Growing a $100,000,000 Productized Service— w/ Russ Perry of Design Pickle



“When you do designs, it is like doing accounting, all businesses need it”.

That’s what Russ Perry, creator of Design Pickle told me about his 8-figure productized graphic design business.

In this interview, Russ teaches us some critical nuts and bolts advice to building and scaling a successful productized service. 

His business, Design Pickle, is a service that provides unlimited graphic designs to businesses by pairing clients with a professional graphic designer.

With 2,800 active clients and 12,000+ serviced to date, Russ’ business is on track to become a $100,000,000+ company he says. 

Not bad, right?

If you are a startup looking for some inspiration, or the owner of a business with ambitions to keep growing I think you’ll extract several “golden nuggets” from this interview.

Let’s dive in to learn how to build and scale your company.

Key Takeaways:

  • [08:26] Russ reveals the key piece of advice he would give to himself if he could go back in time. He also explains how it applies to his experience creating Design Pickle and his first agency.
  • [09:57] He talks about the importance of niching, and how its definition has expanded since he started the business.
  • [10:29] Even successful entrepreneurs make mistakes. Russ reveals the ones he made early on by trying to niche vertically, and how he finds his niche in the maturity of clients.
  • [12:08] He talks about the different niches they are going after right now. E.g: designing for advertising campaigns.
  • [14:30] Russ mentions some of the reasons why niches are valuable, and why he didn’t have one when he first owned an agency.
  • [17:39] He goes in-depth on the process of moving from being an agency owner to building Design Pickle. He also explains how he chose to go from a support model business to a marketing model business.
  • [18:42] Design Pickle is moving away from the unlimited graphic designs marketing branding and Russ explains the reasons why.
  • [19:00] What do Disneyland and Design Pickle have in common? Russ shares the inspiration he found in Disney for building his business model.
  • [20:01] Do you know what “Disneyfy” the design experience mean? He gives us a very clear answer.
  • [24:11] He talks about the influence of competitors in his business and the decision to stop sharing growth numbers.
  • [28:13] He reveals the secret for his business to earn a $100,000,000 in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).
  • [36:00] Russ confesses what he is still missing to grow his business to $100,000,000.
  • [37:25] He explains how Design Pickle has become the solution for when your designers can’t deliver to you.
  • [42:06] He opens up about how he managed personal challenges, problems, and stress while scaling the business.
  • [44:10] He talks about his background. Russ Perry also shares how his creative energy and right-handed pragmatic engineer mindset come from growing up in a family of artists.


Top 5 Critical Takeaways:

  • [24:50] His response to how he manages competitors and companies stealing his ideas is clear and firm: staying out of it.
  • [28:42] Tens of companies with 30,000 clients each can easily turn into $1,000,000 companies by crashing and revolutionizing the design industry.
  • [35:46] Having cash in the bank is necessary for any business to grow, no matter how awesome your product is.
  • [47:45] He tries to get the bad emotions out of things and look at the past through the lens of facts and not feelings. He advises to invest in development and coaching based on his experience.
  • [58:08] The best mistake Russ Perry has made and that has made him learn the most has been hiring the wrong people.

Resources Mentioned:

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The Drawbacks of Personalized Marketing


Personalization seems to be the future of marketing, but that doesn’t mean it will take the form we expect. According to a recent study, 72% of consumers will only engage with personalized marketing — but 86% are deeply concerned about their data privacy. The implication is clear: marketers must carefully manage data and personalization strategies, though sometimes the drawbacks aren’t worth the effort.

Experts warn that personalization shouldn’t become the end-all, be-all of mobile marketing. Some businesses unintentionally include banal messaging, thoughtless associations, and disturbing biases in algorithms. Here are a few dangers and drawbacks marketers can avoid while targeting the 80% of consumers who appreciate personalized experiences.

More from PostFunnel on personalization:
A Guide to Personalized Marketing In 2019
“Data science enables a personalized experience without being creepy”
How to Use Personality Science to Increase Retention on a Large Scale

Personalizing the wrong channels

Omnichannel marketing is this decade’s buzzword, but it’s not cheap. Personalization along every vector (or even just one) can get expensive. Organizations with smaller budgets might consider which services need personalizing, and where they’re better off with traditional, top-down marketing.

Conventional marketing wisdom isn’t known for its messaging subtlety, and it’s possible to overextend your reach. In most cases, a small personalized touch performs better than a swelling tide of personalization. For example, including unconfirmed details about a customer makes your company look amateurish, or worse — automated and impersonal. Consumers don’t particularly like the thought of a brand following them everywhere they go, either. Poorly implemented push notifications are a major offender — customers view them as 74% creepier than any other form of marketing, slightly ahead of direct phone calls.

Throwing money at the newest, shiniest, or most interesting technologies without considering the most common personalization use cases is a recipe for disaster. Careful advance planning is well warranted.

Putting personalization over consumer choice

The algorithms that drive personalization are just as fallible as their human creators and tend to amplify strategic errors. Poorly targeted product filtering can unintentionally distance customers from products they might have otherwise purchased. Restricting visible choices to a customer’s past cart total, for example, can limit impulse purchases of higher value items. When personalization overrides customer choice it can damage sales, so marketers should take care to fully understand how their personalization tools work.

Ultimately, marketers are well served to remember that their knowledge of customers is limited and fallible. It’s limited because even marketers with huge data sets can have trouble correlating exact data to a specific person. It’s fallible because there’s never a guarantee that the person making a purchase is who the data thinks they are — after all, customers can and do share Netflix profiles and loyalty programs.

Impersonal personalization

Personalization marketing is evolving rapidly. A decade ago, interest-based product filtering was a cutting-edge technique. Now, consumers receive recommendations of products similar to what they’re currently viewing, newsletters with products like ones they’ve purchased, and reminders about their abandoned shopping carts. These are no longer personalization techniques with added value — these are baseline tactics for organizations of all sizes.

But these methods can be a double-edged sword. Failed personalization and low customer trust cost businesses as much as $756 billion in 2016. Marketers should consider what’s being sold to whom before letting an algorithm take blanket control of campaigns. Watch out for retargeting advertisements. Could a personal item like deodorant potentially follow a consumer from website to website? What if engagement ring advertisements pop up on a shared device?

Most of all, customers resent having their time wasted. We’ve already mentioned the customer who missed an interesting product because the algorithm didn’t see a connection. On the other hand, there’s no point in constantly marketing goods or services that are only purchased periodically, such as major appliances or home renovations. Wasting a customer’s time with irrelevant ads will almost certainly harm a brand’s trust — which is difficult to get back.

Being personal without hazarding “the creep factor”

Finally, we arrive at the most notorious drawback of personalization: blatant overreach. Worst case scenario, someone will get a mailer announcing their teen daughter is pregnant. Or maybe it’ll be retargeting ads that make users feel like they’re being followed by an unfamiliar brand. Getting featured on “personalization marketing fails” lists or showing up on a blog post as a “marketing gone wrong” warning story won’t earn anyone high marks this year.

Personalized marketing should be personalized, but not personal. Marketers must get permission from users to use their data — it’s the safest way to ensure that even mistargeted ads are well-received. Consumer opt-in increases the likelihood by as much as 79% that marketing will be well-received, because the customer has already made a mental decision that they trust the marketing. When using a customer’s personal data, it’s almost always better to ask for permission than for forgiveness.

For the moment, we won’t get into the discussion of compliance with bodies like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which costs companies money and time. Governments are increasingly willing to step in and regulate marketers with legal oversight — so marketers need to get better at avoiding the drawbacks of personalization marketing before an annoyed public asks for change. The benefits, of course, far outweigh the risks, but marketers have lots of room for improvement. Only 22% of customers are very satisfied with their loyalty programs, and getting to know your customers by personalizing your marketing is the quickest way to increase that satisfaction.

Keep Your First-Time Customers Coming Back

The post The Drawbacks of Personalized Marketing appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Your First Two Minutes – Live vs. Recorded


A friend recently pointed me to a video on YouTube. It’s an hour-long talk, but I’m going to ask you to just watch the first two and a half minutes. Go ahead and watch the introduction… I’ll wait.

Now look at the comments posted below the video. As I write this, the most recent comment is from user gdcat777: “Just shut up with the nerdy intro and get to the point.”

Wow. Rude and a minority opinion in conflict with the few other people who wrote to indicate their enjoyment of the lecture. But rather than dismissing the comment out of hand, let’s think about what could drive gdcat777 to issue a demand that in order to be effective would have to be retroactively applied a year before they watched the recording!

I’ll start by saying that in my opinion, the presenter did a fine job of quickly establishing a personal and personable relationship with his audience in the room. He communicated enthusiasm for his subject. He conveyed energy despite being stuck behind a podium, blocked by screens. He even landed a topic-related joke and follow-on joke that worked – getting a good reaction from his listeners without wasting a lot of time on setup.

By the minute and a half mark, he has switched to illustrating benefits for the listener: “It has dramatic, significant impacts on your health and wellbeing.”

So, why the hate?

There are several psychological factors at play, none of which were the presenter’s concern, nor his responsibility to consider. He gave a good live talk to a local audience, just as he was asked to do. It’s not his fault that the dynamics of watching recorded content are different.

The attention span and topic commitment of an online viewer are very much shorter than for an audience that has traveled to a location and sat down in a room. Online viewers have an infinite number of potential other content sources competing for their time. They want to know almost immediately whether this particular one is going to pay off in terms of having what they were looking for.

The first 30 seconds of viewing time on the video offer nothing for the YouTube viewer. Some introductory music, title cards for the sponsor/presenting body, a “good evening” and thanks to an audience for “braving the weather” and being part of the mini-med school experience. It’s probably not evening for us, and we certainly did not brave any weather in order to watch this video. We’re also not part of the shared experience he is referencing. C’mon… get to the point!

Then the presenter sets up the topic and his joke by referencing the title of the talk. He looks off to the side, directing the audience’s eyes to the screen in the room so they are concentrating on the same words he is about to riff on. But we in YouTube land can’t see the title. The effect is ruined for us. He’s not making eye contact with us and we can’t see the object of focus in the discussion. So the joke and his thoughts about the subject carry less impact and relevance for us. He also references the fact that it fits in well with “the med school framework that you guys have been going through.”  Uh uh… Not me!

Now all of that introductory “fluff” (as far as gdcat777 is concerned) takes up a mere minute and a half. See how little time you have to make a first impression on your viewer? Unfortunately it’s compounded by the next minute. The first content slide we see is a classic “Outline” with four numbered points. This is a common approach in the academic community… One is taught early on to organize and structure academic writing into an outline format. In the general business world the slide would be the same, but would have a title of “Agenda.”

I have written about the dangers of agenda slides (or outline slides) in the past. If only this presenter had slightly changed the framework of how he presented these topic points… “What are the key questions that concern us regarding the impact of sleep on health and wellbeing?”  Or “I imagine you want to know the answers to some of these important questions that can affect your health and wellbeing.” Or even the more direct route of “What can you expect to take away from this talk?”

The goal is to put the emphasis on value to the listener rather than highlighting the way the speaker chose to organize the content.

Had there been that kind of a segue into the content, it could have made an opportunity for the sponsor to edit the opening of the recorded video.

I’d move the opening UCTV logo to the end… “This has been a presentation from UCTV.”

Instead, I would open with a slide that combines the UCSF Osher title above the line with the talk’s title below the line: “Sleep, Inflammation, and Metabolism: Sleep-worthy Connections!” (Get rid of that long, long title above the line. It takes too long to read and offers no additional critical information.)

Then I would open on the speaker after his remarks to the local audience. Go straight into the topics slide with him offering the key things that this talk is going to communicate. The online viewer doesn’t get the nice, gentle introduction and ramp-up into the content. Instead, they jump straight to “Here’s the meat. If this is what you were looking for, you found it.”

It’s not as personable. It feels more abrupt. But in this age of instant gratification, shortened and abbreviated content (If u know wt I mn), and competing sources of information, it gives you greater odds of holding viewers past that critical first couple of minutes.

Online viewers are brutal. Meeting their needs and interests quickly with a recording is a different kettle of fish from working an opening with a live audience. By the way, that’s also why you should avoid recording the opening remarks from your webinar moderator telling attendees how to use the webinar platform controls and type in questions. Record from (or edit to) the start of the presentation proper. Let online viewers skip “the nerdy intro and get to the point.”


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How to Win Back Late-Churn Customers (Part II)


The Value of Late-Churn Customers

Because late-churn customers proved valuable to your business over time, it’s worth it to keep them engaged with your brand. In contrast to quick-churners, late-churn customers have more experience with your brand and will likely have more to say about their experience than those who defected without a second thought. So, even if your late-churning customers end up walking away for good, you can still squeeze value out of them before they go.

When reengaging late-churn customers, follow this two-step process:

  • Reacquaint yourself with them and reinforce your value
  • Determine their reasons for inactivity, and make the appropriate adjustments wherever possible

Reengaging your late-churn customers means considering their journey with your business and finding a mutually beneficial outcome from reengagement.

More from PostFunnel on churn:
How to Win Back Quick-Churn Customers
Asking the Experts: Refining the Elusive Definition of Churn
The Scramble for Our Happiness: How Telecoms Combat Churn

Get Reacquainted with Late-Churn Customers — and Reinforce Your Value

If a once-loyal customer went incommunicado, reach out and focus on both the personal and the business aspects. Your reengagement efforts should be focused on the wellbeing of your customers first, and your marketing initiatives second.

Take a look at this example from Piperlime:



In a tongue-in-cheek way, Piperlime drops in to check on their late-churn customers, assures them that they’re under no pressure to further engage if they choose not to, and ultimately lets them decide how to proceed.

Did some recipients remove themselves from Piperlime’s mailing list? Probably. But others might use this lighthearted reminder as a springboard for further engagement. For those ‘we miss you’ mailers, share your latest updates or product improvements. Your aim is to bring customers back into the fold by highlighting what matters to them.

StruckAxiom focused its late-churn customers’ attention on their website redesign, explaining that they upgraded their site due to customer feedback.


You can also try to reengage your dormant customers by reminding them of upcoming company events, as YouVersion does here:


It’s worth noting that the above email isn’t sent to all late-churn customers — just those who participated in a previous branded event. By ultra-personalizing your reengagement emails and correspondences, you have a much bigger chance of getting them back on track.

Incentives are also a great option to excite once-loyal customers. Whether it’s freebies, discounts, or any other reengagement offer, it’s essential that you match the incentive to the individual customer.

First, make sure your offer is highly relevant to their engagement history. Birchbox, for example, offers lapsed customers a choice between two free gift boxes:


By providing customers with a choice, the beauty subscription brand doubles the chances of earning a high ROI. Had the company informed late-churners that “their free gift is waiting for them,” uninterested recipients would have likely ignored the offer and opted out of receiving any additional emails. When including an incentive in reengagement emails, limit spend on late-churn customers who aren’t worth the effort.

The trick is to provide an offer valuable enough to get customers excited again, but not so valuable that winning them back ends up draining your resources.

Determine the Reason for Inactivity — and Make the Necessary Improvements

If value and incentive approaches aren’t working to reengage customers, shift your focus toward generating feedback on:

  • Why they’re leaving
  • What — if anything — you can do to change their minds
  • What you can do to ensure others like them don’t defect
  • Whether making these improvements is worth the investment

While there’ll be times when there isn’t anything you can do to keep a late-churn customer on board (ages out of a demographic, moved away, lifestyle change, etc.), verify the reason for their departure and use the feedback as an opportunity to improve your customer experience.

Check out how Groove approaches this situation:


There’s no further offer or incentive here. No grand promises. It’s just the owner of a company trying to improve his offering for customers. Once you collect this feedback, the only thing left to do is start making the improvements and keep your audience in the loop.

Airbnb uses its newsletter to address safety concerns and explain what the company is doing to fix those issues:


By keeping your dormant, late-churn customers in the loop and aligning your updates with their evolving needs, you stand a chance of reengaging them. And that’s really what it comes down to:

Evolving your business with the needs of your most valuable customers.

Your customers are going to move on eventually. But, by evolving your offering as they grow, you should always be able to meet their needs while they’re still around — or even when they’re on the fence.

Guide to reengaging churned customers

The post How to Win Back Late-Churn Customers (Part II) appeared first on Post Funnel.

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5 Tips to Build a Lasting Emotional Connection With Your Customers


Consumers’ emotions greatly influence their transactional behavior. 70% of ’emotionally engaged’ consumers say they spend up to two times or more on brands they’re loyal to. While emotions can help you win wallet share and increase retention, forming a personal bond with consumers is tricky business. To avoid missteps, check out these five tips on forming a better emotional connections with your customers.

Give Customers A Sense of Belonging

While consumers are more technologically connected than ever before, they feel increasingly emotionally disconnected to their surroundings and the commercial noise. This void has led consumers towards brands that give them a sense of belonging. More than 65% of consumers feel emotionally connected to a brand that made them feel like they cared about people like themselves.


A couple of ways you can help consumers feel at home with your brand:

Create A Community: Build an online sharing community to connect with customers and strengthen interpersonal connections. Keep community members engaged by asking for their opinions on product updates, news, or relevant announcements, and encourage group participation. Use the virtual space to host conversations but consider leveraging physical assets as places for social meetups and further engagement.

Encourage Co-creation: Create opportunities for customers to influence innovation by enabling them to participate in product development. For example, Lego has an online community that allows members to submit their own design ideas for new sets.


For smooth co-creation, devise a clear strategy that effectively communicates any guidelines, rules, or necessary background information.

Promote Your Brand Values

64% of consumers are belief driven. Emphasize your brand values and how you differ from competitors to create long-lasting relationships with your customers. Focus on values that fit your brand identity, but also resonate with the modern customer. 70% of emotionally engaged consumers say that brand values such as social responsibility or eco friendliness are important to them. Here’s how to promote your values:

Highlighting Shared Values: Before committing to a brand, consumers must recognize any shared values. To create a personal relationship, find out which values resonate with customers and find opportunities for making a difference. Just stick to initiatives or causes that fit with your branding.

Commit to Your Values:  Show customers you’re committed to upholding your values by living your purpose. This means incorporating these ideals into your workplace culture and business strategies.

Communicate Those Values: Display your brand’s values in places where customers can easily see them, such as on your website, advertising, or in within your content. When communicating your values, take a positive stance and avoid focusing on opposition.

Show Respect

Show customers you respect them and you’ll win their hearts. Treating your customers with respect can enhance their feelings of honesty, trust, and integrity towards your brand. Use the following tips to show consumers some respect:

Demonstrate Transparency: Offer consumers insights into the inner workings of your brands, such as how you source products and your environmental impact. You can also demonstrate transparency by enabling customers to track your supply chain, owning up to your mistakes, and taking steps to correct them, and using a transparent pricing model.

Luxury accessories​ label ​Oliver​ ​Cabell​, ​uses​ a ​transparent​ ​pricing model on its website, that shows customers production costs and provides exact details of what the cost covers.



Deliver On Your Promise: Breaking your brand promise is a fast way to show customers that you don’t respect them. To consistently live up to your values, equip your employees with the tools they need to provide an emotionally satisfying customer experience at each touch point. Additionally, create standards that operationalize your brand promise and collect customer feedbacks.


Provide Fast Support: Show customers you value their time by quickly attending to and resolving their complaints. 9 in 10 emotionally engaged consumers want real-time responses and speedy resolution. Empower frontline staff with a 360-degree view of your customers to help them respond to queries in real time, resolve issues during first contact, and go above and beyond for to meet their needs. Keep up to date proactive customer service platforms like FAQs and knowledge forums up to date as well.


Recognizing customers makes them feel special and creates an emotional connection that can lead to more sales. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands recognize, remember, and provide them and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations. Beyond welcoming them with a smile and addressing them by their first name, we gathered a few tips that’ll show your shoppers that they matter:

Curate The Right Products: 48% of consumersleft a business’ website and made a purchase on another site or store because it was poorly curated. Combine human intuition with algorithms to help you curate the right products for customers and deliver a pleasant customer experience. Help customers discover interesting products by filtering product catalogs down to browseable collections and make items easy to find. Canopy lists only one price and a link to Amazon in order to make the shopping experince simple and predictable.


Personalize Your Website: If you haven’t already, upgrade your site by creating a customer journey map to learn how they make their way through your website and identify opportunities for personalization. Then, use this data to adjust website content in real-time based on the customer’s preferences, browsing behavior, location, purchasing history, etc.


Provide Relevant Offers: For relevant offers, use a recommendation engine that can analyze user preferences, continuously updates with new data, and make suggestions based on online activity.

Give Out Rewards

Rewarding your customers produces positive outcomes for you too; they’ll feel appreciated, grateful, valued, and more willing to spend on your brand. A couple of tips when using rewards to build an emotional connection:

Surprise and Delight: Give unexpected rewards to make customers feel special. When designing this strategy, tie your surprise into a business goal and determine the target audience that’ll earn the most traction from your initiative.

Give Experiential Loyalty Rewards:  Leverage customer insights to understand what your customers value and use that knowledge to drive your reward design. You can give experiential rewards to all your customers or only high-level customers depending on your business goals.


Make Your Customers Catch Feelings

As retail becomes increasingly competitive, emotional connections are crucial for remaining in business. To successfully connect with your customers, know your segments and what motivates them. Measure performance using metrics that gauge intent, sentiment, and perceptions, like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Sentiment scores to navigate this often-tricky two-way street.


How to Manage Infinite Customer Journeys


The post 5 Tips to Build a Lasting Emotional Connection With Your Customers appeared first on Post Funnel.

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures


I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

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The 2019 Guide to Customer Data Platforms


For the PostFunnel Nuts and Bolts series, we’ve discussed in-app advertising, SMS marketing, social media, and much more. So how do marketers go about managing data from all of these channels simultaneously? Especially if customers are interacting with your brand from multiple contact points?

This is one area where marketers are victims of their own success. As digital marketing becomes the global standard, businesses have become inundated with higher volumes of customer data. Organizing this information into useful formats is a genuine challenge with few promising solutions. In 2019 however, one seems to stand above the rest: Customer Data Platforms.

As part of PostFunnel’s Nuts and Bolts series, we’ll delve into the world of modern Martech to shed some light on tools and best practices being used by you – our fellow marketers – in your day-to-day strategies. Every month, our experts will sink their teeth into another aspect of this fascinating field, hopefully inspiring you to elevate your business through smart marketing.

Check out our features section with special projects and articles for your reading pleasure

What is a customer data platform?

A customer data platform (CDP) is a marketing software solution that is used to build and manage a persistent customer database. Its primary function is to aggregate data from multiple channels to render a unified customer profile.

The Customer Data Platform Institute classifies CDPs using three core elements:

  • Pre-Packaged: Each CDP is a prebuilt solution that is customized to meet client needs. While technical expertise is still required for setup and maintenance, CDPs tend to be more streamlined and easier to install than other data warehouse projects.
  • Persistent, Unified Database: CDP databases provide a 360 degree view of customers by compiling data from multiple sources, linking information under a unique identifier, and tracking changes over time.
  • System Accessibility: CDP profiles can be accessed by other systems on the same network, usually when managing customer interactions or conducting analysis.

CDPs bear some similarities to generalized marketing automation solutions — such as CRMs or DMPs — but there are a few key distinctions to consider. Most notably, CDPs are designed to be far more compatible with a range of business systems to ensure profiles are transmitted and updated effectively. They also retain more comprehensive volumes of data compared to most automated platforms, enabling them to unify fractured data points in a holistic way.

How does a customer data platform work?

Each CDP has its own unique features, but all have the ability to store, clean, and enrich user data while creating an insightful customer profile. They achieve this by drawing on records from multiple internal or external sources. Each new data element is linked under a profile’s unique identifier for later retrieval. These sources might include:

  • Purchase history
  • Existing customer relationship management platforms
  • Marketing automation data
  • Social media profiles
  • Website trackers
  • Emails

While a CDP can be accessed by multiple systems, its primary function is to assist marketing teams. To that end, CDPs often provide additional features that can deterministically model customer behavior. These might include performance measurement tools that monitor customer interactions, or predictive analytics that recommend optimal paths for the buyer’s journey. Combined, these features make CDPs immensely useful business intelligence and campaign management tools.

Why use a CDP?

For years, digital enterprises have experimented with various methods of unifying customer information. The first data warehouses were a promising approach, but lacked the marketing and profile creation features that allowed teams to leverage collected data. Meanwhile, data lakes offered the ability to store records and scale insights, but often failed to organize the data in meaningful ways — creating “data swamps” in many cases.

CDPs are the next evolution in marketing data platforms, and they have done much to fully realize the potential of past models. By placing an effort on marketing initiatives, they offer a grounded experience that is more efficient than general purpose data tools. And thanks to CDP accessibility functions, it’s relatively easy to integrate solutions with any existing data resources you control.

By capitalizing on these needs, CDPs have gone a long way towards meeting marketer needs. The current market valuation of the CDP industry is approximately $1 billion.

Some other benefits of CDPs include:

  • They prevent data silos from forming by unifying customer data sources across the organization.
  • They streamline collection of first-party data from customers using tracking tools.
  • They help unite cross-channel marketing efforts and campaigns.

What is data discovery?

Data discovery is the process that allows a CDP to translate individual data points into a usable format. The phrase is a business intelligence term, referring to the methods companies use to locate patterns and generate actionable insights. In a manual system, this might be done by creating pivot tables, heat maps, and charts that visualize data. In 2019, these tasks are increasingly managed by algorithms and machine learning systems that visualize data and measure trends with a high degree of accuracy.

Within a context of CDPs, data discovery algorithms can highlight key interactions from customer communications, extract them from the broader dataset, and update profiles with relevant information. Once this is complete, the data can be subjected to behavioral analysis to measure the customer’s engagement and predict future steps in the buyer’s journey.

Some marketers confuse data discovery with data mining. While the two practices share some features, data discovery combines extraction with additional analysis to find the most valuable insights.

What are the regulatory constraints on linking PII to behavioral and demographic data in a CDP? US versus EU (GDPR)

The technological capability of linking personally-identifying information to behavioral and demographic data is relatively new. As such, few regulations exist that compel companies to restrict the use of personal information — including CDPs. Until recently, the onus fell on individual companies to preserve user privacy as a customer service priority. Google, for example, has taken some steps to anonymize behavioral data. Facebook, on the other hand, has been far more flexible with how personal, behavioral, and demographic data overlap.

Naturally, this state won’t last for much longer. Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are the first significant examples of lawmakers stepping in to formalize data practices. These impact businesses using CDPs in a few ways:


The GDPR applies to all companies within or conducting business with the European Union, especially those maintaining large consumer databases. For marketers using CDPs, this generally means that customers must grant explicit and informed consent before data is collected and used. What’s more, companies must request that consent again if they change how data is used.

Companies must also be able to procure all information they manage related to European individuals upon request. They must also correct inaccurate information, and delete any and all data at the customer’s discretion. The European Union takes these regulations quite seriously, even fining Google for €50 million when the tech giant cut corners.


The recently passed CCPA is actually a lenient alternative to a much stricter bill, since it focuses on commercial trade instead of generalized data collection. It allows customers to know what kinds and categories of data are being collected, grants the ability to opt out of data selling, and provides “the right to be forgotten” – deleting information on request. Consumers can still request information related to themselves, but businesses only have to provide activity up to twelve months prior to the request.

In short, these regulations do not prevent businesses from collecting and managing user data. Instead, they make marketers more accountable to users regarding the ways information is collected and used. Interestingly, CDPs actually make these processes more effective — it’s incredibly easy to obtain customer profiles and data sources upon request when compared to manual techniques.

For marketers, CDPs are here to stay. They provide an effective, reliable method of collecting, storing, and managing large volumes of user data, and help marketers leverage data at scale. As industries continue to embrace digital technologies, the importance of CDPs is only going to increase in 2019 and beyond.

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Learning Best Practices for Requirements Gathering and Management from the Legal Field


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11 Holiday Shopping Trends and Statistics You Need to Know for 2019


Everyone knows the holiday season from November to the end of December is the most popular time for shopping and gifting.

As a matter of fact, Adobe Digital Insights predicted that online holiday shopping revenue in the U.S.would reach $124 billion in 2018. This is a 14.8% increase compared to 2017. 

This can be linked to high consumer confidence and growing trend for retail online purchases. 

Additionally, 76% of consumers preferred purchasing gifts online last year. Which, by the way, is the most popular way to shop for gifts now during the holiday season. 

I mean, who doesn’t buy Christmas gifts online?

If you prefer shopping at the store, that’s GREAT, but let me tell you which are the top 5 online buying activities for female US internet users nowadays:

  • 54.4% purchased a product on Amazon.
  • 46.1% researched a product online before purchasing it in-store.
  • 44.0% purchased a product via an online marketplace.
  • 35.5% purchased a product via a smartphone.
  • 31.3% purchased a product through a retailer’s rewards program.

It’s easy to understand why online shopping is becoming even more profitable year after year. 

The statistics above speak for themselves.

Businesses have to recognize the importance of online shopping and adjust their sales and marketing strategies to it. 

To this end, I’ve compiled 11 online holiday shopping trends and statistics you need to know for 2019. This will show you how important it is to focus on digital shoppers and to listen to their needs.

1. The “Cyber 5” Takes the Lead for Online Shopping Growth

The highest indicators of year-over-year gains are between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. This 5 day-period is what we know as the Cyber 5. 

Take a look at the percentage growth below to see how big this growth is:

2. China Is Leading Online Marketplaces Worldwide

China has three of the five leading marketplaces ranked by gross merchandise values. 

During 2018, Taobao, Tmall and sold a total of $1.206 trillion in gross merchandise value (GMV):

    • Taobao: $515 billion
    • Tmall: $432 billion
    • $259 billion

3. Email Marketing Is Still Strong

A lot of people underestimate email marketing because a fair amount of users are more likely to delete an email rather than click on it. But the thing is, it’s actually a great tool for segmentation and customization. 

Email marketing can increase your conversion rate and make it more attractive for consumers to buy from you. 

In fact, retailers sent over 7.6 billion emails during Cyber 5 in 2018. 

What was the result of that? 24% of the email subscribers turned into sales. 

4. Garments Are The Top Selling Product Category

If you want to attract more customers, listen to what they want. 

And that’s exactly what the most successful online stores do and keeps them in constant growth.

For instance, Shopify’s top-selling products during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period in 2018 were shirts, tops, pants, coats, and jackets. 

Here’s the full list of Shopify’s top-selling product categories you can use for your strategies: 

  1. Shirts and tops
  2. Pants
  3. Coats and jackets
  4. Shoes
  5. Dresses
  6. Bracelets 
  7. Socks
  8. Hats
  9. Necklaces
  10. Rings

5. Top Sales Categories Also Include Accessories and Housewares

Apparel, accessories and housewares were the top three sales categories bought in 2017. This trend continued well into 2018, and will most likely make an appearance again this year. 

6. Promotional Offers Are HIGHLY Appealing During the Holiday Season

In a recent survey by Deloitte Insights, 95% of people think price discounts are the most appealing promotional offers. This is followed by free shipping (75%) and free gifts (52%). 

7. Mobile Shopping Is Still On The Rise

Desktops and laptops remain the most utilized holiday shopping devices. Despite this, mobiles are gradually catching up. 

About half of holiday shoppers indicated they plan to use their smartphones to shop. One-fourth also used tablets for the same purpose. 

This is a 10% increase from the previous year. 

Many people have already made the switch to a responsive or mobile site, but those who haven’t will have to do it soon. Otherwise, they’ll have to face the repercussions of ignoring consumer preferences.

8. Global eCommerce Performance Is Improving

Global retail eCommerce businesses generated $2.3 trillion in sales in 2017. Revenues are projected to reach $4.88 trillion by 2021.

However, China occupies three of the five leading marketplaces ranked by gross merchandise values. This places them at the top of the list of the ten largest eCommerce markets

Here are some online shopping statistics by country so you can get a well-rounded picture: 

  • China: $672 billion
  • USA: $340 billion
  • UK: $99 billion
  • Japan: $79 billion
  • Germany: $73 billion
  • France: $43 billion
  • South Korea: $37 billion
  • Canada: $30 billion
  • Russia: $20 billion
  • Brazil: $19 billion

9. Early Shoppers Outspend Late Shoppers

There is a correlation between when shopping begins and how much it’s spent. 

Specifically, early shoppers outspend late shoppers. Using the Cyber 5 as a guide—60% of people plan to begin shopping for Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving.

Here’s a breakdown of average spending:

  • Those who begin shopping before November spend an average of $1,769.
  • Those who begin shopping on or after Thanksgiving spend an average of $1,309.
  • Those who begin shopping in the days leading up to Christmas spend an average of $1,284.
  • Those who begin shopping after the holidays spend an average of $1,620.

10. Artificial Intelligence as an Effective Tool for Online Shopping

In a recent survey by Brightedge Research, 25.69% of marketers envisioned AI as the next marketing trend. 


They also found that 77% of consumers already use an AI-powered service or device regularly. 

Artificial Intelligence is driving productivity by capturing relevant actionable data. For you, this means learning how to use AI to improve the customer experience.

11. There Are a Couple of Important Factors That Spur Online Shopping

A Salesforce Research Harris Poll revealed the most important factors for online shopping: 

  • Price: 80%
  • Easy product search capabilities: 78%
  • Site performance: 76%
  • Intuitive site navigation: 75%
  • Speed of checkout: 75%
  • Customer product reviews: 72%
  • Website’s visuals: 69%
  • Relevant product recommendations: 60%

As you can see, most of these factors revolve around how pleasant a shopping experience should be for the customers.

Final Thoughts

Online holiday shopping is reaching its peak and will keep growing year after year. 

Businesses must recognize the importance of seasonal online shopping and adapt to customers needs. 

They need to pay close attention to the trends we studied today and the statistics that come with them’

For example, they need to acknowledge that the Cyber 5 is a key period to focus on when it comes to the digital shopper. Likewise, if they expect to make sales, they need to ensure they’re providing their users with the products they want.

They also need to make use of what they can to promote their strategies. 

For instance, the power of email marketing coupled with AI-backed personalization that leads to promotional offers that are so appealing they can’t be turned down.

Only in doing so can they ensure that the next time the holidays come around, they’ll have what they need to make sale after sale.

About the author: Zhanar is a content writer for Aumcore, a digital marketing agency based in NYC that offers eCommerce development solutions. She writes on a variety of subjects, but specializes in consumer behavior and its implications on marketing strategies.

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