With Tricia Wiles Ruiz, Creative Content Manager, True Influence
When companies build their strategic vision for growth, they often look at peers and competitors as benchmarks of where they should focus their efforts. But in visualizing its course as a leader in the rapidly evolving world of data-driven B2B marketing, MeritB2B came to a somewhat different conclusion.
“We spent a lot of time talking about competitive set and who potentially do we want to be like? And I think the decision was – like no one,” says Rob Sanchez, MeritB2B’s CEO. “We’re going to jump out in front of this thing.”
That philosophy led MeritB2B to join forces with True Influence in a move that company leaders say will create a new data-driven analytics and services platform to “give the modern CMO most everything they need,” Sanchez says. The acquisition (you can read the full details here) will combine MeritB2B’s advanced analytics and data management capabilities with True Influence’s industry-leading audience segmentation, campaign execution, and lead generation services.
At least in phase 1.
I had the chance to speak with both Rob Sanchez and RK Maniyani, our CTO at True Influence, about how the two companies can accelerate their existing customer relationships and create new opportunities for growth. The vision is to be agile, adaptive, and to base everything True Influence, powered by MeritB2B, on a deep understanding of the customer journey.
Exciting Times Ahead
First off, let me say this is a really exciting time for our team here at True Influence, powered by MeritB2B. As Maniyani noted in our conversation, we’ve been focused on data for about five years now, so the opportunity to tap into MeritB2B’s expertise creates a lot of opportunities for innovation and growth. And our sales teams are already talking about ways that we can offer demand generation and programmatic services to our new combined client lists.
In 2022, we’ll focus on integrating MeritB2B data streams and advanced analytics in the True Influence Marketing Cloud™. Maniyani says his team will also look at ways to productize some components of the platform, and generally look at “how all the pieces fit.” From there, it’s on to creating new features and capabilities that will make True Influence, powered by MeritB2B,
“a great platform to have most of the digital journey addressed by one company,” as he puts it.
It’s going to be a fun journey.
Data + Analysis + Execution = Accelerated Revenue
My chat with Sanchez and Maniyani, part of our True Influence Accelerating Revenue Series, covered a lot of ground, from how MeritB2B evaluated the acquisition from a “build vs. buy” perspective to the vision for developing a comprehensive data-driven marketing platform that’s unlike anything currently in the market.
Some of the issues we covered include:
Build, Buy, or Both?
Since taking on funding from Mountaingate Capital in 2019, MeritB2B has done an enormous amount of strategic planning around what types of acquisitions would position it for growth. It’s purchased a number of companies, including Compass Marketing and 180byTwo in the last 12 months. Since MeritB2B has always had a focus on data management and analytics, Sanchez says, it has viewed tech as a “build” category, and was largely looking to “buy” services that could grow its portfolio for existing and new customers.
But in talking with True Influence CEO Brian Giese and his team, Sanchez saw great fits in both his “build” and “buy” columns. True Influence’s demand generation services are obvious candidates to scale up across both companies’ existing customer base. But True Influence has also been a technology leader, helping define the intent data category and innovating in its own data analysis toolset. So there’s also a great opportunity to see “how those pieces fit together,” as Maniyani says.
Data Anywhere, As You Need It
One area where Maniyani says he wants to leverage MeritB2B’s data management expertise is in productizing audience segments via data marketplaces like LiveRamp and Snowflake. We’ve actively pursued such partnerships over the last few years, but Maniyani says MeritB2B’s expertise in moving data between cloud environments, which grew with the 180ByTwo acquisition, will greatly accelerate the process.
Both Maniyani and Sanchez added that data quality and privacy is another area where the new True Influence, powered by MeritB2B, will benefit from shared experience. MeritB2B excels at ensuring the quality of massive volumes of data, while True Influence’s TripleCheck® lead quality guarantee adds a new layer of accuracy to the most critical contact records.
Talent Always Makes a Difference
As with any acquisition, merging two corporate cultures is always a challenge, as well as one of the greatest opportunities. As I mentioned earlier, our sales teams are already discussing opportunities within our existing customer lists, and that process is only going to accelerate in Q1. Moving forward, Maniyani says he’s excited about the opportunities for his tech team to cross-learn from their new colleagues. The cornerstone of our culture here at True Influence has always been “living is learning,” so it’s a perfect fit.
The Path to a Customer Data Platform – or Something Even Better
Maniyani and Sanchez say that with our combined expertise in analytics and data management, True Influence, powered by MerittB2B, can build “a great platform to have most of the digital journey addressed by one company,” as Maniyani puts it. In many ways, this will resemble a Customer Data Platform, which includes all demographic, behavioral, and transactional data about prospects and customers. It’s a true 360-degree view of the relationship, powered by advanced analytics. But we’re also going to continue to provide industry-leading led gen and strategic consulting services.
“We’re going to be the unique set of complementary assets that creates a unique value proposition to the marketplace, and let people chase us,” Sanchez said.
Check Out the Episode!
Be sure to check out our full conversation with Rob Sanchez and RK Maniyani on your favorite platform.