It’s that time of year when you’re inundated with self-serving year-end recaps from every B2B company that has your email address. While we acknowledge that this will be one of those year-end recaps, we hope to keep the navel-gazing to a minimum, reviewing overall trends and predictions while providing insight into some of the cool new features our clients asked for last year and some others that will be coming in 2023.
(If you want to skip directly to the navel-gazing part, please feel free to scroll down to the last section.)
2022 Trends and 2023 Predictions
From an industry/landscape perspective, many of the general trends we have previously seen continued in 2022, even as the economy slowed and interest rates began to rise. Other trends we find are accelerating. The uncertainty about the economy slowed consumer and business spending in the second half of the year. Even through this tough economic environment, we are optimistic that things will pick back up by the second half of 2023. Unfortunately, we have seen quite a few layoffs, especially in the tech world, and will likely see some more in the next few months.
Efficiency is now the name of the game. Do as much (or more) with less. Against the backdrop of this uncertainty, here are the 3 major trends we see continuing into 2023 and beyond.
#1 Increasing Investment in Customer Data
We know that organizations are collecting more first-party data about prospects and customers — this is data collected on their website, apps, and any other owned properties. Intelligent first-party data collection and utilization becomes even more important in a world where third-party data has gone away. According to CDP.com, the customer data platform (CDP) market has increased 25% in 2022 compared to 2021. That increase becomes even more impressive given the headwinds in the second half of the year.
What does this mean for you in a practical sense? We’re not here to pick winning companies or tell you what vendor to select in an RFP, but instead to look at the bigger picture: to answer the question of what capabilities and functional areas companies are investing in. Our clients and partners are now investing in CDP and CDP-adjacent technologies and focusing on optimizing the time spent by the teams doing the work. (Now whether they realize any value from these investments is a separate question!) With hundreds of providers, the CDP space is still a very fragmented category. Good luck to you if onboarding a CDP is on your 2023 to do list!
This investment in collecting, wrangling (a very technical term), and activating data to offer the most relevant communication throughout the customer journey will continue to grow into the distant future. It is just so stinkin’ HARD to do it well! It is 2022 — almost 2023! — and many organizations still think tools are a silver bullet — ignoring the foundations of data quality that must be in place to extract maximum value.
#2 Increasing Enforcement of Data Privacy Laws in the US
Data privacy has been a hot topic for the past few years — at first discussed in small, niche, esoteric circles in Europe but growing to a global talking point that has spread like wildfire. The American attitude towards data privacy is familiar: we kept our fingers firmly in both ears until the privacy implications of the interconnected global economy forced our hand. Fortunately for consumers, that battle to ensure data privacy has arrived at our doorsteps, albeit, in the most United States way possible — via state-by-state privacy laws.
Much like any other worldwide “entanglement,” it has taken the United States a long time to enter the fray of data privacy. It has been relatively easy to understand the US timeline and progression: we are a few years behind Europe. They created privacy laws and a few years later we created our own. They started enforcing their laws with fines and a few years later we have added some teeth to our laws and we’ve begun fining companies. (See our previous blog post about the landmark Sephora case.)
Fines and case law drive enforcement. The former makes sense because the sense of inertia it creates. The latter is what privacy lawyers and consultants need to better hone their recommendations for clients: the specific language used to describe where the organization went wrong and the remedies that need to be in place to become compliant. Many of these will include compliance with Global Privacy Control (GPC).
#3 Data Observability / Quality / Monitoring / Compliance / Governance
We are using a few different terms to describe one major problem organizations are increasingly attempting to solve without burdensome manual processes. The industry category of data observability exploded over the last few years. Companies like Metaplane, Monte Carlo, and others have raised money at massive valuations, to assist companies in proactively monitoring enterprise data within the various (typically internal) data pipelines and databases.
This growth in valuations, while probably fueled by the frothy market, is also driven by the increased recognition that the investments we previously outlined that use data to drive the business forward require an associated investment in data governance. It is our belief that the market around data governance is correcting itself. Previously, organizations had invested most of their money into data collection, aggregation, reporting, and activation platforms. The missing piece to truly ensure that organizations realize a ROI on these data achievements is well-governed, high-quality data.
From our perspective, we think that investment in proactive data governance solutions will continue, whether forced by legislation and legal enforcement (privacy), and/or the move towards greater efficiency where organizations need to drive more ROI leveraging their existing environments (quality).
These are areas we think are important in part because we know the problem set well, but also because we know that organizations are looking to solve for this pain. We see these trends continuing into 2023 and beyond… and we are here to help.
As we look to spend more time in person at events in 2023, we hope to continue the conversation with you and others so please feel free to send us a note if you’d like to chat.
Sentinel in Focus
Now for the navel-gazing section we mentioned earlier.
We have had an incredible year as an organization. Our team is actively engaged, building a technology we first imagined over 10 years ago. We have found and advanced our unique product-market fit, and we are revitalized by the feedback from clients and prospects that we are on the right track to solve pervasive pain points that have not gotten less painful over time.
What does an “incredible year” look like for us?
- Billions of pageviews and events validated across our clients.
- More than a 300% increase in pageviews and events validated from 2021.
- Released version 2.0 of our user dashboard.
- Numerous product enhancements providing analysis, attribution, sales, and conversion support (a few examples: campaign parameter taxonomy validation, dynamic content validation based on campaign parameters, required field validation for “create account” forms, product review API validation for ecommerce, enhancements to anomaly detection and alerting, and several new best practice insights to our platform).
- A growing team made up of enthusiastic, smart people advancing our product and service offerings every day.
What’s Next for Sentinel Insights?
We’ll be attending several industry events in 2023 (more info coming soon) and we’re in the middle of planning a few major announcements to prepare for the related festivities. We’ll be rolling out some major enhancements to our user dashboard and the backing infrastructure that allows us to provide you with valuable insights into the data your users are generating on your website. And as always, we’ll continue listening to our clients and prospects to learn how we can help them achieve organizational trust in the data, optimize implementation teams’ time, and provide real-time peace of mind that their MarTech implementation is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.
Thank you for your partnership and support in 2022 — we’ll see you next year!