Daniel Heer, the CEO of Zeotap
Daniel Heer, the CEO of Zeotap

Zeotap is the only global data & identity platform that offers a deterministic end2end solution to onboard, understand and activate 1st party customer data across Europe, North America, LATAM and India. We are publishing an interview with Daniel Heer, CEO of Zeotap:

Q.1: Please tell us about your role at zeotap
Ans: I’m the founder and CEO of zeotap, an award-winning global identity and data platform that unleashes marketing ROI from marketers’ own customer intelligence. We’re the only one-stop-shop for CRM onboarding, enrichment, and activation in the digital ecosystem. Our exclusive data sources include some of the largest global enterprises such as telecom operators, eCommerce shops and digital pioneers. Additionally, our patented marketing technology platform and privacy by design approach have resulted in 9 certifications including the GDPR-ready seal & ISO 27001.

Today we’re helping over half of the top 100 brand advertisers in the world such as Unilever, BBVA and Mercedes-Benz.

Q.2:. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
Ans: I founded the company along with my Chief Product Officer, Projjol Banerjea, in 2014 in order to solve some of the biggest challenges in marketing: from the lack of customer understanding to the fragmented identities scattered across the device spectrum.

Prior to that, I was a director of strategic partnerships at AppLift, a data-driven technology company for mobile app advertisers, where I became immersed in ad tech. Previously I was at Vodafone Deutschland as a strategy/project leader where I developed and executed transformational sales strategies for Vodafone’s entire German retail footprint, defined and established a comprehensive sales channel and location strategy based on data and reported directly to the board.

It was at Vodafone where I realized the power of data in marketing, and how little brand marketers really knew about their customers. In addition, I was receiving so many irrelevant ads and wanted to improve offline to online connectors for better marketing results. I wanted to solve these marketing challenges for brands —and that’s why I ultimately founded zeotap.

Q.3: How do you think technology is upgrading the marketing sector?

Ans: Technology has become the focal point for transformation in marketing.

It allows us to automate processes, gather data on certain events and aggregate this data so that we can draw insights from it. Once you’re equipped with insights, you can achieve informed decision-making that is based on data and not assumptions.

Today, we are seeing a shift towards enhanced marketing efforts where personalization is key. By using technology, we can achieve previously unattainable levels of marketing customization and better the customer journey. For the customer, this equates into higher brand satisfaction and for brands, this means higher ROI.

Q. 4: How has a data-driven approach optimized the performance of marketing organizations?
Ans: A data-driven approach allows marketers to better understand the performance of their marketing efforts. A brand that understands which campaign or product is performing better allows that brand to pivot its strategy and offer the higher-performing option to the right audience.

Today, we observe that every marketing effort, including events, has the ability to be measured. This allows progressive marketers to quantify what they are doing and set benchmarks for different marketing processes. Ultimately, by using high-quality data, marketing organizations have “eyes” into what works and what doesn’t and can thus make better strategic decisions.

Q.5: How does your platform help marketers in more effective application of CRM solutions?
Ans: Advertisers always have a preference to rely on first-party data. At zeotap, we can take a brand’s efforts to the next level by digitizing their CRM, which means that we connect their data to other online identifiers and can add additional data attributes to enrich it. Once this is completed, the brand is able to activate this data to a channel of their choice and reach these individuals across the device spectrum. To put it simply, we create people-graphs that give brands a true 360º customer view and that are fully addressable.

CRM digitization is critical for brands because it:

  • Helps them reach their customers across the device spectrum
  • Allows them to better prospect by eliminating current customers (known as “suppression”)
  • Provides better lookalike modeling (for audiences) based on their CRM data. For example, a brand identifies its most loyal customers and uses lookalike modeling to create replicate audiences that would most likely be interested in their offering. They can then activate this data and prospect these audiences online

Enrichment allows brands to run further analytics on their customers and to gain deeper insights into them.  Brands can apply their own algorithms and machine learning, and improve the output of their models and analytics based on more accurate data input from zeotap. It also allows to identify their current CRM customers on their domains, such as on their website.

Q.6: What advice would you like to give to technology start-ups?
Ans: I think that it’s critical for a tech startup to focus on its core business first —the technology itself. I do not mean that tech startups should not focus on user testing, rapid prototyping or anything similar, but that they should have some sort of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) before they create too much hype in the market.

Q.7: What are the major developments you are planning?
Ans: Zeotap started out as a targeting company, since then we have developed our solution into an end-to-end platform based on a SaaS model (Software as a Service).

Significantly, last year we launched our identity solution Connect and recently added enrichment capabilities. Connect allows us to match a brand’s data to online identifiers so we can give them more insight into who those users are.

We’ve just entered into the Mexican market and are busy establishing a headquarters hub for the rest of Latin America. We’re currently operating out of 14 countries and have sales offices in 8, making us truly global.

Finally, privacy and security have always been at the core of what we do and part of our competitive advantage. We were the first global data company to obtain a GDPR-compliance certification for two years before it even came into effect. Naturally, with CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) around the corner, we adopted the same proactive approach and started working on it early to stay ahead of the curve.

Q.8: Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
Ans: We’re growing – in 2017 we had 27 people, and in 2018 we had a total headcount of 82. Now we’re at 118! I’m proud to say that we hire people from companies like LinkedIn, Google, IBM, and Samsung. Although many of our people come from corporates and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with them, I look for people who can be agile. That attribute is crucial for any person joining a startup. Overall, the team has a nuanced balance of “getting-their-hands-dirty” and “strategic-mindset” – this combination is what has driven zeotap forward.

Q.9: Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
Ans: Like everyone else, I probably have too many apps that go unused, but those that I use the most are productivity and networking apps like Slack, LinkedIn, and Asana. On the entertainment side, I like Netflix for movies and Blinkist which breaks down novels and other books into 15-minute podcasts. I guess that’s also a productivity app!

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