Our very own, Chris Matty, Co-founder and CRO of Versium will kick off our new interview series 5 Questions with Versium: The State of Data in Martech. During this series, we will be interviewing influential thought leaders within the marketing, advertising, and data technology worlds to gain insights into the who, what, where, why, and when of marketing data. We’re in a pivotal moment in history in how data is reported, secured, and shared – so let’s learn more!
(Heads up, Chris answers a few bonus questions…)
Q1: What inspired you to create Versium? And, why this field?
Chris: Marketing departments had few solutions liberating the value of data. CRMs were a good starting point, but people quickly found data quality and consistency issues introduced tedious challenges. Scaling up data engineers and scientists to address these challenges are expensive propositions, so we designed Versium’s tools to be the lifeboat for this industry: easy-to-use, non-techie, effective.
So, we set out to start a data technology company that leveraged our expertise in data and where to get it, which ignited our focus on data technology solutions for marketers. We folded in a very large volume of consumer data encompassing identity data like: email, phone numbers and address and insight data like: demographics, and financial attributes which ultimately became our universe of data. Fast forward to the present day, and we have billions of identity attributes, trillions of insights, and a suite of products that marketers use to improve their businesses.
Q2: As an entrepreneur, why choose to solve these specific data problems?
Chris: My passion is really about the strategies around creating a successful business. And I was very excited at the prospect of building and growing a company around Kevin’s data technology expertise. I quickly became enamored with how much improvement we saw with rudimentary modeling that marketers could get with our insight data and improvement in reaching targeting audiences with our identity data, even with rather limited data. And that’s when it clicked for me. That there was something to unlock. As we got into it, the startup, the whole concept of being data-driven in the marketing world was really taking off, and it was a clear realization that data is the future. It is a big, exciting, and an ever-evolving thing.
Q3: What is the driving passion for you? Issues surrounding identity or issues on how to make data more consequential?
Chris: Certainly, we have had our own challenges, but our accomplishments saw huge improvements to the direct marketing for major brands from, from Gap to Kansas City Steak. We regularly helped improve marketing engagement by over 60%. The targeting from our data delivered the highest performing results. That is a driving passion. Fold in the tremendous gains that we are helping B2B marketers achieve and it’s not incremental value we are creating but rather revolutionary value creation and that is very exciting.
Q4: This leads into the impact you’ve made on behalf of marketers. Tell us more:
Chris: The measurement is all around marketing ROI. Let’s take what we are doing to help b2b marketers with our product REACH as an example, their goal through various marketing activities is to bring in warm qualified leads for sales reps to pursue. What if we could reduce the cost per product demonstration by 40%. That would be considered a dramatic benefit. This has been the result, by being able to construct a B2B digital audience that effectively reaches the exact target audience at scale. Traditionally, this has not been easy to accomplish because the entire digital ad tech stack has been built to market to consumers. Often a B2B marketer can only reach 20%-30% of the business professionals they wish to target online. If you can map consumer identity data (i.e., a consumer email) to a business target list (i.e. business emails.), a marketer can now effectively reach that business target list and at a rate of up to 85% or 90% within the walled gardens and broader Internet. Now you’re unlocking the ability for the B2B marketer to tap into digital marketing, to build awareness campaigns in concert, with what they’ve done in the past, which is direct BDR, outreach and email marketing. That is a game changer and what is driving the reduced cost per demonstration described above.
I can give countless examples of how our identity and insights data is improving the ability to reach with highly targeted segmented audiences. And most importantly we are fully empowering marketers by giving them this data which provides full transparency and attribution tracking. Bottom line, it’s all about the drive toward revenue, better targeting placed in the hands of marketing and ad tech digital professionals creates more business opportunity and success.
Q5: Why is Versium a must have solution for companies struggling with the complexities of the data ecosystem?
Chris: I think the goal is to become ‘a must have.’ If we are a complete end to end data technology solution. There are many “point” solutions in the market that solve “a” problem. Companies don’t want to have to subscribe to 50 different SAAS products. That is why we continue to add new tools and capabilities so that marketers can solve most of their data problems with one product. It becomes a must have when a marketer can realize revolutionary gains vs incremental gains, meaning 2X increase in ROI vs 10%. And those that don’t engage with these solutions to realize the benefits will lose.
Q6: What has surprised you the most, after working in data for over 10 years?
Chris: How complicated the data ecosystem is. All the problems that reside within the data ecosystem, within the enterprise, from data silos, data errors and lack of standardization and normalization not to mention the aging of data. And all the data coming from a POS system, web log system, CRM system – and the other, different systems being touched by your audience. Different names for different records and duplicate records, along with bad standardization and normalization. These are the factors that impact ROI in the marketing world, and if they can be fixed, then we can optimize and realize greater value.
Q7: Tell me about the name of the company.
Chris: Verse refers to ‘prose’ and ‘words’. And then of course, ‘words’ are effectively ‘data’, and ‘data’ tells stories. We are creating and generating something meaningful to an audience because we have insights as to who the audience represents. Power of data and use of data to tell stories.
Q8: What are you most proud of after 10 years of doing this, running this company?
Chris: My co-founder, Kevin Marcus, and I agree that we have done so much with so little. From OEM partnerships with mega-tech companies like Microsoft, to newfound startups, we have found our solutions are valued up and down the food chain. While there is immense gratification in knowing we are solving problems for people, we know that our employees are the crown jewel. Our team has done a fantastic job making tools that are easy to use and extract value quickly!