TechBytes with Spencer Pingry, Chief Technical Officer, Zaius

Spencer Pingry

Spencer Pingry
Chief Technical Officer, Zaius

Zaius gives B2C marketers the power to own customer data. This data enables marketer’s to grasp their customers’ shopping patterns and engage them with personalized, omnichannel campaigns. To understand how should a brand leverage Testing and Optimization software for marketing campaigns, we spoke to Spencer Pingry, Chief Technical Officer, Zaius.

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

Zaius empowers B2C marketers to better understand how their customers shop and to engage them more effectively. Our technology focuses on solving a core industry problem that exists today. Marketing has always had two systems: analytics systems and execution systems. Our platform incorporates those two systems together, rather than optimizing within those two systems, so we can make marketers more efficient, independent and creative. We call this a B2C CRM. To do this, our team does everything from real-time event collection and triggering to analytics to the execution that helps get the message out to the ecosystem. It’s a broad platform that solves this industry problem across the marketing stack, instead of focusing on a narrow problem, use case or channel.

I am responsible for leading the long-term technology vision of the Zaius platform as the chief technology officer. Our product team works towards objectives that we want to solve for the market. For example, how do we make the communication across multiple channels require as minimal effort as possible? We weave customer feedback, client service feedback, and sales feedback into that process, which can either refine the objective or create a new one.

How is Zaius different from other CRM platforms?

We define a B2C CRM as the one place where all of your customer data lives, creating a single source of truth on which to base business decisions and manage customer engagement. Traditional B2B CRM platforms focus on the long-term management of the potential customer and have a strong emphasis on the sales process. However, B2C is about behaviors, consumers, channels and engagement, whereas the B2B space is more focused on accounts, leads and workflow. Our technology is different because it is oriented around consumers and behaviors, who they are and how you infuse that data into the execution system. B2C marketers need actionable data to segment customers and offer targeted, personalized marketing across channels. Our B2C CRM helps marketers keep track of exactly where customers are in their buying journey based on granular behavioral data, which B2B CRMs cannot effectively do.

How does Zaius define Personalization- Segmentation- Optimization, and Automation at various stages of the Customer Lifecycle? How do you manage customer experiences at each level of this journey?

With personalization, some businesses need product recommendations, while others don’t. The important thing is that our platform can handle many different types of businesses across the stack. Consumers’ behaviors drive messages, engagement, and personalization. We try to infuse that source of truth into the segmentation so that people belong to the right segment. For example, you can send a newsletter, but the person’s behaviors dictate more important content as part of that newsletter. You can still include promotional content, but we want to make sure that the right content is also in that newsletter, given that they’re likely to open it.

You can automate the execution triggered by behaviors. Those include post-purchase follow-up, abandoned cart, browse abandonment, search abandonment, newsletters with optimized content, service follow-up or any behavior that’s important to the business. The behaviors can be prioritized so that the right set of content can be delivered to each individual.

How do you assess the accuracy and performance of your customer/audience data and reporting tools?

We do a lot of reconciliation in the onboarding process to earn trust. We walk through the process of validating against previous systems, but then we move past that because it becomes more accurate from that point on. As you gather all this data, you start to resolve identities and the more of these resolutions you make, the more you get these complete perspectives of customers.

For example, one of our customers realized it had high-value customers who had completely fallen out of its communications. These were people they should have been targeting and messaging to, but could not because they hadn’t stitched together those customers’ identities on various devices and channels. They’ve identified these pockets of people who keep popping up because we’ve stitched together these data points to identify their really high-value customers.

Why should brands leverage Testing and Optimization software for marketing campaigns?

General testing and optimization are always good. The more you can test variations and leverage a system like Zaius to help handle all the heavy lifting, the more efficient you will become. It’s important for marketers to make sure they can test for the right variables. For example, if you’re a global brand trying to test cheeky subject lines and your testing doesn’t account for the locations of recipients, that’s a problem. The way people react to humor internationally differs.

Which marketing technologies fascinate you the most?

One of the interesting things that has happened in marketing technology is the general programmatic or API ecosystem that’s evolved – all these delivery systems that specialize in channels that are very API-driven. Look at direct mail as an example. Here is a channel that has been heavily utilized over time, then it went away a little bit. Now it’s coming back because there are a lot of ways to do programmatic direct mail. Everything API-driven has been awesome for the ecosystem. I love when people expose things through API that were previously considered un-exposable. That fuels the ecosystem.

How do you leverage AI/ML and data science at Zaius? Which AI companies are you particularly interested in?

We leverage AI/ML for things like product recommendations and segmentation, and we will continue to develop these capabilities. For example, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will help marketers optimize their day-to-day efficiency, as well as get a bigger-picture look at what they might be missing based on algorithms and reasoning.

That process of algorithms leading marketers through reasoning to trust and execution is one that nobody has solved well yet. However, Google is doing a ton in this space to make tools and processes available quickly. Amazon similarly released SageMaker and companies like DataRobot are exploring this, as well. All these developments accelerate our mission to empower marketers.

What is the one message for 2018-2022 that you want to share with other CTOs in the marketing and sales automation industry?

Marketing is an ecosystem. The more API-driven the ecosystem is, the better for marketers, especially as companies get acquired and the landscape shifts. Everybody’s going to have their lanes and there’s going to be some overlap, but we need to facilitate the connection from vendor to vendor and let marketers choose how to use what’s available.

Thanks for chatting with us, Spencer.
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