Adam Corey, vice president of marketing, Tealium, talked to Loyalty360 about how his company helps brands and the importance of gaining a holistic view of the customer.

Founded in 2008 in San Diego, Tealium is the leader in real-time customer data solutions and enterprise tag management, with a universal approach to managing ever-increasing data sources. Tealium’s Universal Data Hub–comprised of a customer data platform, enterprise data management, and tag management–enables organizations to seamlessly connect and manage all of their marketing applications and fragmented data sources.

What is your role at Tealium?
Corey: It really is about evangelizing and explaining what Tealium is all about as a product and focusing on our core mission: To help companies build true customer-at-center strategies, know the places they’re engaging, build experiences for their customers, and collect data about how their customers are engaging with them.
We believe it’s important for companies to have a holistic view of their customers so they can build loyalty for the long-term.

What is the biggest challenge that your clients face today in creating measurable experiences to drive customer loyalty?
Corey: As an industry, we’ve done some great things as far as building digital experiences. One of the challenges our customers face is the data they have is siloed in many systems. The problem then becomes when they want to stitch all of that together to understand how one customer wants to engage with their brand.

A lot of times these systems don’t talk to each other. We want to be able to connect those silos across the organization and across all of the tools we use to build a true omnichannel experience.

What does Tealium do?
Corey: Tealium was founded to help brands migrate and manage their analytics implementations and all the tags they use on their websites.

For us, it was about managing and making sure brands were collecting data about their customers’ digital experiences in a way that allows it to be useful and accurate. We want to make sure we’re level-setting with a single view of the customer, regardless of what application, what channel or what device they use.

Can you offer an example?
Corey: I might have data sitting in a mobile analytics solution, then I might have back-end CRM systems that measure my in-store POS information or a loyalty database. Generally, these systems aren’t linked up. It’s not something that is actionable within the organization when you need to query it on the fly.

Tealium wants to be that connective tissue that fits with all of the brands and technologies.

We’re not looking to be your email provider. We’re focusing on connecting all of those channels, devices, vendors, and teams together. It’s a data orchestration play.

Who are you competing with?
Corey: There is an emerging category coming together of customer data platforms. Since we started in 2008, we have always been focused on making sure brands understand their customers. We’re now seeing lots of programs popping up seeking to ‘solve’ this–which is great validation for us in this space.

Why do DMPs have an interest in the ad tech world?
Corey: I think because it’s been right in front of people. Buying third-party data to build an audience for advertising purposes is a heck of a lot easier than getting your first-party data in a unified place where you can act on it with a strategy.

A lot of companies started by looking at ad tech to solve a customer data pain point–but we’re about using that data and providing value back to the end customer, and that’s very different than an ad tech use case. What you can’t take away is the relationship you have created with that end customer. That’s where the equity is being built.

Is there a mindset shift for brands?
Corey: There is a large trend revolving around how do I re-examine my organization, processes, and CX to make sure I’m building something that is truly customer-first, by leveraging data and technology? As organizations, we have to look at our customer data as being customer-centric on a really practical level, and less as a buzzword.

We’re seeing a shift where it’s possible to have reporting that focuses on people–brands and organizations are looking at better understanding how customers are engaging with their business.

Are we doing all we can to honor our customers? There is a competitive need that centers on ‘am I building something in the best interest of my customers?’–brands must understand what customers truly care about holistically and how they’re engaging with their brand.

We’re seeing an emergence of concern and focus on putting processes in place to be transparent with end users, and making sure the data collected is being used fairly, correctly, and in the best interests of the customer.

What challenges are you seeing in the loyalty industry?
Corey: The high-level challenge we’re seeing is that organizations feel the need to connect data silos because there is a poor experience they want to improve, that is currently operationally inefficient.

They want to consolidate and act on that data altogether. We want to help solve that data fragmentation problem.

Our real belief is that organizations are still searching for answers. We’re in an early adopter phase of this approach and many companies are on the journey of solving this ‘customer-at-center’ strategy.

Collaboration and education–combined with best practices and having the right framework in place–is really key here.

How do you create simplicity for brands?
Corey: Take a deep breath and remind ourselves that this isn’t new. It’s been the same for centuries. What’s new is that we have technologies we might not have had at the old corner store.

Let’s describe and build a data layer and define a data dictionary. Brands should ask ‘how do I understand my campaign for my customers and products’ ¬– then let’s map that to channels, vendors, and technologies.
Let’s see how we’re engaging with our customers and then decide together what technology fits with that.

How are you addressing omnichannel/multichannel?
Corey: We work with lots of different companies. Omnichannel isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that has accelerated its meaning. For some, it means a TV app or a wearable device. The concept of omnichannel is engaging with something every day.

That’s where omnichannel is radically different to buying a DVD a couple of times a year.

Omnichannel means a lot of different things and will probably mean different things in the years to come as customers continue to engage with various devices.

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