Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Tom Treanor

In any conversation about customer experience, the topic of personalization is bound to come up. After all, 91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. 

However, personalization isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. If poorly executed, personalized marketing campaigns can alienate potential buyers and customers. And, it’s not just a matter of making sure your email to Dapper Dan isn’t addressed to Fancy Nancy. 

As Tom Treanor, Global Head of Marketing at Arm Treasure Data*, affirms: Perfect personalization requires the right data to create the right content and deliver it at the right time. Be too familiar, too soon, and your customers are looking for every digital restraining order they can find. 

For the last four years, the team at Arm Treasure Data has been helping enterprise brands like Subaru, Wish, and Shiseido forge deeper relationships with customers through their customer data platform (CDP) solutions. In this episode of Break Free B2B, Tom chats with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis about minimizing the personalization creep factor, developing a customer data strategy, and so much more.

Break Free B2B Interview with Tom Treanor


Use the following to jump ahead to specific insights about personalization, martech, and proving the value of your marketing efforts. Also, check out a few interview highlights included below. 

  • 00:31 – Where have marketers been winning? 
  • 01:14 – Integrating teaching into content
  • 02:18 – Personalization without the creepiness
  • 04:11 – How do privacy laws impact personalization? 
  • 04:50 – Winning at personalization
  • 05:28 – Developing a customer data strategy 
  • 06:50 – Mobile gaming company breaks down data silos to level-up success
  • 08:15 – What is a customer data platform (CDP)?
  • 09:42 – The martech landscape of the future
  • 11:32 – The difference between a CDP, CRM, and DMP
  • 12:58 – A 5-year forecast for personalization
  • 14:00 – Preparing your organization for personalization
  • 15:27 – The disconnect between executives and marketers
  • 16:43 – Proving your worth to business leaders
  • 19:49 – Why Arm Treasure Data rocks personalization
  • 21:04 – How can a B2B marketer break free

Susan: In terms of personalization, how does a marketer avoid the creepy factor?

Tom: Yeah, the creepy factor is when you try to personalize too quickly in the relationship. At the very top of the funnel—initial engagements—you don’t want to come out and say too much and share too much data back to them [to the point] where they go, “Well, how the heck did you know that?”

At the very top of the funnel—initial engagements—you don’t want to come out and say too much and share too much data back to them. @RtMixMktg #BreakFreeB2B #MarketingPersonalization Click To Tweet

…As people get more engaged with your company and provide you some informationmaybe they become a customer or do a trialthen it flips. And they expect you to know something about them and not to be speaking anonymously… So at the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level. So maybe geography or where they found you—that kind of thing. And then as you get deeper, you have more and more understanding. 

And also, there’s a difference between millennials and boomers. Millennials are much more willing to share data and to have personalized messaging, while boomers are a little bit more reticent. So you might want to think about your demographics as well.

Susan: Do you think marketers are veering into that creepy factor? Or is that the least of our problems? 

Tom: Well, I think they’re experimenting with a lot of things and doing what’s easy. I think the biggest problem is that they actually don’t know that much about their customers. So they have a hard time personalizing because they don’t have a foundation that provides the data all in one place from a bunch of different silos… Not many people have that holistic three customer 360-view; that’s the foundation for personalization.

Read: The Truth About Marketing Personalization, According to Arm Treasure Data’s Tom Treanor

Susan: Where do you see the market going in the next three to five years?

Tom: There’s such high demand from companies to really get that foundation of customer understanding. Have they contacted support? Are they actually using our product? How many times do they use our product? How many of the people in that account are logging into the product? Have they visited the website lately? Have they visited our pages a lot? 

Having that customer 360 understanding—whether it’s a single customer or an account view—I think that probably will be mostly solved in about five years. 

So that provides the foundation for then the marketers and content marketers, etcetera, to do more interesting personalization because they have that foundation. So that’s where the market is going to change. So I think we’re on that path to solve that. You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. It doesn’t make sense.

You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. @RtMixMktg #BreakFreeB2B #MarketingPersonalization Click To Tweet

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Previous interviews include: 

*Disclosure: Arm Treasure Data is a TopRank Marketing client.

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