AI, startup hacks, and engineering miracles from your friends at Faraday

Iterable and Faraday partner up to power predictive growth marketing

Alexis Hughes on

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Faraday is pleased to announce a new partnership with Iterable, a growth marketing platform that makes it easy for companies to effectively engage their customers with relevant messaging.

The Faraday AI Platform helps consumer marketers optimize growth initiatives at every stage of the customer lifecycle by delivering predictive insights to a wide range of martech and adtech systems. The new integration enables mutual customers to leverage Faraday's AI-generated predictions — such as likelihood to buy or churn, lifetime value, and persona — in their Iterable workflows.

These predictive insights help enhance the user's ability to segment leads and customers based on their predicted likelihood to purchase specific products, projected lifetime value, and/or their persona cohort.

Armed with these segments, users can easily activate and automate cross-channel campaigns with optimized discounting strategies, informed product recommendations, and personalized ad creative and content. The integration supports the delivery of this information in real time via API, or on a scheduled basis (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly).

Interested in operationalizing predictive marketing workflows? Get started today.

Faraday showcases AI platform at Solar Power International 2019

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SPI 2019 and Faraday image

We're excited to announce that we'll be attending Solar Power International this September. Having gotten our start in solar, our end-to-end machine learning platform has been helping innovative residential solar companies grow and market their services more effectively since 2012.

This year we'll be offering one-on-one demos of the Faraday AI Platform. Stop by to see how enriched consumer data and predictive machine learning can help you identify the best new leads and better engage your current customer base.

Our platform supports your omnichannel strategy — from digital marketing to canvassing initiatives to direct mail campaigns — by leveraging enriched consumer data on the household level that lets you target customers who live in homes most suitable for solar. This data, used with AI-driven geospatial intelligence and real-time lead scoring, puts the best-fit leads in front of your team.

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If you plan to be at SPI this year, make sure to stop by booth 5632 for a one-on-one look at the platform. You can learn more about Faraday and book an appointment with us in advance here.

Live demo at FinovateFall 2019

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finovatefall and faraday

Faraday is excited to present a live demo on the main stage at FinovateFall 2019. With over 75 live demos, upwards of 120 speakers, and an impressive AI Summit, how you're leveraging data and machine learning to grow and market your financial solutions is a hot topic this year.

As the fintech space continues to evolve, delivering relevant, personalized experiences at scale is crucial to winning and retaining valuable customers. We're excited to showcase how Faraday can help you reach lookalike audiences across your online and offline channels, prioritize and personalize nurture campaigns in real time, deliver relevant product recommendations at every touchpoint, and proactively re-engage churn-prone customers.

If you're heading to FinovateFall this year, make sure to catch our live demo and stop by our booth for a deeper dive into the platform.

Interesting sessions on data and AI

With so many innovative minds presenting this year at FinovateFall, there are a few sessions we have our eyes on.

Faraday helps companies optimize consumer outreach and engagement across the customer lifecycle with AI-driven insights and predictions. Our end-to-end machine learning platform integrates with your customer data sources, learns from past successes and failures, and delivers powerful predictive insights to all your marketing and sales systems.

Finovate is a global conference series focused on financial services technology. Held in six locations — London, San Francisco, New York, Singapore, Dubai, and Cape Town — it offers live product demos, fast-paced content, and high-impact networking. The event is organized by KNECT365. For more information about the events or to view videos of previous demos and presentations, please visit finovate.com.

Building a sexual health and wellness brand for the modern consumer: an interview with Eva Goicochea, founder and CEO of maude

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Faraday Spectrum interview series with maude
We had the pleasure of speaking with Eva Goicochea, founder and CEO of maude, a Brooklyn-based sexual health and wellness startup, founded on the values of simplicity and inclusivity. Launched in April 2018, maude is redefining the conversation and culture around sexual wellness with a line of sleek and simple sex essentials and a customer-centric approach.

maude: from inception to realization

Eva Goicochea's journey from being Head of Social Media, Culture and Hiring at Everlane to founding sexual health and wellness startup, maude.

After studying marketing, I had a stint as a legislative aide in healthcare by happenstance and it became formative. Later on, I went back into marketing, eventually landing at Everlane four months after they launched. When I left in 2013, I wanted to find a startup in healthcare / wellness that I was just as excited by as I was Everlane and I couldn't find one. While working with clients building their brands, I also started a watch company, Tinker, with two other founders and my husband (great experience for building product). Randomly, we were all kicking around this idea of maude, wondering why there was no better brand in the space and if it was something we should venture out and build. The lightbulb went off — this was the idea I had been waiting for. The rest of the team wasn't actually interested in launching maude, but I was full-in.

In 2015, I started working on the idea, moved to NYC in 2016, raised money in 2017, and went to market in 2018.

Brand loyalty vs. Brand affinity

With big brands like Trojan and K-Y dominating the sexual wellness market, introducing maude required a thoughtful approach and an understanding of consumer needs — which actually helped to set the small company apart from the long-standing giants.

We launched with condoms, two lubricants, and a vibe with the idea that we could solve for the chasm that exists in the industry. Sexual wellness has always felt like it's in two corners: clinical and maybe on the aisle where Trojan dominates — they own 70% of the market and they're very condom-focused. And then you have sex toys and these dark corners of seedy shops where you buy them, even though a vibrator, for instance, is actually a really necessary tool for many, many people. Universally, I was hearing from people — no surprise — that in both places, buying these products is incredibly uncomfortable.

And so I thought, “Why is there no DTC brand for all people where you can buy all of these essentials? These products need to be together. Plus, if we launch with one over the other we're going to get pigeonholed.” And so that's what we did. The past year has proven, also, that people were ready for a new condom brand in an industry with giants.

The thesis here was that because there's a monopolization, there's brand loyalty — people buy Trojan — but there's no brand affinity. And it made no sense to me, or when I spoke to other people, that the sexual wellness industry is so far from what a consumer wants.

Since starting the company, I've done so much more research about the history of this space, specifically condoms, and these companies that have dominated for over a hundred years. Moreover, the industry has been so tied to socio-political movements that somewhere the basics — the human side of sex — has been lost. For too long, it's been something tied to shame or family planning rather than “Sex is human, and all people need condoms for protection. They're the only form of protection against STIs and pregnancy, period.” It's super simple.
maude Staycation retail popup shelf
Photo: Nicole Franzen for maude

Building a human-forward company

Goicochea founded maude on a mission that deeply values their customers, giving them more reasons to invest in the brand and products.

There are two ways companies are led: one is by product, and one is by mission. And a lot of [direct-to-consumer] companies lead by product, essentially saying that their product will change your life. Sometimes that's true; sometimes they are great and innovative. But I think the reality is that the longevity of brands lies in its values and in its true mission.

We want you to understand maude, not because you know every product, but because you align with the brand for its values. The opportunity for any company, I believe, is in creating a community that cares about the mission. For us, it's being a human-forward company and changing the conversation and understanding around the idea of sex.

I used this as an example the other day, whether we love it or hate it: Starbucks created a new language for coffee. Pretty much in every corner of the world, you can find a Starbucks and people know what a latte is. That changed the language of coffee for most people. And that's what we want to do. (Which is going to take a long time.) So given that mission, let's look at the long view.

A strategy of subtlety: Making sexual health and wellness approachable and accessible

Many emerging sexual health & wellness and sextech brands make pleasure a centerpiece of their marketing strategies, which can be exciting for more progressive consumer demographics, but alienates others. In light of this, maude has taken a gentle approach to addressing sex and pleasure in its marketing campaigns and in the conversations it facilitates at events.

I often compare what we're doing to food. For instance, say you're sitting at the table with someone who drinks Folgers (no dig on Folgers) and you're trying to talk to them about third wave coffee. Talking about coffee from the angle of what you should do, or “This is better” or “We know best,” is not going to disarm them. What's going to disarm them is giving them a cup of coffee that's better and then creating common ground (no pun) from which you can then talk coffee. In short, shoveling ideas in someone's face is not going to make them more open.

That's why we don't take an aggressive approach. We want people to learn about maude, try the product, and make the decision for themselves. To date, we have a strong word of mouth and that organic change can't be forced.

Speaking of talking at people, I typically don't even use the word “pleasure” because I think the idea of pleasure is subjective. We create well-made products for your intimate life, and how and with whom you use them is up to you — we can't tell you what your pleasure is. I think there's a lot of appropriation of this idea of pleasure happening right now, and that in and of itself is actually quite exclusive, as is making the idea of sex political.

I'll say it a million times: Sex is human. One of the words I do love actually, is “leisure.” Leisure — or in this case helping you make time for intimacy — is what maude is here to do.
maude Staycation retail popup bed
Photo: Nicole Franzen for maude

Carving out space for sexual wellness in advertising

Categorized as “Adult Products and Services” on Facebook, what's deemed as appropriate for sexual wellness brands' ad creative is limited. While some brands have aggressively pushed back against Facebook's restrictions for this product category, maude believes in creating a new vision for advertising these products on Facebook altogether: one that works to celebrate and share the inclusive values the brand is built on.

We're not actively antagonistic against Facebook — of course we get shut down, and it's really frustrating that it's a blanket rule for “Adult Products and Services.” But we're not angry about it. The reality is that it sex is still taboo and it is still clinical, and it is up to us as a company to carve out a new third lane that creates the societal acceptance needed to eventually change policy. So, while there are other approaches, we're going focused and continuing to come at this from a common sense, matter-of-fact, friendly, happy way, with a long view. It's going to take time.

Staycation: an exploration of temporary retail

Staycation is maude's Summer 2019 pop-up shop in Brooklyn. A collaboration with a multitude of DTC brands, the space shows how the brands' products live well together and can integrate into a consumer's life.
maude Staycation retail popup sign and Floyd couch
Photo: Nicole Franzen for maude

Right now, as we're sitting in this space (our retail front across from our office), it feels more like an installation, and I think it works in that context better. You walk in and you get the idea of this “modern apartment” and where maude lives in your life. And that was actually the whole point — to give the right context. Before, when it was the winter studio and it was just our brand, people were still afraid to walk in, no matter how minimal and friendly the space was. Staycation has provided a greater vision for how we can live as a brand out in the world and allowed for us to actually pitch forward-thinking retail partners who are carving out a space for sexual wellness.

If somebody offered you $100 million for your company, would you take it?

No. The purpose and opportunity for maude is to change the language and culture of sex, and that is going to take time. If put in the wrong hands with speed, it's not going to happen and we'll never reach our real potential, which would ultimately be a disservice to our customers. In short, I'm in it to change history and I believe we will.

This interview has been edited for clarity and flow.

Spectrum is Faraday's exclusive interview series, highlighting DTC brands revolutionizing their industries with innovative products and growth marketing strategies.

Third-party data in marketing: Why it's important and how to protect consumers' privacy

Alexis Hughes on

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The use of third-party data isn't new, but it's becoming a necessity as businesses shift to a customer-centric approach. Marketers everywhere are realizing that first-party data is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding their customers.

Pitney Bowes and Forrester report that 92% of marketing and data analytics professionals agree that the rise in digital technologies and interactions has increased the need for bringing outside data into their companies. While it may be as simple as understanding your existing customers' household and financial standing, with third-party data you can also gain deep insights into your leads on a known-identity basis.

Overall, leveraging third-party and first-party data adds breadth and depth to your customer insights, informing better branding and messaging decisions, personalization efforts across channels, and taking much of the guesswork out of targeted and location-based marketing campaigns.

Customer identity resolution

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The capability to bring together first-party data from various sources and third-party data to compile a unified picture of each customer is increasingly valuable. In 2018, spending dedicated to identity data assets grew by more than 50%, to a total of $846MM.

Personally identifiable information (PII) is crucial to connecting the dots across multiple touchpoints (online and offline) to form a holistic picture of your customers and prospects so you can reach them with content that will resonate with them through the channels that matter.

Using third-party data to improve personalization

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In a time when almost all consumers prefer ads and products that are relevant to them, knowing how and when to serve your target market is crucial to effectively engaging your customers. According to Forbes, right now, 46% of marketing executives are not where they want to be in terms of delivering personalization, and 57% say that they hope to advance their personalization initiatives over the next year.

Enriching your first-party data with third-party information on your customers' financial, household, transactional, or lifestyle categories gives you a clearer idea of what your customers look like in real life.

To take it a step further, enriched customer data helps machine learning algorithms build better models. Cluster models, for example, sort individuals into distinct groups based on common attributes. These groups, or personas, can affirm your intuitions about what your customer base looks like, but may also surprise you by revealing significant groups you hadn't known about or previously considered important.

How third-party data helps optimize ad targeting and nurture campaigns

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If you're using predictive lead scoring capabilities, the accuracy and precision of those scores improve with the quality and quantity of third-party data that you introduce. This not only benefits your leads' experiences, as they'll receive content that better aligns with their interests and where they are in their customer journeys, but it will save you time and money when you're deciding how to prioritize your outreach.

A popular way of leveraging third-party data with predictive modeling for digital marketing is Facebook lookalike audiences. But since the platform shut down advertisers' access to this data in April of 2018, gaining deep insights from Facebook has been a struggle for many businesses that are trying to better understand their audiences and target the right consumers.

If you enrich your first-party data with third-party attributes, you can gain insights on a granular level that you aren't getting with Facebook and other marketing channels. You can then segment known-identity audiences based on certain attributes — or develop in-depth personas for segmentation — and push the appropriate ad creative to those individual segments with the goal of increased, personalized engagement.

This goes for not only new leads you're nurturing, but also for the customers you're actively engaging. Pitney Bowes and Forrester's survey showed that 83% of respondents realize timelier and contextually relevant customer experiences are a high priority when it comes to optimizing their marketing strategies. With nurture campaigns, timeliness and relevance are key components for success.

Another advantage of leveraging third-party data is the ability to match site's captured emails to real people. This allows you to bucket leads into certain personas for more personalized nurture campaigns that will pull them through their customer journeys with you. Your leads are more likely to receive messaging that aligns with where they are in their individual journeys, and it will save your team time and money when you decide how to prioritize your lead outreach.

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Enhancing geospatial analyses with third-party data

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Geographic data has obvious benefits, but incorporating additional third-party in geographic analyses improves the quality of the insights. Knowing where your ideal customers live is one piece of the geomarketing puzzle, but gaining an understanding of how your audiences will best interact with your ads offline is achieved by knowing more than just their geographic location.

Attributes like household information, transportation preferences, and lifestyle data helps you prioritize where you place ads, as well as where you might establish new brick-and-mortar presences. A subway ad or billboard placed in your customers' neighborhoods can be a great way to advertise your e-commerce business for those who don't live near a storefront, but for customers who are in your brick-and-mortar trade zones, perhaps a direct mailer advertising an in-store sale would better drive business.

From a creative perspective, audiences can vary widely depending on their physical locations, so the messaging and images chosen for your campaigns should be curated for specific audiences in particular geographies. Providing relevant content increases your chances of audience engagement, so capitalizing on the insights provided by third-party data is a necessity.

This is the case with SEM advertising, which segments audiences by geographic location. With the insights gained from third-party data, you can optimize your SEM spend by targeting areas where higher-value customers reside, spending less on areas that aren't as likely to bring in revenue.

Using third-party data ethically

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With the rise of regulations like GDPR, privacy and validity of data are prominent concerns when using third-party data and PII. However, there are ways to ensure that your customers' and prospects' privacy is protected. You want to be sure your data comes from a verified source, isn't dangerously invasive, and is leveraged to benefit the customers you're targeting.

Social scraping is a common tactic, and it can provide large categories of data on behavioral tendencies, consumer habits, and some personal information, though this data may not always be entirely accurate. At Faraday we avoid social scraping in favor of canonical sources of information from established third-party data vendors. Vendors like Epsilon verify the accuracy of the high-quality data we license and leverage for our partners.

Faraday's Director of Data Science, William Morris, notes that we sidestep many consumer privacy issues by dealing with datasets that categorize data, such as consumer purchases, by type of product and frequency, rather than the exact stores where those purchases are made. This leads to a significant lift in machine learning models' predictive capabilities without being invasive from a privacy standpoint. Additionally, each of our clients' customer data is siloed using industry-standard practices to protect the privacy of each clients' customers.

Faraday also actively works to build models that are agnostic to a person's membership to protected classes. We exclude potentially harmful categories like ethnicity, religion, or primary language data, as these can disenfranchise certain groups of the consumer population. As an additional security measure, we employ a suite of tools for post-model checking to ensure that attributes that could indicate a person's race or class don't make the models biased or adversely impact a population.

Taking into consideration these types of ethical practices is important when exploring your own use of third-party data.

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