IgnitionOne found new meaning in "customer intelligence." Now the company realizes its purpose revolves around supporting data.
SearchIgnite relaunched as IgnitionOne in 2011, and the executives spearheading the endeavor never looked back. In addition to search advertising, the company took on display, social and email advertising. Dentsu acquired IgnitionOne and then in 2013, its executives took the company private.
In 2018, IgnitionOne brought on more than 300 brands and agencies in auto, hospitality and retail including Peugeot, Nissan, Avaya, La Quinta, G6 Hospitality, Renault and ArteTV, among others.
Today the company also offers identity resolution, personalization, data modeling, attribution and data management.
Data & Programmatic Insider caught up with Chris Hansen, chief product officer at IgnitionOne, to talk about recent changes. Here are some of the excerpts of the conversation.
Data & Programmatic Insider: Does artificial intelligence (AI) create risk for brands?
Chris Hansen: There are some instances where machine-learning algorithms and AI do a much better job at processing data in real-time -- for example, programmatic. There are decisions that need to be made in a hundredth of a millisecond that clearly no human can make. For decisions around creating messaging to customers effectively, the technical execution can be handled by bots, but the creative part needs to be handled by humans.
D&PI: Has IgnitionOne turned into a data company?
Hansen: That’s something we have rustled with. I would say we’ve always been data-focused. Historically, I think we would have said audience-focused. Now I would say we are one-hundred percent a data company. The data we collect on behalf of a marketer on customers help them be better at advertising and marketing, but it’s really us realizing we’re a data company at heart and not an ad-tech company or media company.
D&PI: Does that bring IgnitionOne new challenges?
Hansen: Perhaps. For years, internally, I think it creates sort of an identity crisis. No now, but maybe two years ago when we realized search was becoming commoditized. The same is happening with programmatic. Yes, as we realized we were becoming a data company, maybe -- but not now.
With the emergence of customer intelligence, everything changed. 451 Research did a white paper on customer intelligence last year talking about how it’s a category bigger than customer data.
I think we have the identity crisis behind us as we strongly push the concept of customer intelligence.
D&PI: How did this company change occur?
Hansen: Two years ago we started focusing more on data and related applications. Using first-party data, we aggregate and allow brands to manage it. We create one source of data that gets processed through what we call ID resolution, which gives brands one view of their customer. It could pull data from cookies, CRM or from some other type of file. You can create audiences such as millennials who bought something on the site within 60 days and make it available to integrate with Google, DSP or Facebook, for example.
D&PI: What problem does it solve for brands?
Hansen: We almost created the solution before we discovered the challenge. The challenge seems to be around not having readily available access to customer data, even ecommerce retailers. Disparate systems to centralize one view of the customer creates the problem. We provide brands with an omnichannel view of all their marketing. A lot of marketers are still trying to figure out attribution. We’re able to create a centralized view.