While building enterprise scale marketing software at Appature and IMS Health, our founders were struck by how many companies were using only a fraction of their customer data. Business leaders, data specialists, and marketers all knew that they needed to leverage more of their customer data in order to compete, and they went to extreme measures in an effort to do so.
We watched as brands spent tens of millions of dollars and thousands of people-hours on schema mapping, manual data cleaning, normalization, and ETL coding to transform data into usable formats. When the databases were ultimately built and populated, they were rigid and prone to break if data was missing or incorrect, or when new data sources were added. Simply put, the outcomes utterly failed to deliver and grew worse every day.
The most formidable hurdle, however, was identity resolution at scale. Consumer brands have neither the software nor the expertise to resolve customer identities across sources. Most technologies require common keys in order to link records and form customer profiles, but the majority of systems have not been built to integrate with one another. This means no common keys, no matches, no unified customer profiles, and a huge amount of valuable customer data wasted.
This firsthand look at the struggle to make data actionable galvanized us to find an answer. We vetted countless vendors that claimed to solve this problem, but all were using the same manual, slow, and incomplete methods we had seen fail again and again. We talked to roughly a hundred brands and they all shared the same data struggles. After realizing that no purchased or built-in-house platform offered the capabilities that brands needed to unify and activate all their customer data, we set out to build a solution ourselves.