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Email Marketing For The Modern Data Stack
  • Data Management

Email Marketing For The Modern Data Stack

With organizations and applications becoming ever more data-demanding, businesses need to maintain multiple data pipelines: one for their core product and one for their marketing software and CRM tools. Typically, these legacy architectures behave a lot like data Jenga – the stack will inevitably collapse.

In reaction, over the past five years, there have been seismic shifts in the way marketing and engineering teams manage and use data. A modern data stack has emerged, paving the way for a great decoupling of complex data architectures.

Thanks to an ecosystem of modern data stack products like Snowflake, Big Query, Snowplow, and dbt, customer, product, and user data is now stored in a unified data pipeline, known as a Cloud Data Warehouse or CDW. This gives organizations the ability to store and query multiple datasets quickly, accurately, and cheaply.

As the unified modern data stack fast becomes the default way to store, organize and manage user data, trends are emerging across other areas of digital architecture.

Online retail has seen a shift to headless eCommerce with platforms like Shopify Plus, Kentico, and Magento decoupling their front-end functionality from back-end commerce functionality, making it easier to edit without interfering with the front-end.

This is similar to the recent uptick in ‘headless CMS’; a shift away from traditional hosted software in favor of headless content management which syndicates your content as data over an API, not as a specific output. Next-generation CMS’ like Contentful, Sitecore and Netlify are great examples of platforms helping developers simplify their workflows and scale smarter.

BI tools are undergoing a similar transformation to ‘headless BI’. With API-first solutions like GoodData modern data teams have better tools to manage their metrics and analytics workflows that are fit for the modern data stack.

An advantage of the new data architecture is the agility to pick and choose which head to put on the body. Opting for ‘less’ means every piece or platform can be switched out as organizations scale without rebuilding, or dismantling entire systems.

When we think about marketing software through the lens of headless services, it makes total sense that email marketing evolves toward a more modular “swappable” architecture.

At Vero, we’ve spent the last decade deep in the weeds of email marketing and marketing automation tools. Through our original product, Vero Cloud, we’ve been a front-row witness to the ways in which marketing automation tools and customer data storage are intersecting.

From our perspective, this shift away from monolithic marketing platforms, towards a new order of scalability, sovereignty, and interoperability is the next evolution in marketing software. For those bullish about the opportunity, it has the potential to make things more scalable and less complicated.

So, What is Email Marketing Marketing For The Modern Data Stack?

Email Marketing for the modern data stack means your email marketing sits as a layer on top of your existing data stack.

Vero Connect is engineered around decoupling the ‘base’ from the application. The logic bypasses the bloat of traditional marketing software by recognizing that organizations already store their data elsewhere. Where legacy software requires complex integrations, javascript, and duplicate data storage, next generation marketing software like Vero Connect simply reads from *your* database rather than syncing and copying your user data across to *the vendor’s* database.

We think the best place for your customer data to live is in a database you control. Not bunny-hopped between multiple places, that each charge you to store and read it.

Unlike current marketing platforms that require constant cycles of syncing and resyncing data between systems, Vero Connect sits as a neat layer directly on top of your data warehouse. This allows you to query your user data directly at its source and send personalized newsletters using the query results.

This shift from everything-but-the-kitchen-sink architectures, towards a more mature data pipeline, represents a new era of scalability and flexibility. Vero Connect brings less duplication, more security, and faster access to data for all teams.

Vero Connect is a modular platform, meaning users can swap out their data architecture as their business grows and avoid the cumbersome process of re-platforming. In practice, your messaging UI like Vero Connect would remain the same, but other data and 3rd party platforms could be switched out as marketing needs become more sophisticated. We think giving marketing and data teams stability, but also flexibility with their tech stack is a huge advantage for modern marketing teams.

Whether your CRM data lives in Central Data Warehouses like Snowflake, Redshift or BigQuery, platforms like Airtable, or applications like Google Sheets, we see a world where customer data is always owned, stored, and managed directly by the organization, not by multiple vendors.

Vero Connect: Modern Data Stack Marketing Automation in Action

Vero Connect is the first Marketing Software built for the Modern Data Stack. It’s got all the marketing bells-and-whistles you’d expect from an email marketing platform, but it’s not pretending to be both a customer data platform and your marketing software.

It’s packed with all the features and functionality you need to design and send great-looking emails. Think super simple UI, easy-to-use drag and drop design, configurable domains, time-saving templates, reusable snippets, exportable analytics, scheduled sends, and trackable unsubscribes. The killer difference? It doesn’t store your data.

Vero Connect gives you total flexibility over how you connect to your data. We give you the option to either bring your own data (BYOD) or connect to your own data as a layer on top of your tech stack (CYOD).

Bring your own data

If you’re using a CRM or any other type of business software, you’ve likely got customer data that can be easily exported as a CSV file. Using Vero Connect, you can import this CSV as an audience and use the dynamic data to create personalized newsletters. Or, if you’ve got Google Sheets, just use our integration to connect directly to your sheet to pull an audience into a campaign.

Once you’ve loaded your contacts, it’s super easy to design, send and track your email. No complex integrations or javascript are required and no need to store or pay for customer data.

Load your own data 

This is the crux of our modern data stack innovation. Vero Connect simply connects to your data, wherever it already lives, and queries it directly in your data platform.

At the front end, it’s a simple and intuitive email marketing interface. Much like other email marketing tools, you can design great-looking emails using the drag-and-drop builder designed from the ground up on top of MJML. You’ve also got the option to create great content using the prebuilt templates, layouts, and snippets. If you already have your own HTML templates, import them and edit the code with our HTML editor.

In terms of functionality, we’re on par with the industry giants, offering detailed logs, full-featured reports and exportable analytics, dynamic content personalization, and next-level global support.

Our backend sets us apart. Instead of syncing your data, simply connect to your data directly. Whether its platforms like Snowflake, Redshift, BigQuery, PostgresSQL, and MySQL or lightweight platforms like Airtable and Google Sheets.

Once you’ve connected your database, use Vero’s inbuilt SQL editor to run queries and narrow down an audience or segment to import into Vero Connect for that particular send. From there, use the drag and drop or HTML editor to design your campaign and personalize the content with any of the data loaded from the original audience query.

By using your database, you get set up and sending faster with access to real-time accurate customer and product data. From a compliance perspective, you’re also storing sensitive information in fewer places.

The big question here is why sync data when you can query it directly?

Advantages of Email Marketing For The Modern Data Stack

Data

Most marketing technology products try to be both your customer data platform and your marketing software. Aside from product bloat, one of the issues with these platforms is how your user data is stored and treated. Because your data already lives in a database or CDW, paying a vendor to store your data is essentially like paying to rent back something you already own.

This is old-school thinking. Your customer data platform (CDP) and your marketing software don’t need to be one and the same. #uncouplegoals.

Vero Connect is fundamentally different: we don’t store your user data, we connect to your data where it already exists.

Building on the solid growth of our stalwart Workflows product, our nine years of evidence points to a hard truth: most marketing software churn happens because data needs change. Because Vero Connect lets you connect any data source, you can switch your data needs as you scale. From an ops perspective, it’s a game-changer. Decoupling your data source means you can future-proof your pipeline and keep your marketing stack current. Because we’re essentially an email marketing layer, organizations can flexibly switch out their third-party services as they scale without being wedded to one particular, data-hungry vendor.

As an example, startups can simply flip out their data platforms as they scale. You could start with a simple “CRM” in Airtable, grow into Segment with PostgresSQL as a data warehouse, graduate to a full-blown Snowplow Analytics installation with Google BigQuery or build something custom on Kafka and S3: keeping your messaging UI and experience the same throughout.

Further, from an enterprise perspective, you can also plug in different data sources for different jobs within your organization. Your product PostgreSQL database for the product team, Airtable for the legal team, an analytics-only database for marketing and so many more.

Cost

Storing subscriber and product data is a massively expensive overhead hidden in the monolithic pricing schemes of most marketing tool vendors. As most marketing tools charge you per subscriber, or per user: the more you grow, the more you bloat!

Aside from all the good stuff you’d expect from marketing software like design, analytics, and UI, what you’re actually paying for is data rental. What most organizations don’t realize is that data is theirs, and paying marketing software to store it, is like paying to rent it back.

This is where email for the modern stack is priceless, making marketing software cheaper by reducing duplicate data storage and only charging users for what they send, not what they store.

The ultimate in usage-based pricing means no contracts and no overhead based-retainers, just a cleaner, more transparent way to layer marketing software over your modern data stack.

Control

Because you don’t have to copy your user data across from your database to another location in Vero Connect, you have way more control over how you meet your data privacy requirements.

Not syncing between multiple sources and querying data directly at the source, means you store data in fewer places, which gives you more control over who and how you access sensitive customer information. Going direct to the source means your data is also more accurate and you’re able to access customer and event-level data faster.

Bypassing the bloat of syncing and resyncing means there’s no need to set up another Javascript snippet, manage two-way data syncs, or troubleshoot mismatched data.

Beyond The Stack

With Vero Connect now live as the first Email Marketing platform for the Modern Data Stack, we’ve taken a major step toward an innovative paradigm in marketing software.

We’re committed to building product-led, community-driven products, co-designed by the folks that use them. We’d love your thoughts on our direction, and product, email me at chris@getvero.com or get in touch with our team via support@getvero.com.

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