Q&A with Jennifer Bedford, Vice President at Epsilon

Q&A with Jennifer Bedford
Jennifer Bedford, Vice President at Epsilon, brings an energetic and passionate approach to all endeavors. With 20 years of experience in client solutions, Jennifer approaches each challenge innovatively. Understanding and applying a balance of both the left and right brain, Jennifer aims to bring about the optimal solution for clients.

For the past 16 years, Jennifer has been engaged in all aspects of marketing solutions and the marketing life cycle. With experience in loyalty, CRM, multi-channel solutions, digital transformation, analytics, and marketing convergence, Jennifer’s strategic business approach looks holistically at clients’ needs and strives to use science and data to truly understand the drivers behind customer behavior.

Having managed multi-million dollar clients and portfolios, Jennifer has led large teams, across organizations and boundaries, resulting in year-over-year revenue growth and improved contribution margins. Jennifer is a dynamic and proven leader, guiding and inspiring teams to think bigger and create the unexpected.

The resounding theme of this decade will be digital transformation. As companies pivoted from in-person to virtual interaction, the digital experience became absolutely necessary.



MEDIA 7: You have been associated with Epsilon for more than twenty years! How has the journey been so far?
JENNIFER BEDFORD:
Twenty years at Epsilon has been a wild, exciting ride. When I started, we were similar to a small agency and definitely operated like one. Since then, I’ve seen growth, acquisition after acquisition, ownership changing multiple times, and our services and offerings expand beyond what our imagination could dream of all those years ago. Some of the most interesting observations have been the way our organization has matured and the way we operate now as a large, multi-billion-dollar corporation under Publicis Groupe versus the small agency, family-feel we had all those years ago. We have grown in our breadth and depth of services, from a small print and data processing company to providing a full suite of technology, data, strategy, analytics, digital, and media solutions to our clients.

M7: How high does Epsilon rate ‘data and analytics’ in their core marketing practices and why?
JB:
Data and analytics sit at the center of everything we do, which makes its rate very high. It is fundamental in helping our clients achieve their marketing and business goals. Data is the fuel for making accurate, timely, and differentiated decisions. At the core of Epsilon’s PeopleCloud offering is data and identity management, which bridges online and offline data and provides a holistic customer view consisting of the industry’s most comprehensive consumer behavior, intent, and action data. While data is the fuel, analytics is the catalyst. Data coupled with analytics and the ability to model customer behaviors enables our clients to understand and market to their customers in an unparalleled way. Epsilon uses analytic sciences to build predictive models, gain customer insights, apply audience segment scoring, optimize machine learning, and transform our clients’ marketing strategies. These practices sit at the core of enabling our clients to differentiate their strategies and drive results.


Having a strong mobile strategy will be a key differentiator. The ability for consumers to interact when and where they want necessitates that brands can capitalize on this at the moment.



M7: What core strategies does Epsilon adopt to help clients achieve cross-channel marketing success?
JB:
The key strategies when approaching cross-channel success are:

1) Understand your audience and how to reach them in the most effective way;
2) Determine your business model and approach to attribution, which naturally differs by client and industry;
3) Have a holistic strategy across your organization on how to approach messaging and content.

Understanding audience segments happens by collecting consumer behavior over time and modeling the best approaches based on what is learned. This is why analytics is so important at Epsilon. We can model customer behavior and predictively determine how various segments of customers are going to behave. From there, we are able to perform an additional test and learn scenarios to understand which channels are the most effective. This enables us to engage customers in the right channels, in the right sequence, as well as attribute ROI to those channels. Further to understanding the right channel mix, we offer strategies in each major channel type to help our clients capitalize on what serves their customers best. 

For example, we have a digital experience practice that has well-established and industry best standards for how to engage customers digitally. On the reciprocating end of that spectrum, we can model anonymous behaviors and provide clients with the most effective approach to engagement and acquisition. Further to understanding your audience is the ability to analyze and attribute response behavior to the various channels. Epsilon has developed multiple attribution models over the years, which provide insights on how audience segments respond in different channels. This enables us to learn how to fractionally attribute each channel’s success to those segments and use the right channel mix and sequence when addressing those audiences. Finally, having an enterprise content and messaging strategy that brings continuity across all channels is key to success.

Historically, channels were siloed and maintained their own strategies. Typically, this would end up with varying customer experiences as well as different uses of the data known about that customer. In effect, the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing, and the customer would end up receiving communications in one channel that would be completely irrelevant because that channel lacked information from another. In today’s world, we are seeing a broader convergence across channels, but there is still a winding road ahead. Many companies are on the road to building out a Customer Data Platform that can support enterprise-wide initiatives and capitalize on data captured in otherwise siloed parts of the organization. Having this holistic view of the customer enables better decision-making across channels as well as enables consistent and relevant messaging. Further to that, having a holistic content and messaging strategy enables the organization to gain efficiencies from content reuse and modularization. All of this combined is a win-win-win.

M7: What key suggestions would you give B2B companies fighting to find engagement and acquisitions through social channels?
JB:
Specific to B2B, that space can be difficult to breakthrough in social channels. The digital landscape will naturally evolve as generations mature, and the paradigm will shift as new channels come alive, but enabling B2B companies on social channels in today’s world will necessitate creative new strategies and data usage where possible. Starting with organic campaigns, get your brand out there. You never know who you might reach, and by continually building brand awareness, you are increasing your chances of reaching new potential customers. Second to that, paid campaigns can reach specific segments that have a higher propensity to engage with your brand. Using data to narrow your audience's focus on other businesses and specific attributes will increase the likelihood of conversion. Some other creative ways to engage across your business would be YouTube “how-to” and education videos.

By offering up free advice and relevant content, you engage other businesses and draw them into your brand. A hot trend for consideration is the Twitch streaming service offered by Amazon. At first, this might sound irrelevant, but this channel would be focused on younger business owners, and a majority of millennials are involved in B2B purchase decisions. It’s worth making note of newer and up-and-coming social channels to remain relevant.


The digital landscape will naturally evolve as generations mature, and the paradigm will shift as new channels come alive, but enabling B2B companies on social channels in today’s world will necessitate creative new strategies and data usage where possible.



M7: What do you believe are the top three marketing challenges that have arisen in the post COVID-19 era?
JB:
The resounding theme of this decade will be digital transformation. We were already heading down this path, but COVID-19 accelerated the journey tenfold. As companies pivoted from in-person to virtual interaction, the digital experience became absolutely necessary. Now that companies have made bold leaps in the digital realm, this pattern will continue. Marketing challenges related to digital transformation will include: 1) how to best reach customers in a digitally saturated space, 2) adopting practices around privacy and data protection, and 3) real-time personalization & decisioning.

In a digitally saturated space, both reaching customers in a compelling way as well as finding innovative ways to replicate the in-store experience virtually will be critical. We’ve seen some creative ideas emerge, such as virtual dressing rooms, virtual “try before you buy”, and enhanced app experiences. These types of differentiators will continue to set the pace as consumers are increasingly more empowered and expect this level of interaction. Reaching customers and breaking through the digital noise can be achieved with the correct use of data. Knowing your customer’s behaviors and communicating with them in a relevant way is key.

Further, having a strong mobile strategy will be a key differentiator. The ability for consumers to interact when and where they want necessitates that brands can capitalize on this at the moment. Having a well-developed app with a seamless experience that incorporates a single view of the customer as well as relevant messaging, offers, and virtual in-store functionality will help brands prevail. Further, streamlining ordering logistics as well as payment options within the app - and other online experiences - will influence customer advocacy of brands. A final interesting twist on the evolution of digital is how the Boomers and Silent generation that previously didn’t have to engage digitally were forced to because of COVID-19. The strategy to reach these audiences should be considered and speaking to these segments differently and purposefully will build their trust as they acclimate to the digital world.

Further, we are seeing a continued emphasis on privacy and data protection. Companies have already pivoted for GDPR and CCPA, and they are now preparing themselves for third-party cookie deprecation. Google recently acknowledged there are multiple paths to a cookieless future and underscored the critical role of first-party data. At Epsilon, we see Google’s announcement as further evidence that our privacy-first identity strategy is future-proofed.  We have spent years developing 5000+ direct relationships with publishers as well as creating an identity graph of over 200MM people.

Ultimately, the ability to personalize the customer experience in real-time will enable the relationship and loyalty with the customer to grow. This theme keeps repeating itself, but the ability to see the customer holistically through a single view will be critical. Having a succinct data strategy that amalgamates consumer behavior across the enterprise will enable the types of personalization and decisioning needed to differentiate your brand. As mobile usage will only increase, the ability to speak in a relevant manner to your customer in real-time will be the expectation and norm.

M7: Could you please tell us about some of the most interesting projects that you have worked on till date?
JB:
There are so many interesting projects, I could go on forever! One of my favorite projects early in my career was a preference center for a travel client before preference centers were all the rage. We enabled our client’s customers to choose preferences based on the type of communication, the channels they preferred, and enabled customers to give us insights as to the types of destinations and locations they favored.
Another great project was building out a customer 360 view for our client. We pulled in data from across their enterprise, and at the center of it all was Epsilon’s identity management solution. This was a decade ago before CIAM was such a hot topic. I’ve watched Epsilon���s identity solution evolve in amazing ways over the past decade, including bridging PII and the anonymous world as well as building out a comprehensive set of data and models to accompany it.

I’ve also enjoyed my role in organizational maturity and change management. Our team helped develop an engagement model as well as best practices used across the top accounts in our organization. Our strategies and tactics are organized across our practice in a streamlined manner, and processes have been built to provide consistent review and executive involvement in all of our top accounts.

The latest project I’ve been involved with is our Epsilon Digital Factory. The Factory enables low-cost, efficient digital production as well as reuse and modularization of content for faster speed to market. The Factory is designed to optimally handle production execution so the business can focus on strategy and value-add endeavors.

M7: The best piece of advice you have ever received?
JB:
There are several great pieces of advice I’ve received over the years, but a wise mentor once told me, “You have all the responsibility but no authority.”  Being fairly young at the time, I wasn’t sure what he was saying to me; I just knew I needed to execute well. Fast forward years-of-experience later, I realized he was indirectly telling me to use my inherent leadership skills to make things happen. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing the only ones that can make decisions or institute change are the ones with authority. However, we know that isn’t true. True leadership crosses boundaries and generations, and honing those skills to artfully lead, guide, inspire, and influence those around you is a priceless asset. This was some of the best advice I didn’t even know I was receiving at the time.

ABOUT EPSILON

For 50+ years, Epsilon has been the leader in outcome-based marketing. They enable marketing that’s built on proof, not promises. Through Epsilon PeopleCloud, the marketing platform for personalizing consumer journeys with performance transparency, Epsilon helps marketers anticipate, activate and prove performance. Powered by CORE ID®, the most accurate and stable identity management platform representing 200+ million people, Epsilon’s award-winning data and technology is rooted in privacy by design and underpinned by powerful AI.

In 2019, Publicis Groupe acquired Epsilon in one of the largest acquisitions in marketing history. The event puts Epsilon at the center of operations for Publicis around the world and sets the stage for Epsilon leading the industry in marketing transformation.

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Integrate Launches Media Division, Pipeline360, for Holistic Demand Generation

PRWeb | January 11, 2024

Integrate, a leading B2B marketing demand management platform, today announced the launch of Pipeline360, its media arm that offers an all-in-one integrated media solution for content syndication, account intelligence enhancement, and digital advertising. Pipeline360 incorporates what was previously known as the Integrate Lead Generation Marketplace with multichannel, full-funnel, global campaign management, including real-time analytics, lead validation and standardization, and enhanced segmentation. In "The 2024 State of B2B Pipeline Growth" survey conducted by Pipeline360 and Demand Metric, 80% of B2B marketers report getting new qualified leads is mission critical or an urgent priority, yet 53% of B2B marketers report not being able to meet their pipeline goals. Additionally, an overwhelming 93% of B2B marketers say that data compliance and accuracy is a priority at their company. "This gap in marketers' ability to meet pipeline goals underscores the complex intersection of challenges B2B marketers face today - budget constraints alongside rising targets, a convergence of brand and demand, all while facing heightened scrutiny on data privacy," said Jeremy Bloom, co-founder and CEO of Integrate. "We developed Pipeline360 to provide our customers with a flexible solution that makes it easy and seamless to generate a robust pipeline enriched with high quality leads. This complements our SaaS platform's capability to connect, govern, and measure performance across multiple demand channels." "The 2024 State of B2B Pipeline Growth" survey found that the #1 challenge in marketing today is budget constraints (50%) followed by economic slowdown (40%) and impossible targets (32%). In response, B2B companies are adapting to fewer resources by consolidating teams and/or job responsibilities (79%), cutting travel budgets (33%), and relying on agencies (33%). The survey also found that 61% of B2B marketers who use content syndication were able to reach their goals as compared to 45% for those who do not use content syndication. However, the survey also found that 37% of respondents have not considered using content syndication for lead generation, 38% don't know what content syndication is, and 35% don't understand how it works. "These data suggest that more than a third of B2B marketers are not maximizing the tools and channels available to them, and by not leveraging the power of content syndication, advanced display advertising, and a full-funnel approach, they're losing out on pipeline and revenue," said Tony Uphoff, President, Pipeline360. "That's why we created Pipeline360 - to support marketers to maximize the value of a multichannel approach, bring their brand and demand efforts together, and drive marketing pipeline in a scalable, compliant, and predictable way." "The 2024 State of B2B Pipeline Growth" was conducted with global research and advisory firm, Demand Metric and surveyed 400+ B2B marketers across North America and the UK. The questions were fielded in Q4 of 2023 to unveil key challenges, investments, and priorities for demand marketers. To learn more about "The 2024 State of B2B Pipeline Growth," please visit our blog, "B2B Marketing Trends: The Realities of B2B Marketing Pipeline Growth in 2024." To learn more about Pipeline360, please visit www.pipeline-360.com. About Pipeline360 Powered by Integrate, a leading B2B marketing solutions provider, Pipeline360 solutions combine three powerful demand generation tools: targeted display, content syndication, and a comprehensive marketplace model. Pipeline360 ensures that marketers achieve 100% compliant and marketable leads by effectively engaging with audiences much earlier in the buying cycle, connecting with buyers at every stage of the process, and optimizing programs to drive performance. Pipeline360 enables a strategic, holistic demand generation approach tailored for the reality of today's B2B purchasing process. Customers include high-growth and enterprise organizations like Salesforce, Cisco, Dell, and VMware. For more information, please visit www.pipeline-360.com. About Integrate Integrate offers a cross-channel demand management SaaS platform for enterprise B2B demand and marketing operations teams. Integrate accelerates speed-to-business value through powerful integrations, delivers 100% marketable and compliant leads with trusted governance, and provides AI-powered insights to enhance and expedite smart decision-making. Integrate works with high-growth and enterprise organizations like Salesforce, Microsoft, Akamai, and Pluralsight to power their B2B marketing strategies. For more information, visit www.integrate.com or engage with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, X and Instagram.

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Core ABM

Demandbase Gets Named 2023 ABM Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant

Demandbase | November 06, 2023

Demandbase, an AI-driven account-based go-to-market (GTM) leader, has been named a leader in the 2023 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Platforms. The recognition is based on Demandbase's completeness of vision and ability to execute and follows being named a Gartner Peer Insights Customers' Choice for ABM earlier this year. Demandbase's CEO, Gabe Rogol, attributes the recognition to product innovations and positive customer reviews. Demandbase, a pioneer in AI-driven account-based go-to-market (GTM), announces its recognition as a leader in the 2023 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Platforms. This honor, which follows a comprehensive evaluation of nine vendors, is a testament to Demandbase’s comprehensive vision and its ability to execute effectively. Earlier this year, the company also received the Gartner Peer Insight Customers’ Choice for ABM. Gartner defines ABM platforms as software that empowers B2B marketing and sales teams to implement ABM programs at scale, including account selection, planning, engagement, and reporting. These platforms facilitate the creation of target account lists by integrating first- and third-party data. Additionally, they may engage audiences by activating channels such as display advertising, social advertising, email, and sales engagement, using a combination of native capabilities and integrations. Gabe Rogol, CEO of Demandbase, expressed his praise for the innovations the team had worked on by exclaiming, We are honored to be recognized as a leader in the Gartner ABM Magic Quadrant once again this year. We believe this recognition is a reflection of the dedication and effort we’ve invested in our product over the past year, including innovations in connected TV advertising, non-English intent, new integrations, continuous improvement of our account intelligence, the release of workspaces for enterprises, simplified dashboards, UI improvements, and more. We also believe this recognition mirrors the consistently positive reviews we receive from customers through Gartner Peer Insights and on G2. We extend our gratitude to Gartner, our customers, and our entire team. [Source – Cision PR Newswire] According to the Magic Quadrant report, the essential capabilities of ABM platforms include: Account-level intent data (proprietary and/or licensed) to understand customer behavior and buyer interest. Multi-channel campaign orchestration and activation drive engagement and progression in the buyer’s journey. Monitoring accounts and measuring analytics to quantify progress and performance across channels, campaigns, and programs On the downside, Demandbase may face stiff competition from other vendors in the ABM market, such as 6sense, Terminus, and Roll Works. It may need to invest more in product development, marketing, and customer support to maintain its leadership position and customer satisfaction. Additionally, it may encounter challenges in integrating its platform with other systems and data sources, such as CRM, marketing automation, and analytics tools. On the upside, Demandbase can leverage its recognition as a leader and a customer’s choice to attract new customers and retain existing ones. It can also showcase its product innovations and customer reviews as proof of its value proposition and differentiation in the market.

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For 50+ years, they’ve been the leader in outcome-based marketing. They enable marketing that’s built on proof, not promises. Through Epsilon PeopleCloud, the marketing platform for personalizing consumer journeys with performance transparency, Epsilon helps marketers anticipate, activate and prove ...

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