Digital transformation is not an add-on strategy. That’s the view of Tealium CMO Adam Corey, who believes this realisation has finally sunk in with CEOs across the globe who, he says, are taking a much more direct role in leading the change.

As power leeches out of the increasingly permeable membrane of the corporation and into the hands of consumers, organisations understand they need to radically rethink the kinds of experiences they create, he says. And that is where Tealium fits in.

The company is one of a clutch of businesses from the rapidly expanding marketing technology sector cashing in on the heightened importance of data in driving the relationship between brands and their consumers. 

Tealium began life as a tag management provider (helping companies manage all the advertising and measurement tags they include on their web pages). But these days it has morphed into a platform that seeks to help clients tame their data in a way that also increases their understanding of customers needs.

Tealium CMO, Adam Corey

A year ago, the business — which is currently growing its revenues at about 40 per cent per year — released its Universal Data Hub strategy which it describes as a single approach to managing data across teams, vendors, and customer touchpoints in real time. Think of it as an operating system for digital business, allowing customer-facing teams to build better, more consistent customer experiences in every channel.

But unlike other companies in the sector, even much larger businesses like Adobe, for instance, Tealium has always had to deal not only with marketers, but with IT. That’s important at a time when CIOs are being dealt aggressively back into the digital conversation, after years of exclusion.

Since the beginning, we always worked with IT, because they are often tasked with the responsibility of helping marketing integrate technology, and with moving data from one place to the other, as well as manage privacy and other controls.”

Likewise, Tealium is well placed to deal with the emergence of new digital power players as well.

According to Corey, the last 24 months have also seen the emergence of roles such as chief data officer or a chief analytics officer as companies look to assert more control over data and services that might once have been outsourced to agencies.

“We are seeing these roles where people are tasked with protecting the data that a company is collecting about their customers. That extends far beyond marketing.”

Corey says there is an urgency now at many companies to bridge the connection between the many disparate parts of the organisations. This is required not simply to ensure a smooth flow of data between silos, “… But more critically to ensure they think about their marketing investments and their tech investments and their analytic investments as part of the company’s holistic strategy.”

“Larger organisations recognise that they have to step on the accelerator in this area. They are sitting on a tremendous amount of wealth, when it comes to customer data. I think that’s one of the big lightbulb moments that we see in organisations around the globe.”

He said enterprises are starting to understand their competitive advantage, not only against their traditional market peers but also against cashed-up upstarts. “We have relationships with our customers and we’ve built equity in the data that we’ve collected.”

We asked Corey where he expects smarter brands to be placing their bets over the medium term. “Several years ago we were all talking about personalisation based on segments. Now the idea is to truly understand, and anticipate, and predict the behaviours and trends around of an individual and not a segment. That’s the future.”

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