Put together a bona fide expert in CDP, a serial entrepreneur in the data enablement and advertising technology space, and a business-savvy leader who experienced a meteoric rise to the top of the industry. Add in one of the most challenging problems in businesses today: transforming customer data into a strategic asset and maximizing the value of every customer. These are the fundamental ingredients for Actable—a customer data accelerator that helps enterprises, acquire, organize, enhance and activate first-party data.
It was early 2019 when Craig Schinn, a marketing leader with nearly two decades of experience in ecommerce, digital marketing, and customer data platforms (CDP) spotted a gaping marketing gap. As someone who had significant experience working with a CDP, Schinn saw from close quarters how clients struggled through implementation due to a lack of alignment of their teams, inability to gain access to certain datasets, or to achieve certain use cases. The catalyst was the realization that the struggle clients were facing was not a technology problem. “Technology was there to deliver data to specific systems in real time. However, there was a skill gap problem and a lack of a service component. There’s always more focus on the technology to the disservice of the enterprise because they are in many ways unprepared to manage the skills, service and strategic gap that’s hinders the technology from working seamlessly and fetching the desired results. The way the technology is deployed and the organizational needs and skills required to make those technologies work effectively is critical,” says Schinn.
That summer Schinn had a fortuitous outreach from long-time former colleague, Matt Greitzer. Matt had recently sold his programmatic media company, Accordant Media, to a large agency holding company, and was considering his next act.
“I knew the next big phase of marketing evolution was going to focus on first party customer data. I thought there might be an opportunity to bridge the technology and service gap – similar to what we did with Accordant in the programmatic space – and help shape this evolution as a leader in the field. I called Craig, because I knew he knew a lot about the industry. Craig and I worked together for many years in the past, and pretty quick realized we were speaking the same language. About three weeks later we had founded Actable!”
A third co-founder, Michael Baumgaertner, soon brought a new element to the mix. Michael had recently left his role as a senior executive at Accordant Media (where he had worked for Greitzer for many years) and was greatly influenced by the impact of customized data sciences for marketers. “We discovered that in the technology landscape, marketers have an advantageous position if they leverage custom predictive algorithms right from the start. They learn how to use and deploy their proprietary data sets—the first party data—and own to their advantage as opposed to being too reliant on external parties to do the same for them. Fostering such consolidation patterns in the martech landscape, we started as an early accelerator for brands who are looking to develop that advantage by doing more with and owning the value of their first party data,” adds Baumgaertner.
Make Your Customer Data Work Better
Actable is an accelerator for marketing technologies that handle first-party customer data like customer data platforms, multi-channel marketing tools, and more. At the core, Actable is singularly focused on one aspect: make customer data work better. In doing so, the team empowers clients with its rich expertise and solutions to analyze, enhance, orchestrate and activate customer data through their owned and licensed data and technology stack to maximize marketing impact. The company’s solutions are underpinned by three essential components: consulting, delivery, and data science practices. The consulting practice from Actable enables companies in their early phase of development in the way they approach, activate, and organize their customer data. “We work with enterprises as a strategic guide to help them figure out the organizational structure, the technical infrastructure, and the use cases for activating customer data. Our clients can then choose to collectively craft a plan with us on how to get started, and turn our strategic advice into practical action and application.” explains Greitzer, co-founder and CEO of Actable.
As a company, we are not only focused on the technology, but also how the technology gets deployed to create results
The consulting practice is followed by the delivery practice, whereby the Actable team executes against customer data organization analytics and deployments on behalf of the clients. In some cases, this involves operating the client’s customer data platform, while in others, helping them to integrate different data systems and deploy those data into outbound marketing channels. The delivery practice also allows the Actable team to provide clients with hands-on database design and deployment to make the data more accessible to the clients.
Matt Greitzer, Co-Founder and CEO; Craig Schinn, Co-Founder; Michael Baumgaertner, Co-Founder
Lastly, the data science practice is delivered by Actable’s expert data sciences team that deploys machine learning against the client’s customer data. The company’s AI-based modeling and business intelligence solutions empower marketers with critical insight into customer value, customer journey, and cross-channel behaviors across the customer lifecycle. Machine learning also allows Actable to enhance and augment client’s customer data with demographic, behavioral, and intent signals to create a comprehensive view of their customers across a spectrum of unique and compelling data points. “Deploying machine learning against customer data enhances and augments the data that our customers have with intelligence, which then allows for better segmentation, better marketing investment and better messaging to their end customers. This is coupled with insights that we feed back to our customer base, so they can get smarter about who their customers are,” adds Greitzer. Interestingly, clients hold the authority to choose any one of the solutions or all three solutions according to their needs.
A Game-Changer in the CDP Landscape
The uniqueness of Actable stems from the fact that it does not try to retrofit client’s problems into an existing software framework. Instead, the company focuses entirely on the clients’ business challenges and architects a solution to meet the specific need. This customization capability of the company draws in potential clients and truly drives significant business value, especially in data sciences practice. “Many businesses invest in software to solve customer data problems but don’t get the proper ROI as the stakeholders involved don’t necessarily have the right skill sets or understanding to make the software work to enable a good ROI. We come in and supercharge a business’s ability to get a return out of software investments, with our skill sets and knowledge in conjunction with their internal teams,” mentions Craig Schinn, Co-Founder of Actable.
Actable’s unique value proposition can be best explained with a couple of client success stories. A major U.S. bank approached Actable, as they wanted to make an investment in a customer data platform but had limited knowledge on platform implementation and deployment across a complex enterprise. Rollout was further complicated by significant constraints in the IT department, preventing full support and engagement, which created severe limitations to the data sets that could go into the customer data platform.
Addressing this issue, Actable had a firm plan with data that was more accessible without a complete deployment, and it served as a pilot for the client to understand the impact of that rollout. Later, the experts at Actable collected 100 data points and worked on-site personalization use cases that combined products that the user had with some demographic data sourced from a third-party to observe how likely someone was willing to become a mortgage holder. Within 60 days of this pilot deployment, the client drove an 800 percent lift in people applying for a mortgage among users. In reality, what Actable achieved in this limited timeframe is rare when it comes to the customer data platform landscape.
Actable’s ascension to success and continued presence at the front of the customer data landscape is a testament to the value it brings to the table for marketers across a broad range of industry verticals. Actable fundamentally focuses on the strategy, service, and science required to accelerate customer data. In this day and age, every business enterprise, regardless of the size and industry, wants to understand all about customer data and how they can directly engage with them. This is precisely where Actable is in a league of its own. “As a company, we are not only focused on the technology, but also how the technology is going to get deployed,” asserts Greitzer.
With a strong foothold, the company will be focusing on two major components in the days to come. Firstly, building the business to scale by adding a leadership team and expanding delivery capabilities to meet the demand of fabricating a high-performing professional services organization. Secondly, the team of experts will be concentrating more on data sciences as it is one of the most productized areas of the company.