Too much data in too many places has long been the Achilles’ heel of multi-channel marketing campaigns. Harnessing data from multiple sources, teams and formats is time-consuming and not always even that illustrative of what’s working and what’s not. Beckon is aiming to change that. Officially launching today, the company is coming out of a two-year stealth period after working with enterprise brands such as Nokia, StubHub and Union Bank to solve the data problem.
Beckon is a new marketing management platform that can suck in and parse data from every reporting source a brand uses. The company is headed by CEO Jennifer Zeszut, who founded social media monitoring service Scout Labs, which was acquired by Lithium Technologies in 2010.
Zeszut believed marketing data could be wrangled, and in August 2011 began working with CMOs from major brands including Pepsi, CitiBank and Levis to “help build this thing that didn’t exist.” The idea was to bring what’s already been done in the consumer realm with tools like Tripit to enterprise marketing and give these CMOs their dream platform.
Data from all the single channel reporting platforms a brand is using, as well as reporting from agency partners can now flow automatically into Beckon, regardless of the original format — that includes PowerPoint, PDF and other unstructured data — to give marketers a true picture of their cross-channel campaigns in a simple dashboard view.
“We wanted to create a clearinghouse for all performance data, so we couldn’t say we’ll only take things with great APIs,” said Zeszut by phone. “With automatic reports that get emailed weekly — a Coremetrics report, for example — you just set up a forward to Beckon and that report, even if it’s unstructured, will flow into Beckon and will be parsed. We spent a lot on R&D around translators and parsers so that even PDFs and pretty reports out of something like Sprinklr can be brought in and understood.”
Dedicated email aliases are assigned to each data source, channel or agency, which aid in the parsing. By “CC’ing Beckon” with the email alias, documents are appended and then the data is parsed, tagged, normalized and categorized on the way in. Companies can also set up a data push from their data warehouses.
More than just a set of dashboards, team members can comment and provide feedback on campaign elements and attach additional documents to Beckon. “It creates order out of chaos and becomes the home for all cross-channel campaign information,” says Zeszut. That includes campaign planning as well as analysis.
Marketers can compare channels and tactics to see what’s delivering the best ROI. The dashboards are customizable and can be shared with others or even downloaded straight into a PowerPoint.
Zeszut says their customers’ agency partners, which have included Weiden+Kennedy, MediaVest and Starcom, have also come to appreciate the Beckon platform and the big picture it provides. “It’s a platform for them to do their jobs better and they aren’t stuck in a silo anymore. Beckon makes it possible to marry TV data with store traffic or digital data to be able to see the impact of media buys that had only been visible from a GRP point-of-view. Now, they can tell a story of media’s impact on the rest of the business. This is when they get really excited.”
Beckon has 25 team members now — a mix of marketers and engineers — and plans to double by the end of the year.