CORNER OFFICE CHAT: Claritas’ CEO Mike Nazzaro and COO Karthik Iyer Discuss The Recent Acquisition Of AcquireWeb

Q. Tell us about AcquireWeb. What made it an acquisition target for Claritas?

Mike Nazarro: AcquireWeb is an attractive acquisition for three reasons. First off, they have built an impressive identity graph solution, that when combined with the device graph of Barometric, a Claritas acquisition from November 2018, will encompass a proprietary data set of 95 million households and reach more than 900 million devices daily in the U.S., making it one of the industry’s largest and most comprehensive. A key differentiator of the graph is the 350MM+ emails that will enable us to create the linkage between the audiences and the channels and devices they choose to engage over the course of their buying journey.

Second, with AcquireWeb’s delivery capabilities we are able to complete Claritas’ Closed-Loop Marketing Solution. The AcquireWeb capabilities for audience creation and campaign execution, coupled with existing capabilities of Claritas, give clients the ability to plan, reach and measure their prospecting, retention and loyalty marketing initiatives. Leveraging the identity graph ensures our clients can deliver the right message to the right person, via the right marketing channel at the right time.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this acquisition brings with it a team of very talented people who will help us advance our digital marketing expertise and delivery capabilities to clients faster and more efficiently. We couldn’t be more excited.

Q. Where do AcquireWeb’s services fall in line with those from Claritas? How do they work together?

Karthik Iyer: With the addition of AcquireWeb, Claritas now offers a three-step closed-loop approach that helps marketers. One identifies their best audiences in a privacy compliant manner, using our enhanced offline and online data assets, which is where Claritas began. Two deliver those audiences to a client’s chosen channel audiences using AcquireWeb’ s online and offline connections for more effective campaign execution. Third, optimize campaigns through remarkably precise measurement in near-real-time, which is at the heart of Barometric’ s capability.

Q. What do you see as the biggest problem marketers are facing right now?

Mike Nazarro: We think there are four main problems facing marketers today. The first is that a complete view of the customer is lacking. Many clients lack the resources required to better understand their CRM customers, nor can they identify and connect the insights necessary to create the optimal prospect audiences to target.  They are often missing pieces of the puzzle.
Second is the inability or difficulty in creating an effective omnichannel strategy. Most marketers are unable to build the linkage between their audiences and the preferred channels and devices they engage with throughout their buying journey.

The third problem comes down to data quality. There’s a lack of confidence in the quality of internal and external data being used to make critical audience targeting decisions. Whether or not the data being used meets required compliant standards also continues to be a focus as well.

And the biggest problem, in my estimation, is the difficulty in measuring effectiveness. When you talk to CMOs there is a lack of confidence in campaign measurement and optimization tools that are being used. Many clients also can’t measure whether they are reaching their optimal audience across channels or understand where the conversions are truly happening.

Q. How does this move address that? How will this impact the industry?

Mike Nazarro: Many marketers don’t really know the impact of their cross-channel marketing. Did your direct mail campaign drive conversions through your website or in-store? Imagine being able to use one partner to identify, deliver and optimize all campaigns from start to finish, so you can be confident that your marketing budget is well spent. No more worrying that you are measuring invalid audiences (or bots) as traffic. And, more importantly, you can obtain a true measure of conversion from direct mail to digital to see where and how people are really converting. No more guessing.

In today’s increasingly fractured media landscape, relying on cross-platform customer identification, verification and campaign optimization tools is the only way marketers can be sure their dollars are reaching their targeted audiences most effectively.

Q. What will marketers get out of this?

Mike Nazarro: With the acquisition of AcquireWeb, and Barometric and Geoscape before that, we now have the major building blocks for what we call the Claritas 2.0 framework in place. The win for our clients includes Essential consumer insights and winning methodologies to find your best customers with precision and scale across all channels; The ability to build the ideal audiences and understand what you don’t know about your potential customers (those visiting your website or store location); The confidence that you are reaching real people who are in-market; The capability to execute campaigns in both an omnichannel and single-channel capacity; The tools needed to track your performance across all channels using the metrics that matter most, like transactions; and, The power to make campaign adjustments, so you can sell smarter every time.

Q. Claritas has been growing fast. First with Geoscape, then Barometric, now AcquireWeb – what does this growth allow you to do?

Karthik Iyer: This acquisition is the third that Claritas has made in the past year. It largely completes the transformation of Claritas from a marketing segmentation firm into a digitally powered marketing solutions firm helping companies find customers at greater scale and with more precision – Claritas 2.0. By investing in new technologies, we believe we can increase marketing efficiency, delivery and campaign measurement capabilities across media channels in real-time using both offline and online data. And, by combining the best-in-class segmentation of Claritas with the cross-platform measurement and verification that Barometric makes possible, businesses can better understand their leads’ behavior from mobile apps, to desktop, to in-store, or even intra-household purchasing paths across a family’s separate devices.

Q. Can you provide an example of how a marketer could use the combined tools and services from Claritas and its acquisitions?

Karthik Iyer: Claritas’ strength comes from helping companies find their best customers. Once the audiences are defined, we can now tell them exactly how their targeted audiences are influenced by the advertising they consume and how they buy as a result – whether that be through digital means such as email, mobile, desktop or tablet, or via traditional media such as TV, direct mail or even out of home (OOH)– so they can optimize their advertising message.

Once a campaign is launched, we measure the sales and cost-effectiveness of the campaigns using multiple data points, both online and offline. Companies can use this analysis to verify their ad spends, measure campaign effectiveness, streamline costs and optimize their audiences in-flight.

Q. What is your vision for Claritas? What will it look like a year from now or three years from now?

Mike Nazarro: Claritas will move deeper and further into delivery, measurement and optimization.  Our goal will be to help our clients maximize their marketing spend.  We going to focus on measurement to include multi-touch attribution, ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) and the addition of new programmatic channels; Expanding campaign execution and delivery of target to include channels beyond email, social and display. Also, continuous development of syndicated segmentation and descriptive data for audience creation; and development of robust machine learning algorithms to create more accurate and relevant audiences.

Q. Looking at the big picture, this time next year the ad tech world will be talking about what?

Karthik Iyer: Privacy and compliance in targeting – with the CCPA going into effect in 2020 it’s already a key topic. I also think interactive, subscription-based, programmatic TV and streaming services will be big. We’re going to see more interactivity, I think, akin to Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch.

Another topic will be whether the ad-driven marketing ecosystem could be breaking – media’s moving into closed systems without advertising or limited advertising.  Could we see a resurgence of print or direct mail? Along with that, changes in the distribution of media will continue with more cord cutting, smart TVs, watches, appliances and VR.  Finally, AI and machine learning while still in its infancy will continue to evolve and get better with the help of learning algorithms.