Patrick Salyer, Chief Executive Officer at Gigya, discussed the importance of social marketing to provide businesses with valuable data.
Jason Redlus: Can you start by telling us a little bit about Gigya and your role there?
Patrick Salyer: Gigya offers what we call a Connected Consumer Management Suite, which helps businesses understand and connect more closely with today’s mobile and socially connected consumers. We offer products like Social Login, Registration-as-a-Service, Social Plugins and Gamification that allow businesses to access, consolidate and manage permission-based identity and behavior data to power marketing.
I oversee all areas of the company and am responsible for Gigya’s overall business strategy and day-to-day operations. I primarily lead corporate strategy, product innovation and also act as a liaison to clients to understand their pain points. I’m passionate about leading the company and am constantly amazed at how far we’ve come as an organization.
Let’s discuss Gigya’s journey as an organization thus far. How has the company evolved?
Gigya has come a long way, even in the last year. As a company, we’ve grown tremendously – in the last year alone we’ve hired nearly 100 employees, bringing us to more than 250 employees worldwide, and we expect to get to 300 employees into next year. We have become a truly global company with clients in 43 countries and five offices across the globe.
When I started at Gigya, I was the second U.S. employee and we were entering a really nascent space. Now, first-party data-driven marketing is becoming an imperative for every online business, and we have adapted our product suite to align ourselves with this expanding market.
“First-party, data-driven marketing is becoming an imperative for every online business and we have adapted our product suite to align ourselves with this expanding market.”
Prior to joining Gigya, you created apps for Myspace and Facebook. What sparked your initial interest in social media? How has this influenced the work you do at Gigya?
I was actually in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm at Harvard and witnessed the explosion of Facebook firsthand. At first, social networking was really just a novel concept that had a niche with college students (Facebook) and music fans (Myspace), but I saw that a real shift in how people interact with each other — and with brands — was coming and I wanted to be a part of it. I initially created applications for Myspace.com and Facebook.com, and once I experienced success there, I knew there was a much larger opportunity to be a part of something bigger, and that’s when I joined Gigya.
Gigya’s technology allows businesses to access permission-based customer behavior data. Can you share some examples of how this data has helped your clients gain a more thorough understanding of their customers?
The first wave of social marketing was about creating a presence on social networks, despite marketers not really having an idea of what should be measured and whether it was working or not. Now, consumers expect a social experience all over the web, which means social login is a requirement for businesses. Social login provides businesses with an incredible amount of valuable first-party data, like social graph and interest graph data, that can dramatically improve marketing and our core focus as a company is helping businesses collect, store and use this data. Specifically, we have created a number of prebuilt integrations under our Nexus Partner Ecosystem that helps port this data into email service providers, ad servers and product and content recommendation engines, to make marketing much more relevant and personalized. The NFL, for example, integrates our Social Login and Identity Storage tools with their existing email marketing platform to send personalized offers for custom NFL jerseys to fans with upcoming birthdays based on their profiles and names. That level of scalable personalization is becoming absolutely critical for today’s marketers and is one of the reasons that marketers want social login on their websites and apps.
“Social login provides businesses with an incredible amount of valuable first-party data, like social graph and interest graph data, that can dramatically improve marketing and our core focus as a company is helping businesses collect, store and use this data.”
How does Gigya mitigate the concerns of people who are apprehensive about providing their social media information?
Gigya offers Social Privacy Certification to businesses that abide by a certain set of trusted data practices, like not selling social data, not spamming social feeds, etc. Privacy is extremely important for both our clients and for Gigya as a business. To establish consumer trust, we work individually with our clients to confirm that they are following best practices around data collection and usage and make sure they are creating trustworthy connections with their users. We conducted a survey at the end of 2012 which showed that more than half (53%) of consumers use social login, but that the 47% who do not are primarily concerned with how their data is used. Our Social Privacy Certification helps our clients communicate that they are doing the “right thing” with consumer data in the form of a consumer-facing seal. We do consistent audits as well to ensure that those practices are being upheld. We’ve seen that social login increase by about 20% when clients implement Social Privacy Certification.
What are your goals for Gigya in 2014? How do you plan to successfully achieve these goals with your team?
Gigya will continue to evolve on the data side of the business with a focus on helping our clients understand and put the data to use in marketing campaigns. Our aim as a company is to help our clients forge authentic connections with their customers. To us, that concept means creating transparent and valuable relationships with users via technologies like Social Login. It is a huge initiative for us and one that I’m very excited about, because I really think we are truly changing the way businesses and consumers interact.
As for the company itself, it’s all about growth, and we’ve expanded in virtually ever area of the business. We’ve just opened new offices in Phoenix and Paris to supplement the hiring we have done in Mountain View, London and Tel Aviv. 2014 is going to be a monumental year for the company and for our clients as well. I’m incredibly excited and grateful to be a part of it.
As Chief Executive Officer, Patrick is responsible for Gigya’s overall business strategy and day-to-day operations. Patrick previously held the position of Vice President of Strategy and Operations at Gigya, driving retail product strategy and operations as well as strategic partnerships including relationships with the top social networks and identity providers including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft. He was also instrumental in building and managing Gigya’s high-performing sales development organization. Patrick has also held positions at Gigya in business development and corporate sales, driving adoption of Gigya’s technology across more than 500,000 websites, and delivering some of Gigya’s lighthouse enterprise clients. Before joining Gigya, Patrick co-founded a suite of social network applications and games and served as Associate Consultant for L.E.K. Consulting, a strategy consulting firm. Patrick holds a bachelors degree from Harvard University.
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