The State of Signal 2015

It’s a new year, and the challenges facing brand and agency marketers in 2015 will be complex to tackle and rewarding to resolve. Here’s some insight into where Signal and our clients were at the end of 2014, and where we are all going in 2015.

What happened in 2014 for Signal?

In 2014, our clients embraced the new mission of “omnichannel”, to connect with their customers across channels, devices, and time. Signal’s central role in helping our clients in this mission drove our success. We had our third year in a row of triple-digit growth. Our client base exploded into the thousands. Our global footprint increased. We started the year with offices in Chicago, London, and Tokyo. We ended the year with new offices in Singapore, Sydney, and Sao Paulo.

We’ve signed deals with some of the largest advertisers on earth. And the fact that they’re trusting us to build their cross-channel data foundation, and to help give them a path forward in this complex world of data-driven marketing is quite an honor, and we’re very humbled by it.

It’s 2015. What are marketers going to be focused on this year?

We believe that 2015 will be the year that brands take a step forward and decide to make some fundamental changes in order to make true omnichannel happen. They’re asking questions like: How do I shape my organization to meet the demands of my always-on, hyperconnected customer? How do I organize my teams, as well as figure out the technology piece?

Signal’s resolution for 2015 is to help our customers chart a course for their cross-channel journey. We want our clients to have a consistent, clear view of their customers across channels, and do so in a way that fundamentally protects their data—one of their most precious assets. We want to help companies understand, first, where is your data? How do customers interact with your brand? What do you need to do to take meaningful steps to reach your consumer? I think that 2015 will be the year that brands start to truly tackle these problems.

The old methods of Internet 1.0 required brands to give up control of their data to accomplish these tasks. Cookies, tags, and batch processing required brands to give up control of their audience, data, and customers to third parties to accomplish a lot of these tasks. One of the most important things we’ll do in 2015 is help our clients not only master the cross-channel imperative, but do it in a way that fundamentally protects data as their core asset.

Signal’s approach is device-agnostic and real-time, and provides a durable data foundation that protects clients’ data while it increases their awareness of their customer behavior. That’s really at the core of what we do, and what we think will be incredibly valuable to our clients.

Signal’s Fuse is an open data platform because we think that brands should have access to a data foundation that gives the them the awareness, connectivity, and resilience that they need, and that does it in a very protected, controlled fashion.

So what’s the next big challenge for marketers after cross-channel?

The one area the industry—whether it’s vendors, publishers, brands—has a little bit of a blind spot is the speed at which they need to respond to consumers. While nobody in the industry argues the importance of cross-channel, there are very few companies that understand the importance of mastering the speed of response.

Search companies like Google understand the value that’s created by being fast in responding to intent signals. Imagine not getting a result from Google for three weeks or three months. How valuable would that company be? And yet a lot of marketing is done on very old data in the form of cookies that were set in the past and data trapped in warehouses batched from one source to another. The insight that Google had, and that I believe the industry will eventually wake up to, is that it’s not just about being hyperconnected, it’s being present, being fast in the response to a customer signal whenever and wherever is received.

That’s the other unique thing that we at Signal have done: we’re delivering both cross-channel and real-time capabilities, where signals flow freely at the speed of intent. Google figured this out years ago, but how we “searchify” other channels and connect intent signals with marketing actions as they happen is something Signal wants to help the rest of the industry achieve.

Over the next 24 to 36 months, the brands that grasp the power of real-time beyond their search campaigns and ad buys, and start to connect with their hyperconnected customer and be present with that customer at the point of intention, will unlock an unbelievable amount of value. And that value is not only in their customer relationship, but in their competitive advantage with brands that aren’t real-time.

Where will Signal be a year from now?

Our revenue will double this year. Our client base will continue to grow by thousands. A global outlook will remain a core value of the company, in terms of adding more countries, more clients, and more revenue value across the globe. I think we’ll also end the year with a vast majority of our clients being cross-channel in terms of how we help them.

That’s pretty exciting to me. It means that we’ll have taken our clients on the right journey and we’ll continue to be the trusted hub for their data. We continue to have amazing loyalty among our client base, and I think that’s also recognition that the investments we’re making and the solutions that we’re bringing to them are extremely important. All of our clients are not only growing with us over time, but their use of our platform is also growing, and that’s the best compliment.

Originally published January 21, 2015

Mike Sands

Mike Sands is a co-founder of Signal. Prior to joining Signal, Mike was part of the original Orbitz management team and held the positions of CMO and COO. Mike also has held management roles at General Motors Corporation and Leo Burnett. His work at General Motors led him to be named a “Marketer of the Next Generation” by Brandweek magazine. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Northwestern University and a Masters in Management degree from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management.

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