep consumer insights and contextually relevant data across more than 12,000 attributes, including values, motivations and other psychographics, describing more than 200 million U.S. consumers. Hundreds of companies have used Resonate to reveal and engage “The Human Element,” a 360-degree understanding of their target segments that extends beyond traditional demographics, psychographics and behavioral data to uncover why consumers choose, buy or support certain brands, products or causes. Empowered with unparalleled insights, leading brands, agencies and organizations use the R7 platform to identify, engage and analyze these audiences, driving growth and increasing customer lifetime value.

Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Resonate is privately held and backed by Argentum Capital Partners, Revolution Growth, Greycroft Partners and iNovia Capital.