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Ex-Apple, Razorfish and Lithium Execs Unite to Take On Big Data Deluge for Marketers

Written on
Feb 20, 2014 
Author
Richard L. Tso  |

ADOTAS – Data is everywhere. But for marketers, the challenge comes in unifying campaign data across various platforms, reporting standards and automation software suites to distill valuable insights. In much the same way as the travel management company Tripit automates the consolidation of airline travel and hotel details, a new company Beckon aims to do the same for marketers who want to better understand and utilize the data at their fingertips.

Marketing today is extremely convoluted with so many different ways to connect with consumers. Having a plethora of tools may seem great for marketers, but each specialized application and agency is spitting out different ways to track progress and bridging them is a difficult task. According to a recent survey done by the AMA, CMOs say they are using data less and less to make decisions. That number has been dropping steadily over the last 2 years – the same time period that that the availability of “big data” has been on the rise.

Marketers today are data-rich but insight-poor.

“Beckon is a marketing analytics company that helps the world’s best brands understand and clearly communicate the business impact of everything marketing does,” said Jennifer Zeszut, CEO of Beckon. “An easy-to-implement SaaS application built by marketers, for marketers, Beckon is the first company to unite all the marketing data that matters into one platform for true cross-channel visibility and insight into what’s working best across it all. Here’s part of the secret sauce: when an unstructured document comes our way, Beckon knows what we are looking for, because we have mapped the marketing genome. In other words, we have identified the spend, performance metrics and KPIs that matter for every marketing channel that exists (email, PR, social, print, TV, radio, mobile).”


The genesis of Beckon is quite unique:

  • The company was co-founded by Zeszut and Jochen Frey.
  • Zeszut founded Scout Labs and led that company as CEO from its inception to May 2010, when Lithium Technologies acquired the company. Prior to founding Scout Labs, she was acting Director of Marketing for Stores at eBay, and Director of Marketing Strategy and Analytics at Razorfish.
  • Frey was the CTO for Scout Labs when it was acquired by Lithium. Prior to that, he was Director of Technology for the Eastern Region at Razorfish.
  • Amanda Roberts, Beckon’s Marketing Manager, was also previously the Marketing Manager at Apple.

These industry veterans joined forces to tackle the biggest problem in marketing today – too much data and no easy way to understand what it all means. The company has been stealth for two years but is working with several of the world’s largest brands including Converse, Union Bank, StubHub, BSkyB and Nokia.

Beckon aims to help marketers make sense of all it. Now data will automatically be collected, organized and analyzed by simply forwarding any reports via email to the platform.

Here’s how it works:

  • Beckon sets the client up with exactly how a brand wants to track and tag all its data
  • The marketing team and/or agencies simply cc: Beckon on the reports and documents they are already getting from all their various agencies and execution tools. In many cases, we can just set up an auto-forward in Outlook. We can also work with IT to pull data in from a data warehouse, but unlike other solutions, Beckon requires no IT integration.
  • As the reports and documents come in, Beckon extracts marketing spend and performance data from any document format, both structured data files (Excel, .csv) and unstructured data files (PowerPoint, .PDF, etc.). So Beckon works with whatever tools you’re already using.
  • Beckon organizes, normalizes and categorizes (tags) that data on the way in and stores it in a normalized data repository.
  • When the marketer logs in, they have integrated cross-channel performance visibility and rich cross-channel insights. They will see rich dashboards showing what is and isn’t working so they can better optimize marketing spend.
  • And because it’s built by and for marketers, it is simple, beautiful and easy to use (For instance, you can just cc: Beckon and data flows right in. Also, there is an Export to Powerpoint button that just flows all the dashboards into a .PPT report)

“Beckon has made our marketing data more actionable and timely, said Ray Elias, CMO of StubHub. “Live entertainment is a fast moving environment. If we take too long to analyze and react, we miss meaningful opportunities.”

StubHub solicited Beckon’s help to deliver integrated reporting across all marketing functions, aggregating data from the data warehouse and all the various marketing teams across the company to give them insight into what’s working best so that they can act on the data and make better decisions. As Zeszut added, “When the data is clear, the decisions are clear.”

“Marketers have data in abundance,” said Zeszut. ”The future of marketing is about what we do with that data to discover and communicate business insights across all channels. Advertising and marketing are headed for a new landscape of increased visibility, accountability, and credibility. To be a sought-after marketing leader in the next few years, marketers need to become the master integrator of the marketing function in all its modern complexity. Beckon is software to help you do that. Experiment AND be accountable. Execute in channel AND manage and measure in an integrated way across it all.”





Richard L. Tso is a reporter for Adotas and an avid writer covering the intersection of technology and advertising, fashion and music. With over 12 years of experience in the Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations industries, Richard has held executive positions at global agencies and technology companies and is founder of the interactive communications firm Pseudosound Consulting LLC. A classical cellist and painter, he believes that sometimes sound carries more weight than words. He is a graduate of Stanford University.

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