Buzzword Bingo: CRM, Big Data, Data Visualization & Actionable Insight

By April Pedersen

When pitching VCs 2 years ago for Salsa Labs, I often described our SaaS platform as being “beyond CRM”. Sure, we had a very robust CRM, a database that held over 70M records and a complete set of applications that sat on top of it. We also had a strong API for integration and 3rd party apps, although that never really panned out the way we had hoped. For our clients, the engagement applications (email, fundraising, advocacy, events) were the most critical part of that ecosystem, even though more than 2/3 used Salsa as their database of record.

But we were never comfortable calling Salsa a CRM platform because it was so much more. It was an engagement platform, an organizing platform, not just a CRM. Salesforce is a CRM.

Furthermore, while we built and operated the platform for over 2,000 clients, we were never able to use it ourselves as a CRM. Once of our foremost goals was to be able to use “Big Data” to gain “Actionable Insight” from our network of progressive clients to help further the progressive movement. For a variety of reasons (mainly that our investors didn’t want us wasting time on non revenue-generating activities), that will likely never come to fruition. We also never figured out how to use the data or CRM for marketing purposes. As such, we spent an ungodly amount of money trying old methods that simply did not work. If I heard that we just needed to “tweak the marketing mix” one more time, I would scream! “Tried and true, let’s throw a bunch of stuff out there and see what works, it worked for X company ten years ago so it must work for yours,” were all things we heard.

Thus, a problem in need of a solution. And not a problem that was in any way unique to us or our sector.

So how many times have we heard about big data, data visualization and actionable insight in the last year? Quick Google Search…

  1. Big Data = 21M
  2. Data Visualization = 2M
  3. Actionable Insight = 570K

Yep, that’s a lot. A topic we’ve been talking about for years that’s finally en vogue! And while they are hyped heavily, they are related to each other and there are many companies now trying to figure out how to make them all work together. Frakture is one of them and we think there is an enormous amount of value we can add.

We think that value will be in the form of: “Big Data” acquired, injested, turned into information, turned into knowledge, turned into insight that is actionable – the kind of specific idea about resource allocation and content production based on the insight gained – from the same place.

Frakture is one part Big Data (ingesting data from a wide variety of channels), one part Data Visualization, and most importantly, one part Actionable Insight that is actually actionable from inside the platform. And without going into specific details about the platform quite yet, you can bet that it will also be integrated with one of the most robust, sophisticated CRMs out there (We still won’t be called a CRM, of course).

It’s no surprise that one of the hottest jobs (with an estimated shortage of 140-190K by 2018 with deep analytical skills among US companies) is the Data Analyst.

We knew that and now we’re taking a crack at making the data geek’s and the marketer’s jobs more efficient and effective.

Marketing and how we engage with customers/constituents/potential customers/supporters was due for a real revolution, wasn’t it?