Giving Your Customer a Seat at the Table

Kailey Raymond on July 14th 2022

Good Data, Better Marketing |  Episode 04

Subscribe to all episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

In this episode, Ted Chi, Digital Marketing Executive at Fortune 500 and startups alike, discusses major trends impacting the media industry and how he centers the customer in decision-making.

Guest Bio:

Ted is a digital marketing leader with a passion for media, sports and technology. From physical video games to mobile apps and digital movies, he has a passion for breathing new life into products, brands, and companies. Ted is a data-driven, creatively inspired, entrepreneurial marketer with a successful track record at Fortune 500 companies (NBCUniversal, Disney, Yahoo) and early-stage start-ups. 

Episode Summary:

This episode features an interview with Ted Chi, a Digital Marketing Executive with over 2 decades of experience at Fortune 500 companies and early-stage startups focusing on team leadership, brand management, and consumer insights.

In this episode, Ted discusses how data helps build relationships with consumers, why CDPs are essential, and the Holy Grail of data: personalization.

Key Takeaways

  • Good data is anything that helps marketers build a relationship with the people they’re trying to reach. If you’re able to precisely target a customer through data, you’ll be able to drive conversions.

  • When having a meeting with leaders in the boardroom, always have a seat for your customer. At the end of the day, your efforts need to resonate with them or none of the work matters.

  • Because customers want more privacy and personalization, marketers will have to get creative in the ways they collect and use data. In order for customers to trust marketers, marketers need to provide value back to consumers.

Quotes:

“I had a mentor share this with me early in my career and I've always taken it with me. And he said, picture a big board room and you have your CMO, your CEO, and your CFO, and your Ops person, and all these important people around the room. But there’s always got to be one empty seat every single meeting in the room. And that is the seat for the consumer. In fact, that seat should really be at the head of the table.”

Episode timestamps:

‍*(02:26) - Rapid fire questions with Ted

*(12:34) - Top trends that Ted is seeing in the industry

*(18:28) - Emerging customer behaviors

*(25:01) - How Ted defines good data

*(32:07) - Most important piece of data that drives customer engagement

*(35:19) - Ted’s favorite data-driven marketing campaign

*(36:33) - An example of another company doing it right with customer engagement (hint: it’s Amazon)

*(38:37): Ending advice: it’s all about the consumer

Links:

Read the transcript:

Kailey Raymond: The entertainment industry moves fast. If you've worked in showbiz long enough, you know, that change is the only constant. Like most industries, entertainment took a huge hit during the pandemic. Consumers were unable to venture out to theaters and in turn media companies were forced to pivot. Their playbook abruptly changed as blockbuster movies were released on streaming platforms. This majorly disrupted theatrical revenue, which declined from over 43 billion in 2019 to just 12 billion in 2020.

But with this change also came a new learning, delivering content in this way, direct-to-consumers, also offered up a more personalized approach of marketing to viewers. In this episode, I'm speaking with Ted Chi, Vice President of Digital Marketing and Media Strategy at NBCUniversal. We discuss how data helps build relationships with consumers, the importance of CDPs, and why personalization is the holy grail of data-driven marketing. 

Welcome to the show. And thank you so much for being here. 

Ted Chi: Oh, thanks for having me. This will be fun. I'm really looking forward to it. 

Kailey Raymond: I'm gonna, you know, start off with some quick fire questions and yeah, I think I did shamelessly craft these with the NBC universe, if you will, in mind. So Ted, my first, really hard hitting question, winter or summer Olympics? 

Ted Chi: Winter. 

Kailey Raymond: Oh, okay. The surprising, rare winter fan among us! What events would you do if you could for winter? 

Ted Chi: Well, I would just say I'm winter because I grew up in Boston. And if you live in Boston, if you're from the east coast, you must like winter, you kind of must like winter. So my sport would be hockey. Just growing up as a Bruins fan.

Kailey Raymond: You get in fights growing up, Ted? 

Ted Chi: Uh, not really.

Kailey Raymond: I recently tried to roller skate when I was in LA and I actually fell down so many times. It's pretty embarrassing. And I can say that falling hurts a lot more when you're an adult. And when you're tall, so kudos to you for picking a hard sport to master.

Ted Chi: The sport should have been curling or something because at least the longevity. I've always wondered what do professional curlers do when they're not in the Olympics? 

Kailey Raymond: That's the thing. Longest tenure of any athlete, right? Like what's the average age of a curler for sure. Different than a hockey player. Next one's really tough. Okay. So think about this one. Would you rather go head-to-head with a velociraptor or T-Rex? 

Ted Chi: I think I'd go against a velociraptor. Velociraptors are actually, they're smaller than they're depicted in the films. Don't get me in trouble with any of our filmmakers. But yeah. Yeah. I'd probably get my head a bit off by T-Rex but all good. 

Kailey Raymond: That natural history museum knowledge is coming into play right now. I that's right. I always think people say like tiny arms with T Rexes.So they're more likely to say that one, but okay, velociraptor.

Ted Chi: Tiny arms, but big mouths. 

Kailey Raymond: That's true. What did Samuel L Jackson say? The iconic line? What was it? Hold onto your butts. Is that right? 

Ted Chi: I think so. Yeah. Yeah. 

Kailey Raymond: So good. Last question, Ted. What was your first job?

Ted Chi: My first job was a paper boy. And again, this is an east coast thing, but like just riding my bike in the snow is probably one of the most difficult jobs I've ever had.

Kailey Raymond: Yeah, growing up in the Boston area and, and riding your bike uphill both ways, in the snow. Yes, definitely. 

Ted Chi: And then I walked five miles and tell my kids all about it. Not really. 

Kailey Raymond: That's good. My first job, I was a hostess at a restaurant, but they called me the ambassador of first impressions. So I guess that guy should have been the marketer, not me because that's quite a thing to call a hostess. So yeah, everybody kind of starts in a different place from bus boy, Ted. What was your career journey? How did you get to where you are today?

Ted Chi: Well, from paperboy, it was like, I knew the rest, all my jobs would be easy after that. But in all seriousness, I always wanted to do something that I just really enjoy. I mean, it sounds a little philosophical and corny, but life is short. And I had a lot of friends growing up who were - nothing against like, you know, consultants or i-bankers - those guys, some of the smartest folks I've met, but I just, I wanna do something that like day to day I could go in and, and really have fun and really felt like something I just wanted do something I could relate to.

The funny thing - my first job in college was actually as an intern, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, which is kinda just like everyone, you know? Yeah. You know, it's like, you know, I'm gonna be in the court and I'm gonna save the world and I'm gonna have these great, incredible debates with people. I'm gonna win the jury. And I hated it. I just, I couldn't do it. I did one internship, but I actually even took the LSAT. And I think I was just trying. To appease my parents because they were immigrants. They want everyone to be kinda, I think Boz talked about this, like the, the doctors, the lawyers. 

Kailey Raymond:Yeah, she talked about that yesterday.

Ted Chi: That exact same thing. Yeah. I was gonna say the first real job out of college, I was a banker. So I was part of a management training program. I really just wanted to learn kind of the ins and outs of businesses and what kind of makes them tick? I didn't know I wanted to be a marketer per se, for sure. Or in sales or in finance, per se, but it was an opportunity to just get exposed to a lot of different industries.

I basically spent like a year of my life sitting in an office with stacks of annual reports, like looking at them, recommending going to the managers and say, oh yeah, we should, we should, uh, extend credit or not. And I was actually a teller to new accounts. Consumer loans and then kind of finished it up just with being a loan officer. So that was kind of like the beginning of it. And then after that, I just kind of embarked on more of a marketing path. 

Kailey Raymond: How'd you make that jump from banker to marketer? 

Ted Chi: At a certain point. I'm like, I kind of went back to my ethos. I'm like, I gotta do something I like. Yeah. 

Kailey Raymond: You're like, I can't look at another annual report. It's not gonna happen today.

Ted Chi: Yeah. But I will say it served me well and gone are the days of marketing, like the Mad Man, I'm gonna just do a cool TV spot and a letter rip. And. Be done with it. It's very much well we're, it's kind of a data centric event this week, but it's very much about data and the numbers and KPIs, et cetera.So the banking has really helped. I won't go through my long career. The theme of my career has been startup big company and I'll be at a big fortune 500 fortune 100 company for, you know, a good five years and I'll get forward and tired, and then I'll go to startup and we'll run outta money or get a tiny exit and then go back to a big company. So that's kind of been just a general trend, but throughout that process, I've had the opportunity to. Do a lot of different things within marketing, whether it's, I was an affiliate marketing manager or on the, the, the.com bomb, which is probably what a lot of the people on this call, like weren't even born or something like that.

Kailey Raymond: That's probably true.

Ted Chi: Yeah. Thanks. I really appreciate that. 

Kailey Raymond: Let me know any lessons you learned though, Ted, you know, I gotta, learn.

Ted Chi: It was actually, it was fascinating because it was a site called athletes direct. Well, that was one of the businesses and we built websites for athletes.So we owned Kobe Bryant.com and we tried to monetize the content basically working with their managers kind of, you know, said here's what Kobe wrote and Anna Kournicova, et cetera. Fantastic experience learning, affiliate marketing. I didn't even know what affiliate marketing was back then. And quite frankly, it hasn't changed very much in 20 plus years, it's kind of like the same thing, even like we were using B Free and I think it was like Commission Junction back then. I think they're still around. I think they're part of, is it Rakuten? I don't even remember. I spent some time at Broadband. After that, I, I went to Activision in their games group. Obviously it was a gaming company and worked on all things, Tony Hawk and Marvel back then it was console games. Funny story about that. So that was,, it was a brand management role as opposed to affiliate marketing or just general digital marketing, but it was truly an opportunity to own a business.

And I remember I was, I was in a meeting and I was presenting something and, you know, as a marketer, you're like, yeah, it's brand management, but I'm the marketer. And yeah. So I'm gonna talk about all this campaign or we're gonna generate impressions. And, and I remember one of the questions was like, so why is our CoGs so high?

Why is our cost of good, so high? Cause this is a physical product back then these are console games. And damn, I didn't even, like I gathered the information. I knew what the CoGs was, but I don't know exactly why the numbers are. Why are the cost of the discs so high? Just, I didn't know. So it really kind of shifted, like, I really took that experience. I'm like, you know what, it's not just about like, it's a bigger picture. It's like what the P&L. 

Kailey Raymond: Yes, that's exactly right. It’s driving towards the business results - marketing is an effort to do that. Right. And keeping that in mind. That's really cool. 

Ted Chi: So, and, and the other fun story about activation, I'd say is that back in the day, it was all about console games. Like if you were playing console, if you were playing like on your Xbox and PlayStation and all these high fidelity, immersive games, that's really where you wanted to be. And then these two random guys, like they left Activision, they went to go start a company called Jam.mobile, and it was subsequently acquired by EA.

I think they went public and they were acquired by EA for like, you know, six, 700 million at the time. It was a lot of money, still, a lot of money. The games were really kind of archaic and they're playing on their old device. This is pre iPhone, but they understood this consumer behavior that don't think anyone else was really dialed into at that time. So really kudos to those guys. And you look at where mobile gaming is now. So the takeaway for me from that was like, yeah, you may think you're on a certain path, but there's so many kinds of divergent views and so many different insights that we may not be tapped into as much as we should. And I think as marketers, we're always trying to uncover those things.

Kailey Raymond: That's really interesting. I think one of the things that, you know, you're kind of tapping into for me is, first-off, the idea of always pursuing something that you actually enjoy, you kind of mentioned this a little bit is Bozoma St. John. She spoke yesterday. She said basically the exact same thing, which is every different part of you, personal and professional is gonna become a part of your professional journey and make you better. And that really resonated with me. And I think that doing something that you actually enjoy is a big part of that. Even if you are shifting between startup and big company and different industries, that's just creating a more well rounded you.

So you've been in marketing for quite a while. Lots of different roles, lots of different kind of sides of the business. Of course you had that short stint as a banker. Let's not, you know, obviously forget that, but I'm sure you've seen a ton of things come and go. What are a couple of trends you're currently watching?

Ted Chi: There's a lot going on. I think first and foremost, and it's kind of a propos to like Twilio and what's going on this week is just privacy. Obviously privacy is at the forefront of what everyone's thinking as a consumer, I love it. Like Apple did a spot a while ago where it's like, this guy is kind of walking around and all these things and icons and things are following him. And then he flips a switch and they'll kind of go away as a consumer. I love it. As a marketer, it makes it really challenging. But with that said it also forces us to be more creative as well. So in that respect, it's probably good for us folks on this call. With that comes the challenges of it, but what do we do about it? And we're always struggling to answer those questions and I don't think anyone has it figured out. I mean, there's like the contextual piece of it. Let's figure out how we can place our ads in contextual media or capturing first party data. And that’s kind of the no brainer one, the one that everyone's kind of working towards, it's also like a bit of a value exchange because I have no issues given Legoland. I've got three kids. So I have no issues given Legoland, my info in answering questions, because they're gonna gimme something, right. They're gonna, they're gonna give a discount or, you know, I'll get that $500 room for $400, something like that. 

Kailey Raymond: You know what the trade is and you are fully in on it. 

Ted Chi: I’m totally cool with it. It's kind of like a loyalty program as well. You're giving them your info. Not only do they have what I've given them, something like a loyalty, they also know like what I'm doing as well.

Kailey Raymond: I like the way you're framing that around it, forcing creativity with, with privacy. I've heard this phrase thrown around a couple of times, and it's really in the context of how both privacy and personalization there's increasing demands from the consumer side at the exact same time. I've heard it called the privacy personalization paradox, which is kind of to your point around like, it's getting harder for marketers to do some of the things that they typically do. But in my humble opinion, it doesn't exist. It's like a false trade off, right. You just mentioned first party data. It's about knowing what data to collect and how to collect it.

And Twilio recently did a report and we found that there's like 80% of companies that are still relying on third party data. Which as we know is going away in 2023. So like the clock is really ticking now we're at the later half of 2022. But that idea of like trust and value exchange that I think that you had right. That is exactly how we get to that future that I think consumers want. 

What other trends are you watching? 

Ted Chi: I mean everyone's reading about like the metaverse and 3.0 and cryptocurrency and all that stuff. 

Kailey Raymond: Oh yeah. Now there's an NFT conference right now in New York. So. 

Ted Chi: Well, we're not there. We're here. We're in better places.

But you know, the most interesting part of that for me, and probably it's my background in gaming is just the game side of it and the gamification of everything that's going on. When you think about getting people, if you're media company and you're trying to get people to stay on your site or whatever, it's like, well, how do we gamify that? You know, to make it more interesting so people wanna stick around. I feel like games are kind of the hallmark of everything that's going on. Look, think about like all the players in games from, you know, Apple and Google to Netflix, to Meta. And what's going on with the Oculus. So I think that whole world is fascinating to me and kind of on top of that, it's like all the devices. So I was playing around with the Oculus the other night. And, um, I dunno, have you toyed around with it?

Kailey Raymond: Only at conferences I've never actually really gotten into one. Yeah. 

Ted Chi: It's cool. Listen, it's, you know, you go into Horizon World and you can you interact with folks. And I think it was after Game Six of the Warriors Celtics basketball game where they were showing highlights, like in world, they were showing highlights. And, and just to see, I mean, that's just a starting point. So just to see what that's gonna be like, or I think the Foo Fighters were doing an acoustic set in VR, so, you know, like very cool, super early super nascent, but as marketers, like, what's that gonna look like? You know, is it gonna be like a virtual New York, like Times Square where there's gonna be stuff all over the place? 

Kailey Raymond: Times Square is terrible enough.

Ted Chi: Yeah but maybe there's some places that'll be like Central Park where you can go and it'll be serene. 

Kailey Raymond: Yeah. I like that. That's a nice version. 

Ted Chi: We'll do like a little meditation with birds chirping or something like that.

Kailey Raymond: I think one of my favorite examples that kind of illustrates what you were just talking about is Pokemon Go. What was that like? Maybe three, four. I might be aging myself. I'm like how many years ago was that two? And it was probably like five, but it's all these like grown adults running around cities, trying to catch like their virtual creatures and the kicker for me though, it was actually a good business move because the brick and mortar partnerships that they created. Yeah. I was reading something. I think pizza sales started to like increase when they launched Pokemon Go and it's because they created like PokeStops at these pizza shops, which is just, yeah. Incredibly smart to kind of like blend the real life with the virtual. And imagine like, if you had, I don't know, Apple Glasses or kind of something like on top of that and kind of living in that way.

Ted Chi: It's funny cuz speaking about products, I don't know if you've seen the new Snap. The drone is called the Snappic. It's granted, not Meta, not VR, but just like in terms of product innovation. Instead of doing a selfie yourself, it's basically like you have a drone falling you around.

Kailey Raymond: Honestly, better than people taking a selfie with a stick and then like maybe falling off a cliff or something like thank you for the safety of that drone. Truly. Now I'm curious as somebody who's kind of like worked on teams that are just pretty much in the center of the zeitgeist, the cultural zeitgeist, what are some new customer behaviors that you've seen in the last years in particular? 

Ted Chi: I think everyone's lives have changed big time. I mean, I do a lot more stuff at home. I used to go to the gym on the, on like the drive into the office and I don't do that anymore. I try to do stuff at home. Like I invested in a bike. Albeit not a Peloton. I'm sorry if there any Peloton fans.

Kailey Raymond: A real, a bike that you can go outside with. 

Ted Chi: No, actually it's still a stationary bike, but it was just like a it was just a less expensive one. 

Kailey Raymond: Wow. Okay. Don't tell Peloton it's okay. 

Ted Chi: But between that and between on demand classes and stuff like that, I was just spending a lot more time at home. And I think like from a business standpoint, you look at just people's consumer behavior. I wasn't shopping. I used Instacart a lot. And so from even going to doctors and stuff. I didn't really like going to doctors anyway, but I think telehealth and that's still prevalent now. It's like, if I can avoid going to the doctor, why go? The interesting thing is I was taking online martial arts classes. Cause I've done some of that in my past. And they've, since, as things have changed, they've since made it in-person. So the irony is I can't go anymore cause I can't make it cause I can't, I just it's, I don't have enough time to commute back and forth. That's a, that's a different story altogether. 

Kailey Raymond: That’s great. It  is true is like the power hasn’t always has been in the hands of the consumer, but you know, today's markets are so dynamic that you just kind talked about. Like. In person. No. Online. No. In person. And I think what's interesting is like that instant gratification, convenience. I was in San Francisco recently and this actually freaked me out. I ordered Caviar and it took 12 minutes for the order to come from the time that I placed it to the time that I was like in my hands. And I was like, is that too convenient? How convenient is too convenient? 12 minutes was the cusp for me, I was like completely floored by that. 

Ted Chi: You sure it was Caviar? 

Kailey Raymond: Shots are fired. I was, I was talking to somebody about it. They're like, that's the most amazing thing I've ever heard. And I was freaked out about it very clearly that no, I actually think that I maybe should wait at least give me 15 to be ready for my food.

Ted Chi: It's interesting though, like on the behavior point though, just, just to share. Yeah. I'm at Universal now in the film group and home entertainment and when COVID started, it was just pretty clear, people are not gonna go sit in a movie theater. So like in our industry, there was just like a ton of disruption, people going and we're launching movies in the home or the first title we did that with, the first big title we did that with was Trollz. I think it was in the theater a little bit, but it was also at home. But you look at that now and you look at like just our industry and how much it's changed and how much new release content kind of shows up on SVAD services first. You know, it's always been kind of a confusing business because you don't know when stuff's coming out. And when I bet if we did a poll right now, what is the number of days between when a movie comes out theatrically and when it comes out in home entertainment, I guarantee you, like, yeah, there there'll be responses all over the board, but it's even more confusing now because we, there are all the other services out there. But the big trend is like, people got used to watching big movies at home. And they're okay with that, but things are changing again. And you know, some of the big movies you look at Top Gun, you look at Jurassic, not getting too self-serving.

Kailey Raymond: They’ve been doing really well.Big weekends. Right?

Ted Chi: You should watch Jurassic and watch the velociraptor after this, you know, you should check that out. 

Kailey Raymond: You can make your own decision after that and get back to us. 

Ted Chi: That's right. That's right. Correct. But that's just an example of how things have changed, but, but they're switching back a little bit as well, so nothing's kind, nothing static. 

Kailey Raymond: That's interesting. It's like everything changes so quickly, but especially in Media. And I think one of the other ones that's kind of similar to this is cord cutting and a la carte versus subscription models. I'm wondering, are you seeing any kind of like patterns in Media? I feel like in the fashion world, what's old is new again, right. And I'm sitting here watching people dress like Cher from Clueless and wondering, you know, if there's any examples from other industries, do you have any examples of that playing out in Media as well? 

Ted Chi: It's like the renter's economy, right? Like what's the point in owning anything and I mean, you see how this played out, like I talked about games a little bit and you look at the music business and there's still a transactional business there. People still wanna own their movies or own their music. And then you're seeing that in the film and TV world as well. I think for film, self-serving, admittedly. But I, but I think for film, because there's such a collector's mentality around a lot of films, people like really wanna show that they own it, whether it's on their, like their Apple Store or their Prime account, or even like, there are many parts of the country where they're showing stacks of DVDs on their walls. It's kind of like oh, look at me. 

Kailey Raymond: The last remaining Blockbuster. 

Ted Chi: That's right. That's right. Kind of like their medals of honor so to speak. When you look at the trends, historically though, it's pretty evident. And even when you look at games and you know, it's not just like more subscription based, cuz it was a long time ago where there was like downloadable content for console games.I feel like there was like, 15 years ago or something like that. 

Kailey Raymond: I love that, that example of that shift. And I think one of my favorite examples of that is Spotify, like obviously a major disruptor entering, you know, entering the subscription model for the music industry and, you know, talking about data. Their Wrapped campaign at the end of the year. For me personally, I think is just one of the most brilliant campaigns that leverages first party data. I think if any other company really tried to do this, it might feel creepy that you know that they're like watching you listen to all of these different tracks. But to me, I'm like, I feel so seen, like Spotify understands me, like, yes, I do listen to Olivia Rodrigo. It's totally fine. Maybe it's not age appropriate, but she gets my angst. But before I get ahead of myself, I don't wanna talk about campaigns too much. I wanna know how you lay the foundation. So what, how do you define good data, Ted? 

Ted Chi: I feel like data is anything that kind of helps me build a relationship with folks that I'm trying to reach. I mean, for us, we're always thinking about our goals and, you know, in some cases, if we're trying to launch a big movie and we're just trying to generate a ton of awareness among everybody in the country, then that kind of that's one path. The other is if we have a very precise targeted user. And we know let's, let's say someone's, you know, watched a certain film before as an example, or they're a fan of the genre or this actor, et cetera. And those are data points that really enable us to kind of get the word out in many cases, because we're in the transactional window to actually drive conversions for us. So, it just depends. But in general, it's like, you know, past viewing for us, specifically, us being like in my current role, it's like past viewing behavior, genres, talent, point of purchase, like an interesting thing is people buy films. Some people get it from Apple. And that's good for us to know and specifically where, whether it's on mobile or desktop CTV or, or whatever, maybe it's on their Fire. So we just want to know that and all those things together kind of enable us to push together our broader strategy. I would say the one other thing, cuz that's all very tactical is just overall, it's like, who are we trying to reach? And you know, we have the benefit of like an awesome theatrical team and oftentimes the movies have done well, like a Jurassic, so we have a lot of data that we have to work with from the start, but there are some smaller titles. Maybe we wanna reposition the title a little bit or think about different areas that we wanna lean into, whether it's a different edition of the movie or what have you. So that data upfront helps inform our big picture strategy. And then we kind of dig into the more tactical stuff. 

Kailey Raymond: I wanna talk about that too. So how are you using all of, and you talked about a little bit about this, but how are you using data to build those marketing strategies and tactics ?

Ted Chi: We'll have the information from our theatrical counterparts. So we'll have, not just exit polls, but we know like what types of creative are working. For example, what's resonating with people, what imagery is really working. So on a creative perspective, it's like it helps kind of us optimize that. It's messaging. And then the big piece of it is like the media. If we know someone watched a trailer, then it's yeah.

Kailey Raymond: Probably more likely to go see it.

Ted Chi: They might be into it. Yeah. Yeah. If they maybe watched it for a little bit and they abandoned, maybe there's a different insight there. So it's kind of using all the data points all the above, but media is a big piece of it. Just like the remarketing, the targeting. We do a lot of testing with our own data versus some of the native targeting. And as you'd expect our stuff does a little better because it’s higher quality. We kind of know who they are. I would say that it is important to figure out and think about what the goals are and what we're trying to do and not collect data just for data's sake. Cuz that I do think a lot of people fall into that. Let's get data, let's get first party data, and then you have this whole mountain of data sitting there and you just don't know what, what to do. 

Kailey Raymond: Scratch your head. What do you do with it? Yeah. Right. 

Ted Chi: And a lot of people have mentioned this on some of the sessions here, but it's like personalization. We're working on that. We're working really hard on that because ideally we'd love to deliver a different email to every single person based on what's in your locker, who you like, et cetera. And that's not just us, the game companies. There are some folks out there that are doing like a really great job of it, but I think that's the holy grail of having the data, just being able to personalize everything, all the different channels. 

Kailey Raymond: Yeah. The Spotify wrapped campaign of like Kailey listened to this many minutes. Like, absolutely. I think that's so interesting when you're talking about segmentation and personalization, putting the audience first, like that is the language that we speak at Segment and, um, I think you, you’re touching a little bit on this is like the balance between quantitative and qualitative as well. I think is something perhaps a little bit interesting and intuition versus hard data. And I think is something that Bozoma kind of spoke about a little bit yesterday. Do you have an example of when maybe data actually helped you surface something that might have surprised you? 

Ted Chi: So I didn't go through my whole career background intentionally, but like one of the, one of the companies I was at for a little bit was called Daily MVP. It was a fantasy gaming app. So daily fantasy sports. And we had, I don't know if any of the folks remember this, but it was a while ago, but like we were coming out at the same time as like DraftKings and FanDuel, not as well. We had 25 million at bank and those guys had hundreds and hundreds of million. And, but I, I remember like we had Tom Brady and like, he was one of our spokespeople. And everything seemed to be going really well. A lot of awareness, we got to number one on the chart. People were downloading the app. We did a ton of focus groups and all the focus groups and people love. We're killing it.

It's like, you know what? And then our numbers are retention. Numbers were great or whatever, they're into these focus groups and they're telling us they love it and they're doing it well, and they're cranking through it. But when we did some, like when we looked at actual, like specific data in terms of how are they really interacting with the app, you know what we realized? And it seems like such a no brainer in hindsight, but we're running so fast. And it's almost like you don't even want it's bad news. I don't even  I'm just kind of going for it. 

Kailey Raymond: It's hard to stop and pause sometimes. 

Ted Chi: Yeah know, I got like, like all these guys talking about it and we're number one on the charts and we're killing it and we're gonna et cetera, et cetera. People were barely getting through like our onboarding process was horrible. It was horrible. And you could see that in the data. It was very clear. I feel like if we had been kind of a little more attuned to that. Then, you know, FanDuel and DraftKings, would've been out of business. No, I'm just kidding. We were a small company. But those are one of the, like one of the things it's like, the information's right in front of you. But the question is, are you doing something with it? Kind of like what we just said, it's, you know, don't collect data for data sake. What's the action you're gonna take.

Kailey Raymond: You gotta know what data to collect, how to collect it. It really does all start with governance and making sure that like all of your naming conventions are, it's like, it's the stuff that's not sexy at all. That is just like so necessary and asking all of those why questions to begin with. I was talking to a CMO last week and she was kinda telling me something a little bit similar about this, like qualitative quantitative. And she said that. Quantitative is the leading indicator and qualitative is the lagging indicator for her. And you know, if you're really trying, you can make data, say whatever you want your data to say back to you, but it's about connecting the why and connecting the dots between the qualitative and the quantitative to actually get to the answer. Now, Ted, this is probably like a nearly impossible question, but what would you say is your most important piece of collected data to drive your customer engagement? I know. Hot seat. I told you.

Ted Chi: Yeah. Well, I would just say, so here's my hot seat response. It just depends. It really does depend on like what I'm trying to accomplish. I go back to the film example, but if it's a film, I kind of wanna know if they watched it or not. I want to know if they've watched it in theaters or not. If I'm marketing like a game, it could be the same way. If I'm, if I'm working on like Call of Duty or something, which I'm not, but if I'm working on a Call of Duty, are they franchise fans? So that's it more generally, but even from a development perspective, it's like, oh, what levels did they get through? How did they really interact with it? So a lot of it is the, at least for me, is the behavioral data that is fascinating. So sorry, a little bit of a little bit of a cop out, but it, it just depends. 

Kailey Raymond: No, watching people interact and really understanding their full journey, I think makes perfect sense. And I think one of the things that you mentioned earlier too, is you have all of this data kind of coming in from a different brand or a different device, or they're watching a different piece of content, a trailer versus a feature film. And that's the stuff that makes all of this extremely complicated and building a really connected customer engagement journey. So how are you thinking about unifying all of that data across your portfolio? 

Ted Chi: Well, I was thinking maybe like something like a CDP would be helpful.

Kailey Raymond: Shout out. I mean, I, I swear everybody. I did not tell him to do that shameless plug. It was not pre-planned.

Ted Chi: Well, I mean, it could be like an uber Excel document or something if you really want to.

Kailey Raymond: You heard it here first, Ted Chi uses Excel documents for all of his data. 

Ted Chi: But it's kind of a no brainer. I mean, you need a central repository for all of your data, because many times in any organization, especially large organizations, sometimes the left doesn't know what the right's doing and vice versa. Even within small groups, we're part of a large organization like Universal is at NBCU. So I mean, that happens with us. So we're really trying to, we're trying to unify things internally just more generally. But I think, I think it's common. And even within, you know, within our own group, And not necessarily like a data piece per se, but on my team, if the owned team is doing something that the paid team doesn't know about, it's like, well, you know, you have the stuff that's going on over here that you can help everyone else. So everyone just needs to, to be kind of on the same page. And I think something like a CDP enables that connectivity. 

Kailey Raymond: Yeah, the connectivity and the real time, right? So like getting that customer 360 and holistic view in real time, I think about that with ABM all the time. And, you know, obviously that's kinda like the more B2B example, but it drives efficiency and especially in economic times, like, I think we're really starting to experience right now, conversion and efficiency is maybe the name of the game. So super important to be able to be able to activate on data in real time. Fun question for you. And I know it's probably another tough one, but it's, what's your favorite piece of data or your favorite data driven marketing campaign? 

Ted Chi: Good question. Like, so when I think of data driven marketing campaign, it depends again, but I think of like data in or data out. So when I think of data in, I think of kind of like the insights that like are used to get to, like, whether it’s a great piece of creative or a great campaign. And I think I referenced the Apple example, like something super creative, but there are a lot of consumer insights. I'm sure there's a ton of research and a ton of testing that one out that, on the data out piece. When we think about specifically, whether it's kind of more of a lead gen thing where we're trying to capture information or whether it's conversions or what have you, I think like what Coinbase, I think it was Coinbase did with the QR code for the Super Bowl was yes. Was really interesting. I honestly, I saw that.

I'm like, what the hell? What the hell is that? That's what I've already thought. You know, like what does that code? It was kind of enough to make me wanna check it out. So something like this, it's, it's bold. And clearly there's, it's, that's about as DR as you get. 

Kailey Raymond: And really cool too, like, you know, it's a captive audience for the Super Bowl and they're doing something measurable for brand, which is kinda hard to do so kudos to them. Who do you think is doing it right? In terms of customer engagement? 

Ted Chi: Well, these, these guys are doing a lot of things, but I think Amazon's doing, I think Amazon's doing a good job. I have some friends at Amazon and I give them grief sometimes because they're just, they just know so much about me that it's kind of scary in some cases. So where I shop, like, yeah. It's like the customization on the storefront to like them listening to me, like when, like on this call, I'm sure. Alexa’s in back kind of listening. Yeah. She's listening or, or stopping by Whole Foods. It's just like they do, they do a really good job.

And even like all the Prime Video and film, or what have you like Twitch, they just, they have such a broad base of stuff going on. It's so many touch points that it's kind of theirs for the losing. They have a lot of different pieces in place. So, but they do a great job of it. And a lot of it is personalized. A lot of it is relevant to me and they do improve people's lives. And they've certainly improved mine. I can't wait to see what happens with like the, you know, the robotics and I think they like something, right. It was like the Astro, or I'm not sure how it did, but that's, I know that's right around the corner like when, when that stuff's gonna happen for us. So. It's it's interesting, interesting future. But those guys are great at it. They're great at it.

Kailey Raymond: They're always breaking boundaries. I mean, I think that if your name becomes a verb, like in some way you're probably doing something right. So, yeah, Amazon is definitely, I think one of the reasons why everybody is talking about how to build like the best customer experience and across all these different channels is like in many ways they've invented kind of the beginning of this, like very omnichannel customer 360, which is really interesting. Last question. What's your best piece of advice to somebody who's trying to build the customer engagement journey?

Ted Chi: You know, we've talked about goals and I mean, ultimately most of the people on this call are probably, you know, marketers and this is not gonna be like rocket science or a big aha, but it's all about the consumer. I know corny like lame answer, but, and like the way I think about. I had a mentor share this with me early in my career, and I've always taken it with me. And he said, picture of big boardroom. And, you know, you have your CMO and your CEO and your CFO and your ops person. And like all these important people around the room, but there's always gotta be one empty seat. Every single meeting in the room. And that is the seat for the consumer. In fact that seat should really be at the head of the table. So I would say like with whatever we do, it's so easy to kind of get caught up into, oh, I gotta do this, this, and I have all these constituents, but it doesn't really matter at the end of the day, if it doesn't resonate with the consumer. So that would be, I don't know, maybe think about it through that lens. And it certainly helped me focus on what's important.

Kailey Raymond: That’s spot on. Appreciate that keeping the customer at the center of everything you do, remembering to listen. Certainly wise words end on. Thank you so much for your insights today, Ted.

The State of Personalization 2022

Our annual look at how attitudes, preferences, and experiences with personalization have evolved over the past year.

Become a data expert.

Get the latest articles on all things data, product, and growth delivered straight to your inbox.