Data crunching is both a science and an art; many prominent proponents of 5G technology-the newest cellular wireless to help us navigate the online world-are focused on the breathtaking speed of content delivery. Sky Cassidy, CEO of MountainTop Data, says 5G's most important impact on marketers is the ability to connect, analyze the needs and desires of customers, and combine customer data with 5G's potency to personalize their journey from intrigue to sale.
Information is power, or, more accurately, without information you are powerless. All of our senses collect information to allow us to make life-or-death decisions. Without this information, we are no more than a chicken nugget in need of ketchup.
Businesses are similar. They need information to know what direction to go, what life-and-death decisions to make. There are two types of information in this analogy: Information that keeps you from going off a cliff or being eaten, and information that helps you eat.
With COVID-19, many businesses are finding uncertainty in both areas. First, you have to make sure you’re not going off a cliff, then you’ve got to eat. Eating, that’s where direct marketing data comes into play. Business need leads for the sales team to close.
Everybody tosses the word “data,” but few actually know what it actually means and does. MountainTop Data CEO Sky Cassidy explains the 6 different kinds of data everyone should know something about in order to avoid confusion.
Whether you subscribe to the scientific definition of data (information on which operations are performed by a computer transmitted in the form of electrical signals) or the philosophical definition (that which is known utilized as the basis of reasoning or calculation), MountainTop Data CEO Sky Cassidy thinks most people use the word “data” incorrectly.
Does data privacy even matter anymore? There are conflicting reports detailing how data privacy works, when its safeguards fail, and what to expect in the future. In this taxing time, Sky Cassidy, CEO of MountainTop Data, says there needs to be a middle ground, where consumers trust providers to use their data responsibly, and marketers employ cleaner user data to create better online experiences.
Can your customers trust their personal data when it’s captured online? Perceptions are dangerously skewed right now, from a widespread mistrust of media to underreported cybersecurity breaches of companies that rely on customer information. How much are B2Bs willing to lose if their customers’ data is compromised? More importantly, how can consumers and businesses coexist in sharing personal data? Sky Cassidy, CEO of MountainTop Data, offers suggestions as to how to deal with these and more pressing matters.
There’s a disconnect between willingly surrendering privacy data and the consequences of a data breach. Even as businesses struggle to survive the COVID-19 landscape, their customers believe their personal data is less secure than ever.(1) There’s also the cost of doing business: a single data breach has a global average toll of more than $3 million, according to IBM. (2) Corollary effects include lost productivity as well as indeterminate costs incurred by poor data quality, which aren’t easily quantifiable.
Asked what one of the biggest market challenges is these days, Cassidy says, “Privatization.” (3) Just as companies use regulations and fear to drive customers to their paid proprietary platforms, anxiety among consumers about their increased exposure can corrupt platforms’ functionality and degrade the quality of users’ experiences. Not enough companies have the strategy and IT resources to play fair with private data. Meanwhile, too many exist solely to collect information on online behaviors, and demographics. “Basically, you’ve invited a data vampire in,” said Cassidy. (4)
RSVD is a Los Angeles-based technology company that helps other companies manage events, reservations, and capacity. It has created a custom appointments platform that allows customers to book times to visit businesses or access amenities. Event organizers that use RSVD’s products can even make it possible for event attendees to skip the lines at beer tents, food trucks, and merchandise booths.
“This enables attendees to have a much better experience than if they need to wait in line for hours,” says Rommia White, RSVD’s general manager.
The company started when its founders saw the need for such a technology at the popular South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, a large-scale event for the interactive, film, and music industries that takes place in Austin, Texas, in the spring.
SXSW was one of the first major events canceled in 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Every other major event followed suit, ending the need for online reservations like those provided by RSVD. But at the same time, another opportunity was opening up for RSVD. Businesses of all sorts looking to maintain government-mandated social distancing standards could turn to RSVD to manage capacity.
“Right now, there are a lot of Band-Aid solutions for businesses to put in place before they reopen,” says Brandon Stuart, chief marketing officer and cofounder of RSVD. “While our original business model was built on the ideas of convenience and that people did not want to waste time standing in line, the outbreak of COVID-19 and the necessity of social distancing made us realize our technology could be used to increase safety and help implement social distancing, and that the technology would be valuable to all types of businesses where people typically have to wait in line or for an appointment. And those types of businesses include farmers’ markets, gyms, small businesses, franchises—any business that doesn’t have a tech team or big budget to build the technology themselves.”
But to pivot to this new market, the company needed to find a way to promote its capabilities. It connected with MountainTop Data to do just that.
MountainTop Data started by helping RSVD identify target audiences. It provided RSVD with on-demand access, through the TopData Search platform, to its business marketing database so RSVD could pull whatever target contact data it wanted.
"Sometimes I think the guests are surprised at the conversation we have. They’ve probably been on many podcasts and are used to answering a list of pre-prepared questions. Almost everything we ask is based on our curiosity about something they just said."
As a part of my series about “5 Things You Need to Know to Create a Bingeable Podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sky Cassidy.
Advertisers take a lot of flak when it comes to mining data that gives customers a better experience online and offline. No one can dispute that the industry has managed to develop expertise -- perhaps too much.
Technology can find the correct nuggets and combine the information from numerous platforms and databases to target across channels -- from connected technology and radio to searches on Google or Bing. And the recent redesign of Google Analytics is said to have significantly improved the measurement of targeting for advertisers.
Sky Cassidy, CEO of MountainTop Data, a data provider to some of the biggest U.S. brands such as Motorola, and Symantec, says dirty data -- which he defines as any type of inaccurate information -- has become dirtier during COVID, at least for B2B.
Planning, content and guest selection are at the foundation of a successful podcast strategy
The new at-home lifestyle brought about by the onset of COVID has driven a significant increase in the numbers of listeners and the numbers of programs in the podcasting and audio-streaming space, and where the channel was a secondary or tertiary option for most marketers, having a podcast strategy is now part of many marketing plans for 2021.
“Podcasting is still a vast, open space that brands are smart to jump into,” said Lindsay Tiepkema, CEO of Casted, a podcast-centered marketing platform. “When you consider there are about 1 million podcasts, but more than 600 million blogs, you can see how much opportunity still exists for brands to own their own space,” she continued. “And listenership continues to rise dramatically, even in the midst of a pandemic, as people are actively seeking connection. Podcasts that offer that ability to connect an audience with a brand like not other form of content can and, in doing so, build trust and loyalty.”
When businesses looking for leads rely on outdated—even fake—data, their efforts will not only cost them money but, more importantly, the allocation of valuable resources to an empty lead. But when they have access to the right data, it can lead to success. Sky Cassidy, CEO of MountainTop Data, says there are specific steps marketers need to take to ensure their data is clean.
A recent study shows that 3.96 billion people are currently using social media—that’s more than half of the world’s total population.(1) The increase includes more than one million new users since July 2019 which is 12 new users every second.(2) The data to create new leads from these new users could be a boon for any business but Sky Cassidy, CEO of MountainTop Data, says it is imperative that businesses have correct, clean data.
1/3rd of small businesses start with less than $5K while a whopping 77% use personal funds as their financing method, which is why entrepreneurs are getting wiser on how they spend their marketing dollars. Despite the power of social media marketing, statistics show that Facebook ads lack in producing high ROIs for businesses, whereas email lists remain to be the most influential business generators.
"In the past, the schemers were probably being hired by AdSense account holders to commit ad fraud. Once Google shut that down, they decided to do it to people and make them pay to not do it," Cassidy speculated. "They're taking their tools, pointing them at legitimate people, and making them look like the bad guys."
The concept of dark data sounds ominous, even sinister. But it is very important in the technology world. “To make it more relatable, dark data is like all of the photos on your devices,” said Sky Cassidy, who is the CEO of MountainTop Data. “Most of them will never be used or even viewed again, but they are there.
As the name suggests, Martech is the blending of marketing and technology. However, having the system and understanding the data are two entirely different animals. Presently, only 13 percent of marketers are confident that they're able to fully utilize the data they get from their MarTech tools . In part, this may be because the technology itself overshadows its ultimate purpose.