Karl Van Delden (Stirista) - AccessB2B DX Platform Announcement
Jared Walls: Welcome to The Marketing Stir podcast by Stirista. Probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you're going to put in your ears. I'm Jared Walls, associate producer and Stirista's creative copy manager. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders to get their take on the current challenges of the market, but also have a little fun along the way. In this special in- person episode, Vincent catches up with Karl Van Delden, VP of engineering here at Stirista. They have an in- depth discussion about Stirista's new division, Access B2B and its new product. The DX Platform. Karl quizzes Vincent about barbecue and Vincent experiences the Texas- ness of Buc-ee's. Give it a listen.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Ladies and gentlemen, it's me, Vincent Pietrafesa. I am here live- ish, in person. We are in San Antonio. This is a special episode of The Marketing Stir supporting our series, The Bar Chat series. And I am here with my good friend. I say that because I've known you for many years now, prior to me joining Stirista.
Karl Van Delden: That's true.
Vincent Pietrafesa: I've met you at conferences. People think I've been at Stirista for like 12 years. It's only been two years, I guess I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But I am here in San Antonio with Karl Van Delden. And now Karl is our vice president of software engineering and he and I are going to talk today about our Access B2B Vision. I, of course, if you've been reading any articles on LinkedIn am the interim GM of Access B2B, that's just the title that they mistakenly gave me, but we're going to go with it because in six more hours, I'm probably not going to be the interim GM at all. Those of you who follow sports, you always see the interim coach or the interim GM. They never get the job. They never get the job. So that's going to be me as well. So anyway, Karl, so good to have you here. We had a great night of barbecue last night.
Karl Van Delden: Yep. You came down from New York, we had to treat you. If you visit Texas and you don't get your barbecue fix, did you really visit Texas?
Vincent Pietrafesa: You didn't. No. I went, I had barbecue. I visited a place called Buc- ee's. Wow, was that an experience! Shout out to Buc- ee's beautiful bathrooms. And I bought some beaver nuts, which that's a real thing, yeah. Anyway, we had awesome barbecue last night. We had a great time, but recently as people have been seeing, Access B2B, right? And there's a lot of pieces to Access B2B. So, access B2B for those people who don't know, it's our separate B2B division. And because we had so many things on our website before. You come to Stirista, there's a lot of great products and services. And you go on our website, it's like" Political data, new movers and B2B data." Why did Stirista separate it?
Karl Van Delden: Oh, I think like you said, even within the context of Access B2B, there's so many things on the table, so many services and products related to B2B that unless you're talking to a client and they're like," I'm a strictly B2B." You've got a lot on your plate. You've got a lot to cover more than you can do in an elevator pitch. So, it really made a lot of sense to create this Access B2B brand, to help drive that conversation, to help establish the boundaries of that conversation and really make something that's more customized and a better fit for B2B clients.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, no, I agree because I'm on the front lines of B2B and the B2B marketer thinks completely differently from the B2C marketer.
Karl Van Delden: Very true.
Vincent Pietrafesa: And having this one area where people can go and learn, okay. Just about our B2B data, our Amna, which is our identity graph. And then now within access B2B, is this new platform that you have been working tirelessly on in your team called DX. Talk to the good people out there about DX.
Karl Van Delden: Absolutely. So, like you said, we go really far back and I think it is a testament to your character. Even though you've only been with us for a couple of years, we go way back. So it's been great. And in those early days, our software offerings, we were just bootstrapping. And now with the growth that we've experienced in recent years, it's really kind of called to us to step up our game. So we've taken the best elements of all these different products that we've prototyped and launched and gotten feedback on. And it makes a lot of sense, especially with the launch of this access B2B brand to have our new platforms or flight paths. So we're taking all of our tools, all the classics to the next level. Even something as essential as count, which is" Tell us what kind of audience you want to build." And we have over 200 different data points, which can be kind of daunting. It's kind of like when you go to the Cheesecake Factory and they throw that whole little journal at you and you're like," Oh my God, should I even get cheesecake? Do you even have cheesecake here? It doesn't even seem like you have cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory."
Vincent Pietrafesa: Exactly.
Karl Van Delden: So, it's a modern environment and given our growth, it's really a called to us to take it to the next level. So the spiritual successors to count our scalp tools. So whether you're looking for large scale B2B audience building, or a prospecting kind of thing, maybe you're browsing around on LinkedIn trying to make some connections. Like you said, there's not exactly that dynamic for a B2C marketer. So B2B tools, getting them all in one spot because that's another thing is that there's kind of a disparity between the systems to where you might be doing one thing in one, but it wasn't really portable to one of the others. So we've really approached this with a software as a service enterprise scale solution, where you can bring your team, you can bring your teams, teams, whatever the scale of your organization or members that would need to be involved in these data operations. So we've added the team dimension and also really made it interoperable to where, whether you're using that audience builder tool to get, a couple thousand, tens of thousands of records in a list, or you're doing that one- off prospecting of just cruising through LinkedIn, adding profiles with our extension. It all flows into the same data store. So we have a bit of tools, layers that you can add to make it organized to fit your workflow. But whether it's your own first party data. And that's another cool thing is that, and the B2B marketers, they often maintain their own account. They do a domain- based, account- based marketing. So we can actually bring that data in, enhance it and it all flows right into that My Data Module.
Vincent Pietrafesa: That is interesting because in the B2B data world, gone are the days where people are working at a company for 30 years and you have the same email address. And it's like," Congratulations, Jeff, here's your gold watch. Thank you." B2B data's constantly changing. Either people are leaving jobs or unfortunately losing jobs. So they could put their first party data into DX and then immediately enhance it and say," Okay, this person's no longer there. This is the new email address for this person. This is the address." These are other, even consumer based elements of that individual, just to help your sales team better target. I know that's one of the pieces.
Karl Van Delden: Absolutely. And, say you go to a conference and you get a list of emails, just a list of emails. You upload that into our DX platform. If we find a match for that email and you go in and you view that contact, it's going to look as robust and complete as any other contact that you added directly from our data. And it's really that uniform experience, being able to scale it out and involve your team members to help everybody contribute to that workflow that I think is really some of the defining factors of this new platform.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. And a lot of people have been looking for something like this. Now there are other platforms that may mimic some features, but really, I think the enhancement piece, the prospecting piece, the LinkedIn extension piece, being able to look up someone on LinkedIn and being able to better identify that person, but also there's all the access to, no pun intended, of access B2B. You could then execute an email campaign from there. You could then upload that to Adster and execute a display campaign, connect to TV. That's all the other elements of being part of the Stirista family.
Karl Van Delden: And access B2B. Absolutely. You know, you mentioned email campaigns, you mentioned Adster, there are very unique ways that you approach campaigns on the B2B side. So that's why we brought it together with the new Access B2B Brand and looking to leverage that because it's one thing to get the data, right? There's so many companies that we work with that we get them up to speed. We expand on their data strategy, or maybe internally they decide we need data. Data, data, data! But it's also how you use that data, right? Because really at the end of the day, the data is only as great as you can employ it. So there's something to be said about the quality of data, which, we are pretty consistent in our process and keeping that updated and top of the line. But we've also really grown as far as our capabilities to provide our own campaign services in- house, leverage our experts in terms of strategy, as well as execution, and also using the outputs of those campaigns to get insights, which drive further action with that data. So it's one continuous cycle that really helps keep our clients moving forward.
Vincent Pietrafesa: And I think you're absolutely right. I think with Access B2B and the DX Platform, it's also the ability for people to have certain records under management, right? The, the way our kind of plans are developed, it's really to... Okay, you can upload as much of your own data as possible, but then you could access new data elements and new data and just kind of have it all in one place.
Karl Van Delden: Exactly.
Vincent Pietrafesa: What was the goal or the meaning behind that?
Karl Van Delden: Well, first party data is a really critical part. We're more than happy to help companies bootstrap from data's not even being in the picture, maybe they've always contracted or worked with an agency and they don't really have any data of their own to speak from, but building your first party assets and being able to leverage them, we don't want to leave that out in the cold. So we facilitate that first party upload. And at the end of the day, it ends up in the same spot that we enabled them to get our third party data and getting it all in the same spot. That's where the records under management comes into play. Is that we can support both of those and take them through to those campaigns that real portability, interoperability. We don't want to leave anything off the table if they have valuable assets, which first party data I think is becoming more important by the date. Wouldn't you say?
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, I know. Definitely. And I think a lot of people, they're also more concerned about the being in one place, the safety, the security of their data, why people, I think likes Stirista is because while you could put it in one place and you can then execute from our own sending strategy of sending solution, you could from our own DSP and it's all in one area and that's important for people. Why work with nine different partners when you can work with one?
Karl Van Delden: That's true, that's true. And inside consolidation, and also the scalability. Being able to involve your other team members because, especially in a larger company, sometimes being spread too thinly across different relationships is a symptom just because there's not a solution that scales like that. So it was very important to us because in the classic days, access, a user was a user. And once you got through there it was kind of just your own. But we've really taken that to task. You can have hundreds of team members on the platform with you, utilizing that same central data repository and dragging it forward into campaigns.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. And it's all in one place because a lot of teams you hear just from talking to clients, just from The Marketing Stir, people always say," Well, my sales teams here, my marketing team is here and they have their own different instances." This is all in one place, which is great. Another question I have for you, Karl is what features, when's the rollout, right? Where Access B2B, people might've seen that going on. We launched access B2B. We had a great quote from salary. com. We appreciate that. That's out there. DX Platform is going to be coming out. Talk about when, the features and then what's kind of the next step for that?
Karl Van Delden: Yeah. In keeping with the platform mindset, this isn't just something that we're going to launch and then leave to collect dust.
Vincent Pietrafesa: And we're not going to do anything new to it. Yeah.
Karl Van Delden: Living, breathing foundation for us to launch all manner of features, expand on. So this initial release, which we're expecting to really get its wheels here in July is focused around that data. So the first party uploads, the audience builder that kind of quick search prospecting, as well as the extension, which anybody familiar with our scalp tool, that extension is probably one of the most convenient ways to add and prospect. So we even gave that a revamp of sorts. But as far as the future goes, we're looking to incorporate more of the best of class from our other products, Visitor ID Graph, which we've gained a lot of traction on. Looking to integrate that as part of the platform, as well as taking through to the full integrated campaign services. So, email, digital, leveraging Adster. So, there's a couple other surprises that maybe we don't want to spoil too much.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Our next bar chat over more barbecue, but Karl, you said VIG. Talk about that. Because for people who don't know, Visitor ID Graph won a Sammy award, which is a major technical award I found out months ago. And I never knew about it before, but I know about it now. And I always talk about it. So tell people what VIG is as well.
Karl Van Delden: Oh yeah, sure. Visitor ID Graphs. So, the old saying goes if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a noise? When it comes to the modern strategy of creating an online storefront or place for people to see your online web presence, if you're not taking action to observe and analyze what's going on with that website, what good is it really doing you? So VIG in its early days, the main value was to be able to identify and re- target visitors to your website and conventionally, we would back that out to the consumer records so that we could do in like an email campaign. But of course, with Adster, we further enhance that to where you can actually create dynamic audience segments on Adster, generated from visitors to your website. And so we've really brought it full circle. Looking to expand more on the B2B side as well. It's not getting long in the tooth by any means, but I'd say it's kind of earned its stripes and it's been around for a couple of years now, VIG. And we're looking for new and exciting ways to leverage it and make it part of the big picture.
Vincent Pietrafesa: In VIG, a lot of clients utilize it also in the direct mail space. So if you have our VIG pixel on your site and someone goes to a particular car and you go to" I don't own a car because I live in New York City and it's like$ 800 bucks a month to just park it." But if you go into a car site and say, you go click on the Nissan Altima page, and then you leave that page. Well, then how cool would it be to get in the mail a few weeks later, a brochure about the Nissan Altima that you just looked at? I mean, that's pretty powerful.
Karl Van Delden: Absolutely. And it's really those contextual insights that you can get that can take it to the next level. I mean, it's one thing to just know that," Oh, so- and- so and Vincent's kind of warming up to this idea of getting a car." It's quite another to be all like," Well, he was looking pretty interested in this make or model." And we've talked before about the power of customizing and customizing your outreach and adding personalization and there being a balance between just picking up and calling, like," I see you've been on my website."
Vincent Pietrafesa: I'm watching you... it's like," What?"
Karl Van Delden: No, I don't think anyone wants to get that call, but getting those insights, being able to customize your value offer that much more, really does take it to the next level.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, no, it does. And so we talked about Access B2B, we talked about DX, which is Demand Exchange. There'll be more on that. You'll be sitting on a website on LinkedIn, all over social, but can you paint a picture about what's coming down? Just the engineering and the new products? We just looked at it here as a team Q3, Q4, can you talk a little bit about what people can expect from Stirista in the next two quarters?
Karl Van Delden: Certainly. So we've talked a lot about the DX platform with regards to the Access B2B new branding, right? This is a platform whose main focus is B2B. We're looking to also roll out kind of an analog to that on the B2B side, with... We wouldn't want to leave B2C in the dust. There's a lot of people out there looking for a lot of things in the B2C sectors. So, certainly bringing that part of the platform up to snuff as well, geo location, as things are opening back up. But before you might be able to re- target people at their house pretty easily. You've got your postal lists, but as they get back out there and they start hitting the venues, hitting the locations, being able to geo- fence, do geographic analyses, we'll see a lot more of that this year. And also, we have our identity graphs, Amna which we rolled out the headlines there recently on that. So what that is, is essentially taking these different aspects, these different layers of what... And I think it's probably past due now, but the online footprint, there's so many different ways that we kind of identify yourselves across apps on online, that kind of thing. So being able to bring that together to leverage across different channels as well.
Karl Van Delden: Yeah. And the first party data as well, the walled gardens as they say. So, I think it is certainly an interesting time in kind of an upheaval for companies that have focused strictly on the cookie technology for retargeting. But I also think that it's almost a moment of clarity where, maybe there's less fraud, there's more clear attribution. There's a clearer reflection and correlation between your efforts, your marketing efforts and what they yield.
Vincent Pietrafesa: No, definitely, and I want to ask a few more questions, Karl, where you've been at Stirista, what eight years, six years?
Karl Van Delden: I'm going on my eighth, seven years just completed that in March.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Seven years?
Karl Van Delden: Yeah.
Vincent Pietrafesa: What have you seen the biggest change? I remember this company... I was like employee number maybe 40, two years ago. Now it's like 65, 68. But when you started here, what's the biggest shift and the biggest difference you see from year one to now, almost year eight?
Karl Van Delden: Oh my goodness. crosstalk
Vincent Pietrafesa: Those crazy questions. We're at the bar right now, Karl. This is a-
Karl Van Delden: Sorry. It's hard to pick one. I'll see that I could say anything from the size of the office, to the number of people in the office, to the number of products, but I think things have just really rounded out, well. We're as committed as ever to our data strategy and every good campaign starts with good data. There's no getting around that. So I guess the question is what's changed the most? Or?
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. What, in your mind, like to you, what has changed the most? You ask the people like, well," We were doing this product and now we have this." Just kind of that past and present kind of question.
Karl Van Delden: I think maybe the most formative change that we've seen over the years, and I think will continue is that before, we might've had different kinds of relationships with agencies or filling in certain gaps, but we've really become all the more self- sufficient that people would call us back in the day. They might've called us an agency back in the day, but these days, we're an end to end marketing solution company. And I think that's becoming clearer by the day. It used to just be," We'll go to Stirista for the data and then we'll send a list over here." Well, sure that still happens. But I think people are beginning to question more and more every day," Why pass it down the river?" One- stop shop. We talked about that life cycle of the data from acquisition to using it in the campaign to using those insights from the campaign to drive new efforts. So, we're painting a big picture these days. End to end and adding a lot of value and finding a lot of efficiencies with our clients in that. So I think again, there's a lot of small things under that umbrella that have happened, but our evolution into a definitive marketing solutions company.
Vincent Pietrafesa: I agree. And I think now, Stirista is a marketing technology. That's how I describe it. We focus on identity. So I think that you're right. I remember Stirista in the early days, like you said, right? Meeting you guys, you and Ajay, and now it's like,"No, we have technology products, we have our own DSP. We have..." So it's kind come a long way. And now one of the questions we ask on The Marketing Stir, I know you listen to every episode, probably not, but You're a busy man. You're a busy man.
Karl Van Delden: I listened to it a lot.
Vincent Pietrafesa: But we ask this question and you were the title of VP of software engineering, a LinkedIn question. I'd be remiss if I didn't ask our signature question. So what is... You're a nice guy, so I'm sure it's probably, you welcome everyone, but what's a LinkedIn message that you just hate? And what is one that is," You know what? I'll respond back to this company."?
Karl Van Delden: I do appreciate the personal touch. I think if it has a sponsored sticker on it, I'm checking out pretty fast, but I think by extension, one thing I can't stand is something genuine that's really sponsored, behind the scenes. So, if people try to reach out to me in a meaningful way, I'm all for that. But sponsored, I always take that with a grain of salt, whether it's a LinkedIn story or a LinkedIn message or, or LinkedIn story, things show up in feeds not always because they're the hot buzz, but it says someone had a hot wallet.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. The sponsor. I don't think we've heard that on The Marketing Stir, where it's been... We get a lot of like," Spell my name right." Someone spells your name with a C as opposed to a K. You're like," Wait a minute."
Karl Van Delden: That's true.
Vincent Pietrafesa: That would be one, but the sponsor thing. Yeah. That's a new one where you could see that you're like," All right, I know they spent money on this and I'm not going to do it."
Karl Van Delden: And you know, at the same time, it's kind of flattering because they did spend money to reach the audience. If they're willing to put their money where their mouth is, then maybe that's worth the second guess. But yeah.
Vincent Pietrafesa: I liked that answer. I liked that answer. For me, I always tell people, flattery works with me. Just say something nice about you. Don't talk about being on The Marketing Stir podcast when you didn't say anything nice about it at first. And so that's what I tell people.
Karl Van Delden: That's fair.
Vincent Pietrafesa: In that case. But Karl, this has been awesome, we are happy to have you here. I'm happy to be in San Antonio to see you. Happy to have some barbecue. I don't know what we're doing tonight, but we'll figure something out. But we love having you here. And then people could reach out to Karl, but not sponsored, reach out to him directly if you have any questions about Access B2B, reach out to me. Vincent @ stirista. com. I am former interim GM, Vincent Pietrafesa, this is Karl Van Delden. This has been a special episode of The Marketing Stir. Thank you so much for being here. Karl.
Karl Van Delden: My pleasure, Vincent. Good to see you.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Take care everyone.
Jared Walls: Thanks for listening to The Marketing Stir podcast by Stirista. Please like, rate and subscribe. If you're interested in being a guest on the podcast, email us at themarketingstir @ stirista. com. And thanks for listening.
This week Vincent is joined by Karl Can Delden. Karl, VP of Engineering at Stirista, discusses the new division AccessB2B and its new product, the DX Platform. You'll also hear Karl quiz Vincent about BBQ and Vincent experiencing the "Texas-ness" of Buc-ee's. Tune in to learn what to expect from the new DX Platform.