Chris Comstock is Chief Product Officer at Claravine, a Utah-based company whose platform helps enterprise brands solve marketing taxonomy and metadata management problems. Doing so allows disparate teams access to data in a way that effectively “de-siloizes” it, thus unlocking its value.
I wanted to catch up with Chris to discuss in detail how his company’s platform works and how it’s typically applied by brands and agencies to make data flow more smoothly and intelligently within the organization. “We’re really just helping make all the systems and technology talk to each other, and so when you think about it from that metadata/taxonomy perspective, we’re making sure that everything gets set up properly so that data flows across the ecosystem; from an enterprise brand that’s from creative assets, to the website, to the landing pages, and the emails that are getting built by teams, and then ultimately to advertising, social posts, customer experiences that users activate, and then all the way down into the analytics system. So we’re making sure that that data all connects together.”
As Chris notes, Claravine is helping solve a problem that many people don’t want to talk about: “There are still so many people operating, copy/pasting from one system to another, working in spreadsheets, emailing spreadsheets back and forth. We’re helping to remove some of those bottlenecks.” Additionally, many sources of data — even if they’re clean and organized at the outset, can become dirtier and messier with the passage of time.
I wanted to query Chris on how marketers should think about dealing with the increase in data ambiguity that seems inevitable as the industry passes into the post-cookie era. “The world is moving to more privacy-centric marketing,” Chris observes. “I think that Apple has brilliantly taken a marketing tactic around removing identifiers, removing consumer information, and so it’s creating more and more blind spots for marketers. So we talk about the difference between observation and experimentation. And so, for the last 15 years, ad-tech and digital have gotten almost addicted to ‘if I saw someone do something — I saw an impression of an ad; they clicked on an email, I know that it must have had an impact.’ And so, really what’s happening, with third-party cookie eventually going away, that observation of ‘I know someone did something and I can trust it’ is going to have to change. And what that change means is that you start to have to trust those aggregate metrics. Everyone’s becoming a walled garden, whether that be Facebook; Google’s already there with their ads data hub — performance data that they’ll give you inside of the Google ecosystem. And so what we’re starting to see — and I think that’s where that market pull is happening — is you’ve got to be proactive to understand your data inputs in order to trust those outputs.”
In the remainder of our conversation, Chris and I discuss how the loss of granular visibility into audience segments may affect creative decisions, operational steps that organizations may need to take when reforming the way they handle data, the possible return of media mix modeling methodologies, and what Chris sees ahead for 2023 and beyond. “I think it’s finally coming to the point where privacy-centric marketing is going to finally tip over and be more the norm, especially here in North America, but at some point I think we’ll look back and be amazed by the things we did with third-party data, third-party cookies.”