Unfiied_Profile_Growth_Strategy.pngDerric Haynie is a startup and growth marketer and founder of SplashOPM, a San Diego-based marketing agency.

UnboundID: What’s the role of customer identity management in marketing today?

Haynie: I am betting that new technologies over the next few years will allow better ways for marketers to manage and use customer data. I’m also envisioning a world where customers manage their own data and what they share with companies.For now, it’s mostly a jumbled mess, with either too little or too much data, not enough analysis and insights, and not enough structured learning. Being a “data-driven” marketer is not an option; it should be implied.

UnboundID: What are your thoughts on achieving a single customer profile?

Haynie: Everyone wants their data to be as clean as possible. In practice, it’s impossible to ever get there. I used to think that a business operates on levels of perfection, and once you perfect one area then you start making money. It’s actually the opposite. You solve one problem and as soon as you do, more pop up, and you are struggling to stay above water.

Similarly, we can try to unify data but when a company is at an early stage of its evolution, it’s not totally necessary. For young companies, when we optimize, we want to go big. That means looking at the entire website or all of the campaigns, and analyze whether a major change is needed. Later as the business is growing, we can fine tune through some of these data integration techniques for deeper optimization.

I think it’s important to wait for the right time to address the issue of integration, and that’s when it becomes a problem. At 100 customers, it’s not going to make enough difference to be worthwhile. Once you get to thousands or millions of customers, then you can really see a difference by unifying data sets.

UnboundID: Tell me about Splash and what lessons larger companies can learn from startup digital marketing tactics?

Haynie: Our company makes sure that entrepreneurs don’t make mistakes that interfere with customer acquisition. Many young companies will put product development before customers. For many startups, a typical problem is that they don’t get enough customers early enough to build momentum. We help clients find the traction channels to get in closer touch with their users, so they can grow from a startup into an actual company.

What large companies can learn from these lessons is the ability to branch out new initiatives into internal startups. Apple, Quicken and Salesforce are a few big companies that do this very well. When you are planning to build out a new product or service, pull together a small cross-functional team, maybe five people, and create a true startup with a minimum viable product. Lean is structured learning. You talk to your customers at every step of the way, get early user feedback, iterate for what customers want and measure over time. The idea is to turn an idea into a fast-performing scalable business in as efficient a way as possible.

UnboundID: Internal startups have been around for a number of years in different iterations. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. How do you ensure success?

Haynie: The structure is important so that the team running the new product or project is as far removed from the company as possible. That minimizes internal politics which get in the way of innovation. The internal startup can pull on the resources of the larger company, and have a set timeframe and budget, but not rely on the company for reporting and processes that can be hindrances.

UnboundID: How can marketers today determine the optimal tactics for their audience, given the number of options available?

Haynie: Traction is a great book for this discussion. It offers a framework that identifies 19 traction channels such as email marketing, SEO, unconventional PR, viral marketing and direct sales. Next, you look at those channels and assign a score based upon three variables: how well do we know the platform, are my customers on the platform and is this a platform where I want my brand? Choose no more than three channels to start, but honestly all you have to do is find one channel that works and you can scale it out till it pops.

AirBnB originally found customers on Craigslist. Then they added other channels once that ran its course. Find the channels that are your lowest hanging fruit and start running tests. You can spend as little as $1500 to do testing. You might run an ad on Google or Facebook or Twitter. See if anyone will click on it and send users to a simple landing page that you can build in five minutes. If you get enough emails, that will tell you the level of interest in your solution. Then you can ask for feedback as to the most important feature to build first. That is much different than the Waterfall approach where you build out the whole product and then test and get feedback. It’s too expensive to have a project fail at that point.