Looking to the Future: A Message From Chris Harrison
Today, I’m pleased to publicly accept the role of CEO of FullContact. I greatly appreciate the opportunity given to me by Co-Founder Bart Lorang and the Board of Directors to lead this fine company. Bart made tremendous sacrifices to get this company to where it is today, and I’m lucky not just to have worked with him, but to also have made a friend in him.
To the entire organization at FullContact, I appreciate their acceptance and I’m lucky to be part of their team.
It’s a privilege to lead a fine group of senior leaders, that live up to our corporate value of being “awesome with people.” As we build the future, we’ll do so together. I’ve been given the honor of leading, but also to exemplify who and what they are.
I think fixing identity in MarTech and AdTech is important. I’ve written about this before, but I think it’s worth repeating, we all want to be treated as individuals. Marketers refer to people as “targets” or “segments” (I’m as guilty as anyone), but I think that this has reduced humanity in marketing. As a brand, people don’t buy from you out of altruism, but out of expected value exchange. We are real people with desires, some big and some small. We want control of our lives. We want to work with businesses that we trust and add value to our lives. We want rewarding experiences.
Successful brands engage with their customers as real people, not as statistics, and not as clicks. FullContact, along with an affiliation of other like-minded companies, is defining new and modern ways to identify and connect to your customers. This is required to gain an understanding of what your customers’ desires may be.
Companies need to be in control of their brand ethos and their brand’s real-time experience with their customers. You cannot cede that responsibility to other entities or platforms. The experience with your brand is your product.
But the foundations of using data that we collect to understand customers are changing. You have to ensure you’re balancing your commercial interests with the best interests of the real people you are engaging with. Privacy, security, and real control by brands and consumers are necessary pillars of the new foundations of MarTech and AdTech.
I think it will take a company like FullContact to address identity challenges. There are financial incentives for incumbent MarTech and AdTech providers to maintain the status quo. It’s Shirky’s principle: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” Sell more data. Sell more media. Accuracy in recognizing real people and giving control back to brands and consumers diminishes the incumbents’ returns.
There are forces of change that demand adaptation, though. Changes in regulations, changes in consumer sentiment, economic changes, and MarTech & AdTech innovations force people and companies to question the status quo. In upcoming blog posts, I’m going to address these 4 Forces of Change further.
Again, I want to reiterate how excited I am to lead the FullContact team and establish it as the premier Identity Resolution provider. I’m honored to be part of something bigger in the marketing space that institutes more transparency and balances brand and consumer interests.
Let’s change the foundations together.
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