Intelligent Marketer Podcast Episode 18: How Marketers Handle Data w/ Stewart Maurer

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The marketing world has changed.  

For years marketers have been focused on data mining en masse, but now that we’ve reached a point of unprecedented information collection, what do we do with it?

We’re past the point where just reading the data is enough.  Throwing numbers on a spreadsheet has given way to the reality that we’re being trusted with other people’s personal information, and mishandling this can lead to poor conclusions or even business scandals.

In a world with massive amounts of data, what we do with that data matters.



Connect the Data with the Person

Behind every piece of personal data is a person.  It’s easy to forget when you’re tasked with combing through and making sense of seemingly limitless data points.

Stewart Maurer is the Vice President of Marketing at Crownpeak.  He leads what he calls a “small but mighty” team at Crownpeak, which helps marketers by providing them the tech to build websites that engage prospects by creating personalized, relevant experiences.

Although Stewart attributes the lion share of growth to a relatively new CEO with an aggressive strategy, present under that umbrella is effective data sharing throughout a blended company.  More present than ever is the notion of developing relationships, not just with coworkers, but also with customers and potential clients.

“It’s no different than building a relationship in the real world,” Stewart says, “If you meet someone and share information with that person, you’re basically building a trust.  They’re trusting you won’t abuse that - make them embarrassed or do something wrong.” He builds relationships in hopes of becoming a trusted ally.


Trusted Advisors safeguard data.

The closing of Cambridge Analytica marks a transition in corporate accountability with regards to personal data.

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“I have to make sure I’m compliant with the law, but also making sure that a person knew exactly what they were signing up for.  It forces us to go back to basics a little bit and get more one-to-one. We have to know what they want in order to send them specific content.”

Stewart believes that clients and potential customers are already telling us what they want.  We simply need to provide what they’re asking for, the data having taken some of the prediction work out of the game.


New laws are coming.

The  GDPR is set to roll out May 25th in the EU, which will affect U.S. businesses.  In light of the Facebook scandal and its implications in political influence, there could be more like this to follow in the US.

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Stewart has some advice for helping marketers accommodate this change.  Key tangible steps:

  • Engage with your legal counsel.  Or get outside counsel to help you understand how this applies to you and what you need to do to comply.  Going into it with the mindset that you are probably affected by it is best.
  • Embrace it.  It’s coming whether we like it or not, but gives us a chance to rethink how we’re connecting with our audiences.  Looking at it fundamentally may provide an exceptional opportunity for transition or transformation.
  • Look at your privacy policy.  Making sure this is written unambiguously and easy to ready by as many people as possible will help circumvent problems right from the onset.
  • Solidify your integrity. It’s as much about adhering to the spirit of the law as the letter of the law.  If we’re thinking about our clients as human beings and actually building a relationship with them, we’re probably not going to go too far wrong.

Reading the data

Stewart considers himself a bit of a data junkie.  He advises us to put the investment into making sure the data is clean and is rolled out to your team to make things better one day at a time.  

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A design is only clever if it works.  We’ve all invested in tools that allow us to collect tons of data, but it’s important that this data is actionable.

“We sell a web content management tool.  What exactly am I doing with all the information I’ve been collecting?” Stewart asks.  “Our tech stacks take in more and more personal information from our clients, which is fantastic for personalization, but it’s also made data and personal information a bit of a commodity.  We’re moving away from big data to ‘begged’ data”


This post is based on a Intelligent Marketer podcast with Stewart Maurer. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Intelligent Marketer Podcast here. If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to the podcast here.

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