Seeking Clarity: How Marketers Can Get a Clear Picture of the Consumer Journey

November 28, 2018

By Paul Schaut


The traditional purchase funnel spans multiple channels, resulting in difficulties understanding the influence of each touchpoint of a customer's journey. With a rapidly increasing volume of data, marketers are finding it more overwhelming than ever to make sense of all the information at their disposal. In this Q&A, Marc Sabatini, CEO of enterprise data platform solution aqfer, discusses how marketers can take back control of their data and put it to work for them.

Q. Why are most companies still analyzing events at the bottom of the funnel?

There are several reasons that companies are still analyzing events at the bottom of the funnel. Most ad platforms do not provide access to their raw ad log level data and many companies do not have the infrastructure in place to support ingestion of ad exhaust data (which is where these upper-level funnel events live). Many companies do not have advanced solutions capable of creating a unified customer profile. In some instances, companies are not even aware that there is an opportunity to leverage this wealth of data.  

Q. How can marketers get a clearer picture of the full consumer journey?

They need to work toward solutions that allow them to capture and leverage all data throughout the customer journey, which includes both conversions and exposure data. Companies need to take back their data and work toward eliminating the numerous (internal as well as external) data silos that exist and work toward implementing a unified customer profile. 

Q. How is the data landscape evolving to benefit advertisers?

For the first time in many years, advertisers have the power to 'own' their data. The ability to converge an immense amount of data and build unified actionable user profiles in a privacy compliant manner creates a wealth of opportunities.

Q. Are customer data platforms (CDPs) really helpful for marketers or is it just re-envisioning the data management platform (DMP)?

CDPs are indeed valuable, however not all CDPs are created equal. Many fall short in key areas that are essential to a CDP. We do not see the CDP as re-envisioning of the DMP.

Q. Will marketers truly become data-centric in 2019?

We certainly see it heading in that direction. We do believe that marketers will start to become more data-centric; however, it may just be early adopters initially. 

Q. With GDPR and CCPA, how can advertisers ensure their data is compliant?

One step toward compliancy is by taking back their data. Rather than syndicating data out to multiple platforms (optimization, orchestration, analytics, etc.), leverage a solution where all data is centrally located and partners can plug in to the data. That alone is not enough, however, and advertisers must ensure that the partners/solutions they are evaluating have frameworks in place that support privacy and governance. Advertisers should ask detailed questions to understand how the processes work. Partners should be able to explain at a detailed level how their systems ensure the privacy of their data and how they are poised for forthcoming industry changes as it relates to privacy. Partners that say they support privacy but cannot provide details should be avoided.


Paul Schaut is the former CEO of Engage, Performaworks, and Label Insight and engaged director and advisor to several companies, including Drift and Plannuh. Marc Sabatini is the CEO of aqfer and has more than 20 years of experience consulting on technology and data solutions in direct marketing, CRM, and omnichannel digital marketing.


The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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