Makiska Media Corp


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October 12, 2015 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Custom Database & Email Marketing Solutions For Data Driven Marketers



Brad Hogg



Makiska Media Corp


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – October 12, 2015


CEOCFO: Mr. Hogg, what is the idea behind Makiska Media?

Mr. Hogg: Makiska Media’s Relevance Reactor is a data and campaign management platform. The primary product is what we call our Digital Data Manager, which is a hosted platform; sort of data management in the cloud, so to speak. Then we also have an extension of that, which we call Campaign Manager. That module integrates with the email service providers to centralize email campaign deployments. A client can have multiple ESP accounts across these different platforms and can manage it all from one central location within our platform.


CEOCFO: What are some of the most common features that your system provides? What are some things you can do that perhaps not too many people take advantage of, but really should? 

Mr. Hogg: On the data management side especially, we are finding that more and more companies are realizing that their data is in disarray. The features that we offer to deal with those types of things have to do with data integrity, so it is basically verifying the integrity of data when it is imported. We de-duplicate the data within each source upon import, and are integrated with data hygiene and verification companies as well, having the data automatically run through those types of platforms. Therefore, I would say that in terms of what many companies are missing out on and are coming to realize the importance of, it would have to be with just data integrity in general, data hygiene and validation. I would say that would be one of the primary ones.


CEOCFO: How are you able to really be on top when there are many changes? Data seems to be outdated before it is even in the system. What do you understand about keeping up that allows your system to work better than others?  

Mr. Hogg: In terms of the age of the data as well as utilizing and monetizing or taking advantage of the data before it becomes obsolete or stale, we have real time features that allow data; for instance, data that is being posted from a web form somewhere, to be posted into the system in real time and then have that trigger a campaign in an ESP, for example. In a short period of time, between that person signing up or creating that registration between that time and the time of the campaign going out to them, it is minimized. In terms of just managing the data in general, we have features that allow clients to be able to track the response of the data. You have certain pockets of data that reports will show are actively engaged in campaigns and ones that are not. The system allows you to do different things with that data; everything from sending re-marketing campaigns or campaigns to engage them or even moving that data out of your active table into an archive table, so that it is out of the way of your more active campaigns.


CEOCFO: Who is coming to you for services? Is there a common thread? 

Mr. Hogg: Definitely, especially this past year, it is fairly diverse. Everything from online to offline, we are storing data. Primarily, their contact records are email based or phone based. However, we are seeing more combining of online and offline data; postal records being matched against email records and then those further being matched on consumer files. We have clients that use Infogroup, for example. They will have the consumer databases that they are licensing from them. The clientele is diverse, but I will say that the primary client that we have and this is largely due in part to the shows that we have attended to this point. We are actually going to the DMA show for the first time this fall, so that will likely open up a different venue for a different type of client. However, to this point it has been online advertisers, data brokers and basically anyone that has large amounts of contact records that they are having difficulty managing. Then especially recently, we have clients from all over the world that are looking to use our Campaign Manager feature to deploy their email marketing campaigns through multiple ESP accounts and have all of the campaign management and the reporting centralized. We also centralize, not just the reporting from the ESPs, but also all of the hard bounces, unsubs,etc.. Things like that all come back into a single repository. Having all your important campaign stats and everything tracked back to an individual subscriber ID or email is extremely valuable and allows the client to become more targeted with future campaigns.


CEOCFO: What has changed this year? Has it been a turning point for Makiska? 

Mr. Hogg: Yes, I think it is. We were just discussing it the other day, because we are about six years old now. I think that six years ago we were a little ahead of our time in the sense that there are more companies now that realize that building their own internal database is not the way to go. This year there has been more of a shift than we have ever seen with companies that have had internal databases that they have built. They have hired developers and they have hired database administrators. They have attempted to build these systems themselves entirely and they have run into problem after problem. Whether it is scaling it; it works fine when they have ten thousand records, but when they get to ten million it is a different story. I would say, that is really the primary thing; that these companies are realizing that outsourcing this type of platform is really the only way to go. It allows them to now just focus on what they do best, which is marketing. They do not have the need to buy the equipment, host the equipment and have those extra staff members there to maintain all of that. They can offload all of that onto us and do exactly what they are doing, but with a platform that can do what they do internally. That is really the key thing. We truly can replace an internal database. We have designed it in such a way that any sort of important customizations that make them unique, things that they do that are important differentiators from their competitors, they can still do. If they have technical people that can get in there and write queries and do things on a lower level, they can still do that and at the same time have employees that do not have the technical ability to do that, to still go in and be able to utilize other features through the interface. Therefore, I would say the biggest shift has to do with that realization on the part of these marketing companies.

CEOCFO: There are many management tools. When a company is evaluating different systems in your field how do they know the difference? What jumps out with your offering?

Mr. Hogg: We have what we like to think is a really effective online demo. We have a live demo that we do over “GoToMeeting”. I would say that it is surprising that this would be the sort of thing that would jump out as much as it does. Primarily, it has to do with how they can get at their data, how they can utilize their data and in a user friendly way. They are much less concerned with exactly how we do what we do. They want to be able to maybe use it to send out a feed into an ESP or they want to be able to just download the data manually to do something with it or integrate it with another platform. We have designed the system in such a way that the flexibility that they have is really quite significant. There are things that we can do through customization without having to actually customize our code base. We can customize the solution for them through the same interface that they use, so they can either do those types of customizations themselves or we can assist them in that customization. I think that’s what impresses many potential clients when they are viewing the demo is that they will ask the question; “We had this challenge and we have not been able to do this effectively with either our own system or this other system. Can you do this?” The vast majority of the time, we can. The thing that is interesting about data management is that there is always a logical flow in each of these companies’ day to day operations. There is the data that needs to come in and that needs to go out and there just needs to be the features that allow them to move it around and manipulate it and do what they need to do and get at it as they need to get at it. Often clients are just really impressed with how we are able to adapt a solution to what they need to do, which is often one of the reasons that they tried to build it themselves; because they had not previously found a solution that could do things in that more customized way. Therefore, I would say that would be one of the big things.


CEOCFO: What is involved in implementation and training?

Mr. Hogg: We stage it. Once we have a new client on board, the first step is to send them what we call our Implementation Discovery document. It is just a very simple question and answer type of document that helps us to gain an understanding of what types of databases they might need and what structure the database would need to be and how much volume of data they have coming in and going out and what types of reports they might need and so on and forth. Therefore, as part one it is just to gather that insight. Then the first part of the training and set up is that we will have a GoToMeeting with them to review the data structure that we have set up. We will get their databases created and get all of that set up and then we will review that with them. Then from there, once we have finalized that, then we have two separate training sessions for data manager. We do it separately in another session just so that the clients do not get an information overload. We will do an import training session and then we will do an export training session. Then clients that add on the campaign management module will do one additional training session after that. Another part of the reason that we separate it is that there are often different people involved. Therefore, those people that are responsible for deploying the campaigns are not necessarily involved in other data imports and those types of things. Therefore, we separate them into those three groups. Then once they are up and running we have both online documentation as well as documentation that we send them in PDFs. We have also got exceptional support, so we are there for them for any help they need as they go along. It is the type of platform that we find that once we have trained them well and they are in the system it is actually fairly low maintenance for us. We are happy to say that once they are up and running and they have a grasp of a system, often they do not need us very much, but we are always there if they do.


CEOCFO: What have you learned from your clients along the way? How is your offering better today from the feedback and the usage?

Mr. Hogg: I would say that, since day one until now, the campaign management module was in and of itself an addition that we realized that we needed. When we started it was just the data management module; we do have many clients which that is all they use. However, early on we had people that were using ESPs, deploying campaigns and needing to centralize their unsubscribes, and it just quickly became apparent that type of solution was going to be needed. Therefore, Campaign Manager was an addition for that. Then over time, on the data management side, I would say that just feature additions like the real time processing It became clear fairly early on that we could not just deal with batch files and delays and that we needed to do things more efficiently so that the real time data feature or real time import and export features were important to have and otherwise just enhancements to the data management. Just enhancements to the interface where they can query the database and making them more user friendly based on feedback that we have gotten. Then, there are also features that we add just to make things more efficient in terms of setting up a feed or setting up an export, just based on feedback like that to make the interface more efficient and friendlier.


CEOCFO: Most people today search for information online.  What search terms would someone use to find Makiska??

Mr. Hogg: The one that you would think would be the primary one, which certainly is one of them; is data management as a search term. The problem with that is that it is quite diverse in what that really means. In some areas of marketing, data management means that I am licensing your data and I am managing it for you and I am monetizing it for you and there is an economic relationship there between me taking your data and doing it. Therefore, when someone types in data management, what they are looking for is not necessarily exactly that. Therefore, we use terms like “database management” to differentiate that or database platform and database hosting and those types of things. On the campaign manager side it is the same sort of thing. You can type in campaign management, but you might be looking for a campaign management tool to manage your Google and Yahoo campaign and things like that. That again is quite diverse. Therefore, we need to do email marketing platforms. The struggle for us with that is that we are not an email service provider ourselves.  We integrate with all of the ESPs. People that are looking for ESPs are actually searching for email campaign management platform. What we do is we just add in a word like either “software” or “platform” or something like that, so we are catching more of the people that are looking for a system or a platform verses a service, per se.


CEOCFO: Why choose Makiska Media?

Mr. Hogg: We are different than the other platforms in that we are highly customizable. I would say that would be the number one thing. If there is something that you are doing that is proprietary or is unique and you feel that it would be a difficult system to accommodate that, I would say to give us a call, check out the demo and see what we can do. In terms of performance, I would say that’s the other piece is that if there is any concern with a large data base and performance concerns dealing with query times and things like that, that we are have a very robust, high performance system that will get the job done for you.


“If there is something that you are doing that is proprietary or is unique and you feel that it would be a difficult system to accommodate that, I would say to give us a call, check out the demo and see what we can do. In terms of performance, I would say that’s the other piece is that if there is any concern with a large data base and performance concerns dealing with query times and things like that, that we are have a very robust, high performance system that will get the job done for you.”
- Brad Hogg


Makiska Media Corp



Jeff Hogg







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