We sat down with Eric Van Rensselaer, a product manager at Vibes, to discuss his journey from analytics intern to leading a data team that introduced the industry's first natural language processing messaging solution and Vibes Analytics Platform. Take a peek inside the mind of a mobile marketing data scientist and learn how you can use data to craft future strategies.
Could you describe what a brand that successfully puts data and analytics to work looks like?
Brands who win are bold about their strategy and are always the first to test new, innovative solutions. Successful brands think through the end-to-end customer experience. They ask, “what's important and meaningful to the customer?” and they shape their strategies around that insight.
Marketers need to pinpoint the right solutions to strategically engage their audience. Brands that take advantage of insights in our platform and engage consumers using a data-driven approach with their mobile campaigns are going to see a stronger return.
You started at Vibes back in 2012. Could you describe the mobile marketing landscape at that time and where you saw data and analytics start to emerge as a leading resource for mobile marketers?
I started as an MBA intern in customer analytics, working with customers on how their programs were performing. Mobile wasn't a priority back then; now, it's an integral piece in an effective marketing strategy. Since I joined, the industry has really evolved. Back then, it was the Wild West of mobile marketing and we became pioneers—tackling the unknowns of data strategy until we saw our customers succeed.
As an industry, we’ve graduated from monthly reporting via phone calls and Excel sheets to customers accessing real-time reporting via the platform. When I first started, customers asked, "how do I grow my database?" Their focus remained solely on customer acquisition and growing their audience as quickly as possible - it lacked personalization and targeting. Now, we see top brands segment their audience based on customer preferences and behavioral tendencies to drive consistent purchasing.
We're almost ten years in to the "Big Data" trend. What does “Big Data” mean to you?
The understandings and use of data vary. At the beginning, companies didn’t invest much in data; hardware and storage was expensive, the cloud was new, and it was challenging to implement data into a larger marketing strategy.
Now that data solutions are more accessible, the perception – and the industry – has shifted to prioritize data innovation. Now we’re moving the discussion forward, thinking about how data is not only about acquisition, but application. Having a strategy backed by data on who your customer is, and unveiling their buying behaviors, drives revenue. As Vibes scaled, we grew our understanding of clean, sensible data and how we can segment this to help marketers appropriately engage their audience.
As a product manager, what have you learned from brands' data use to help guide your innovation at Vibes?
High performing mobile campaigns begin with efficient data application - so providing marketers with details that can be injected into their strategy is extremely helpful, especially when most digital marketers manage numerous channels. We often question: How do we combine our expertise and data to meet marketers needs of prescriptive insights? We want to put data at the fingertips of marketers and make acting on it seamless.
Can you give us background on Conversational Analytics?
Text messaging is an intimate two-way channel where we share personal information and anecdotes. It’s the same channel we use to talk to friends and family. The context of mobile marketing messaging often leads to consumers to respond to brands via text conversation. These messages are valuable, but because of the nature of short codes, they’re often lost. Brands who access these insights have the upper-hand at engaging consumers with the right message. Our latest AI-Driven Marketing solution, Conversational Analytics, uses natural language processing to understand what consumers are trying to tell brands when they respond to short codes and allows marketers to respond to messages strategically - helping build and scale more effective, automated customer interactions. With AI-Driven Marketing, brands are able to aggregate data, analyze for insight, and derive action from their consumers at scale.
How do you see the relationship between A.I. and consumer data in the Vibes Platform developing in the coming years?
I see it now and, in the future, as automating mundane campaign tasks like segmentation, content optimization and eventually helping marketers predict churn. Successful A.I. helps complete complex tasks for marketers and gives them the ability to allocate their effort towards innovation. At Vibes we use AI to discover and generate valuable consumer insights and place it at the fingertips of our marketers. Our entire platform is shifting to become more AI-Driven to scale sustainable 1:1 consumer engagement.
What can brands do right now to develop or enhance their data strategy?
Be strategic about engagement and innovation. Be bold. Test. Test. Test.
Learn more about Vibes AI-Driven Marketing here. And don’t forget to sign up for our webinar:
AI-Driven Marketing: Surface billions of insights from mobile conversations, where we will join Amazon Web Services (AWS) to discuss how AI-Driven Marketing can help you generate personalized mobile engagement that drives consistent mobile revenue.
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