Q&A: Peg Kuman, Relevate CEO

Peg Kuman, CEO of Relevate, a company that provides data services to inform marketing decisions, recently discussed her company’s acquisition of Phoenix Data Processing and the subsequent company rebranding with Direct Marketing News. Prior to her role at Relevate, Kuman held leadership positions at Publishers Clearing House and Fingerhut Corp. She has worked in direct marketing for more than 34 years.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): Can you explain the process behind Telematch’s acquisition of Phoenix Data Processing?
Peg Kuman: Telematch decided to grow the business organically and through acquisition. We looked at companies that didn’t do the same things we did. We were great at managing clients’ customer information but we wanted to partner with or acquire a company that managed client prospect information. [We also wanted the company to be strong] in building proprietary content, modeling and analytics and database management, among other business solutions.
DMN: How did the two companies come to be called Relevate?
Kuman: We needed to rebrand and reposition the companies as one. Between our two companies we had nine different websites for products, services and client log-ins. We needed to bring all of those sites together with single messaging for all of our services and interfaces. At the end of the day it was an easy decision to make, but it was tough to say goodbye to two old friends [in the names Telematch and Phoenix Data Processing].

DMN: Has leveraging customer data become more important than ever? Why?
Kuman: It’s always been important. Smart marketers have always done modeling and analyzed the modeling results to drive business decisions that range from promotional pieces to what it is they’re actually selling. It doesn’t matter what the medium is – broadcast, direct, mobile – the information driver is as valuable as it always has been.

DMN: You speak often about data diversity to ensure accuracy. Why is this so important?
Kuman: We spend a small fortune on this — dollars, time, energy and talent in ensuring the best elements are extracted from the best data source. Pretend you’re a client and you have only customer or prospect cell phone numbers and you need to know who they are, where they are from, and what they look like. For our clients — by knowing how the information is sourced — it allows us to help them make informed decisions about giving them the best solution around a multitude of data sets.
DMN: How are businesses turning customer data into actionable results?
Kuman: So many things make up different information about individuals. Are there other people like me that I can prospect to? Who are they? Where do they live? What do they look like? I can run tests on this information. I’ll learn that one type of person responds to particular kinds of promotions. Another type of person responds to a certain price point. Knowing that, what else can I do to get this type of person to respond? Might this kind of offer be good for other kinds of customers? At the end of the day it’s all about driving revenue.

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