Navigating Personalization in a Privacy-Driven Marketing Landscape

In the newest installment of the Data Unlocked Podcast, Jason Davis, Simon Data’s co-founder, and CEO, links up with Steven Aldrich, CEO and Co-Founder at Ragnarok. Ragnarok is a full-service digital agency that integrates best-in-breed solutions to craft and distribute data-driven content. In Aldrich’s words, Ragnarok has a goal of “Help[ing] to bridge these [product and marketing] teams together. As a result, we can create products that help get people connected to the tools and the types of processes that enable them to actually succeed in what they want to do.”

Aldrich and Davis expand on the overall theme of personalization and dive into how marketing is becoming a technical function. Further, they discuss how teams should adjust to ongoing changes in data, and why effective email strategy is still valuable.

Marketing Teams as a Technical Entity

This title may be misleading – we’re not suggesting giving your engineering team the ax. Instead, it’s about recognizing that a partnership between marketing, engineering and product teams is more important than ever before. Ragnarok came to life in an era where marketing and product teams had no overlap. They came to notice a white space in the marketing scene, and the missing piece is technical support for marketers. 

Marketing teams should play a large role in driving conversations about what the needs of an organization are data-wise. Engineering and Marketing teams can onboard together to promote cohesiveness within product development. It may take longer with more voices involved, but as Aldrich mentions, “…it’s better to have a foundation than nothing at all.” It’s up to both of these teams to create effective campaigns, products, and navigate data collection.

I think the future of marketing from our perspective is really turning every marketer into a data scientist.

-Jason Davis

Owning Your Data

Data is a hot topic for marketers. What is usable, what is phased out, what data brings value? A common theme is that more is better, but then you’re stuck with organizing all of this data which is overwhelming. Consumers also need to physically accept or deny data tracking on websites. Depending on what’s chosen from that pop-up, two separate funnels emerge. Marketers are often building out these pathways, again emphasizing the need for them to evolve into more technical, data-empowered roles. 

Essentially, in one case, you want to build something that’s much more personalized and hyper-relevant to the user. On the other hand, you have to think about the lowest common denominator: what you actually have available.

-Steven Aldrich

As Davis mentions, there has to be a balance between creating a personalized experience for consumers and evaluating if that drives results, revenue, or engagement. 

Remembering the Value of Email Marketing

In Aldrich’s opinion, email has proven to be the most effective marketing tool to do just that. From an effort perspective, it’s standard for companies to collect email addresses as a part of a transaction, so the lift is minimal. Getting a consumer’s phone number requires extra outreach to get people to opt-in, and an experience must be flexible across multiple devices to do so. 

Ragnarok still believes in multichannel marketing. However, the investment it takes often does not result in as immediate value as a standalone personalized email campaign might. When introducing new channels, Aldrich encourages teams to move slowly and tackle bit by bit.

You have to help your team orient their thinking to be multichannel on the channel experts. You can’t siphon your team away or silo your team. The more that you do that, you’re going to end up with the same problem that you’ve had all along, which is ‘now I have no cohesiveness between my entire program.’

– Steven Aldrich

Personalization of content (regardless of how it is sent), is crucial. As Davis mentions, a segmentation funnel can be created and personalized using both data and intuition. With Simon Mail, non-technical marketers are able to work faster and more independently to build campaigns.


The common theme here is that prioritizing personalization and data-enabling marketers is crucial. Marketers who become more technical are able to further segment and personalize their outreach using all data. Expertly crafted email strategies fall into this category, and, when prioritized, can drive powerful results. 

Using this approach, Tripadvisor used Simon Data’s smart hub to prioritize cross-team collaboration and easily deliver integrated multichannel campaigns. To learn how Tripadvisor experienced an 80% time savings for campaign creation, read the case study

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