Tracking First, LLC

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March 13, 2017 Issue



Web and Digital Analytics Campaign Code Validation Platform with Tracking Ready Links Assisting Marketing Teams in Creating Accurate Reporting



Craig Scribner

Founder/Chief Executive Officer


Tracking First, LLC



Joseph Riddle



Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – March 13, 2017


CEOCFO: Mr. Scribner, your site tagline is, “Restore Your Faith in the Data.” How does Tracking First help people do that?

Mr. Scribner: Companies have an ongoing challenge handing over all of the right pieces of information to their analytics system, in order for the system to tell them how their marketing campaigns are performing. It seems like it should be straightforward using Adobe Analytics, but there are often complications. Many of the big players promote as one of their cornerstone features the ability to prove ROI, which are the results of these campaigns that you are spending so much money on. What they have not considered is the challenge -- especially pronounced for marketing teams -- of understanding the nuances of passing a unique tracking code for every marketing initiative, along with all of its pertinent attributes, up to the analytics system, so that it can send back not just data about how much traffic they’ve got, but the ongoing successes and behaviors of the people that responded to those different campaigns.


CEOCFO: Have you figured that out at Tracking First?

Mr. Scribner: We have! We have finally created a system that is simple enough for marketers to use and that shields them from all of the nerdy nuances that go into the analytics portion to meet all of those requirements. To date, companies have either dragged marketers through those nuances, usually with a great deal of difficulty and with varying success; or, more typically, they have obligated the marketing team to bottleneck every campaign review, big or small, through the analytics team, who can then vet and prepare all of the analytics components.


CEOCFO: Would you explain how you are able to do this?

Mr. Scribner: What we do is what many companies try to do through Excel Documents that are really heavily configured for the marketers, using special drop downs and look up tables. We have pulled that system out of the spreadsheet and made it into a global platform that works across all of the company's marketing channels and all of the different types of initiatives. You never want to ask a marketer a question that seems relevant to some channels but not others, because then they have this question of whether they should leave a cell blank or fill it out. We allow analytics pros or the BI team to go in as administrators to set up patterns that are relevant and targeted for the different marketing teams. We provide a platform where an experience can be created for each different marketing team.


CEOCFO: Would you give us an example?

Mr. Scribner: Say you’re in a big company, and your analytics team needs to have a great deal of really deep-dive information about its different marketing initiatives. They might want to know what size of a banner ad people are most likely to respond to, or break that down by different creative tactics. For all of that different information to be uploaded into the analytics system, there is a classification report that you set up in Adobe. That report tells you when that tracking code is received, and the exact attributes that should be put into the report to describe the size of your banner ad, or the creative element for your banner ad. That is all well and good as long as you are setting up a pattern for your display ad team, but maybe that same team is doing social media, without any banner association or email tags across your email tracking code. In that case the size field is not relevant. If all the marketers are using same template, some will be asking what they should put there. Within our system we let the analytics team set up a pattern that only asks marketers the sets of values relevant to them. These are values that they will know how to answer. Even though the analytics system may have 30 attributes that it can report on, a marketer may only have four relevant attributes for their specific channel. In effect, we make sure the patterns that they follow do not offer them the possibility to color outside of the lines. They are only inputting data for questions that they need to answer. This creates codes that are consistent at the global level, without causing headaches for individual marketers.


CEOCFO: Is there such thing as too many variable for analytics, where you have 40, but should only look at 20?

Mr. Scribner: Absolutely there is! In fact, a year ago at their Customer Success Event, Adobe announced that instead of 100 elements you can now track 1000 different success events. My gut response was that this gives me 900 more cats that I have to herd through the yarn factory on a daily basis. Having so many options only creates more ways for you to run the system off the rails. It becomes another reason not to trust the analytics system.


CEOCFO: Have marketers been looking for a better way to track or are they surprised when they find you?

Mr. Scribner: The most common question that I receive after showing a prospective company our product is, “When is Adobe going to acquire you?” The current system ultimately reflects poorly on Adobe, with marketing teams getting so excited about the possibility of custom reports for their different campaigns and not realizing that it introduces a risk of error. They were once bottlenecked into templates that do not fit what they want to know about their campaigns, and they go crazy with the new customization. A client once asked me how many classifications we can create for their campaigns, to slice-and-dice their report on a campaign perspective. Even though there is an answer, which is about 30 or more, I warned the client that it is a double edged sword when you go down that road. Now you have 30 questions to answer for every marketer, be it a brand new intern or someone in an agency that is just starting to work with your company. Every single time they create a new initiative, they have all of those 30 questions answered. It is much better to have 5 questions that you answer consistently than 30 questions that you answer inconsistently. However, with our platform you can have your cake and eat it too, if you prefer those 30 questions.


CEOCFO: How are you reaching out?

Mr. Scribner: We have two primary methods of finding our audience. My background gives me insight into clients’ problems in a couple of different ways: first as an analyst, someone who has undergone this pain, and second as an agency consultant working with new clients in making sure that they had a foolproof system that marketers could use to create code. I had a lot of working opportunities. After 15 years as an Adobe consultant you end up knowing a great many people who are also out in the field doing similar work, so reaching out to those folks has been a primary way of making contacts with potential customers. In addition, we are finding that our engagement with a client is often dependent on whether the consulting agency that client is using has referred us. And so we have a really robust channel network of analytics agencies and digital marketing agencies with analytics departments. We work on a regular basis to court them, making sure they understand what we do and what new features we are adding. As opportunities pop up on their radar we are the people they are thinking of.


CEOCFO: What have you learned since your system has been in use?

Mr. Scribner: That is such a great question. On the one hand, our ability to have custom hooks into every client’s implementation is a real winner, because we are not forcing anyone into our system of preparation, but allowing them to weave their own requirements into our system. On the other hand, clients have a lot of requirements that I had not anticipated. It has been fun for us to develop our product in a way that I never could have done without client engagement. I had one client tell us in an onsite visit last year that our system was making their lives so much better for 20% of the marketing that they did, but the other 80% could not be touched by it, because that work requires integration between other vendors like DoubleClick or Salesforce. Breaking into new arenas beyond what someone could do with an amazing spreadsheet, and starting to handle all of these verifications via APIs and automation that users do not even touch, has been a wonderful extension of our product.


CEOCFO: When are you going beyond marketing?

Mr. Scribner: Another great question. We had a conversation about that this morning. Our system already has the technical ability to work with product classification and other data. As such, we are already beyond marketing in the sense of analytics work, but the real question for us is when we go beyond analytics. If you have a system that can simplify the creation of new form type values, it could potentially solve the inconsistencies that plague CRM platforms like Salesforce. Having an easy input for consistent output is something where our governance tools can be applied even outside of the web and digital analytics industry. We are starting those conversations now. I anticipate that from 2017 through the end of 2018 our efforts will be specific to campaign marketing and digital analytics as our primary system of repair.


CEOCFO: Put it together for our readers. Why pay attention to Tracking First today?

Mr. Scribner: The fact that we have signed on 12 blue chip companies in the last 12 months and have gone from two employees to 20 in that period is a real indicator that something is going on. This platform is something that both marketing agencies and consultants in the analytics space had been feeling the need for. We are a young, responsive team making sure that the solutions we are developing are scalable from one company to the next. As a result, the onboarding tends to be quick and easy. Our team and the products we have built so far give us the ability to move beyond the needs of today to the needs of tomorrow.


“Companies have an ongoing challenge handing over all of the right pieces of information to their analytics system, in order for the system to tell them how their marketing campaigns are performing… We allow analytics pros or the BI team to go in as administrators to set up patterns that are relevant and targeted for the different marketing teams.”- Craig Scribner


Tracking First, LLC



Joseph Riddle


Tracking First, LLC

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