Dandelion: Data Stories that Build Brands

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Brad Krieger, Founder & CEO In the old marketing paradigm, brands let jingles and catchphrases percolate among consumers while waiting patiently for their campaigns to bear fruit. It was only after that did they collect and analyze the data to understand consumer behavior and plan for future campaigns. Over the years, this process has undergone a drastic shift. Real-time consumer responses and proactive strategies fuel today’s marketing machine. Rather than playing the waiting game, marketers gather vast streams of consumer data to create predictive models and accordingly alter their campaigns—often on the fly.

"By connecting and integrating various streams of data in one centralized dashboard, we allow customers to analyze their data to create new models, segments, and business opportunities"

By gaining visibility to relevant consumer information (location data, preferences, motivations, behavior, purchasing habits), and leveraging technology to analyze and harness the data, marketers are able to target diverse segments of audiences to increase impact and reach. Through audience analysis and profile building, companies target and retarget consumers using different channels to deliver personalized content. In that endeavor, organizations rely on marketing technology stack such as the Google Marketing Platform. However, in their scramble to collect and organize consumer information, brands encounter a series of unique challenges. With the practice of purchasing data from third-party vendors becoming the norm, enterprises have to deal with siloed information existing in multiple formats, scarce technical resources, compliance and privacy regulations, and the oversaturation of analytics platforms. In recent years, inaccurate data from disparate sources led to marketers bombarding target consumers with messages that weren’t relevant to their interests. This resulted in many companies suffering a hit to their public image.

Against this backdrop, Dandelion, a certified Google marketing technology solution provider, enables marketers to connect more authentically with target customers. With an aim to drive digital excellence, Dandelion empowers firms with end-to-end solutions and management consulting services. The company aids businesses to navigate today’s data-related complexities while maximizing the infinite benefits of the Google Marketing Platform. “While we license and support the advertising stack on behalf of Google, it is only the starting point of our solution offerings, and by no means the endgame. We weed out the irrelevant data and equip brands with a repository of richer datasets that weigh their worth in gold,” says Brad Krieger, founder and CEO of Dandelion.

Krieger’s team of consultants, data architects, and analysts specialize in enabling brands to develop their “data story” and enrich their ad campaign. “We are focused on helping clients unearth available data sources that they wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. By connecting and integrating various streams of data in one centralized dashboard, we allow customers to analyze their data to create new models, segments, and business opportunities,” adds Krieger. In assisting brands to narrate their “data stories,” Dandelion offers a range of services for data integration, strategy and implementation, audience/customer analysis, predictive modeling, and machine learning. Dandelion believes that the stories would lack effectiveness without the power of the Google Marketing Platform.

Equipping Brands with the Power of Teams

Dandelion-engineered “data stories” are indeed a hit among marketers. As more brands acknowledge the importance of filtered, qualitative data, they have naturally taken to marketing technology solutions. However, they are re-evaluating their approach to owning technology.

We have rich experience in building in-house teams, especially ad trading desks

Previously, businesses relied heavily on outsourcing their technology contracts, strategy, and execution to third-party vendors. That norm is rapidly changing as more marketers are moving toward co-managed or in-house models. According to Krieger, brands that utilize in-house technology teams can benefit from consolidating data sources, increasing transparency, and achieving greater control over data.

Krieger has made a career out of setting up in-house teams that can harness marketing technology. In 2013, he was instrumental in establishing a programmatic digital team named Amnet Group, which serves as a trading desk for Dentsu Aegis Network—a multinational media and digital marketing communications company headquartered in London. A few years later, Krieger assembled a programmatic ad desk for Postmedia Network. “We have rich experience in building in-house teams, especially ad trading desks in the Canadian market,” says Krieger, who has over 12 years of experience working for brands such as General Motors, Disney Canada, and Microsoft Canada.

While its unique value proposition remains the in-housing of technical teams, Dandelion’s management consulting services are equally distinctive, helping clients construct a digital strategy by putting the power of their data to work. As part of its management consulting, the company covers digital analytics maturity assessment, audience analysis, platform/ tool implementation, cloud for marketing, value realization plan, and C-suite dashboard. Dandelion also offers solutions for data science engagements, which further involve trendspotting, customer segmentation, sentiment monitoring, and purchase prediction.

Balancing Platforms, People, Processes

Being a renowned Google partner, Dandelion takes a meticulous approach before setting up an in-house team that can deploy and optimize the Google Marketing Platform. The consulting engagements typically last a few weeks, during which Team Dandelion implements its proven three-pronged strategy of platforms, people, and process. After evaluating a brand’s existing infrastructure and digital operations, Dandelion understands their objectives before designing an ecosystem diagram to showcase specific technologies. In the next step, Dandelion delivers a solutions framework and architecture and develops an implementation plan that includes Q.A. steps for the platform(s) to be deployed on a client’s system. After deploying and integrating the data architecture—which includes data layer building and mapping—Dandelion executes the extract, transform, load (ETL) processes, customizes the dashboard, and configures the reporting/ analyzing components.

“A client may have the best team in the world, but if they lack the requisite technology, it is pointless. Similarly, a client could have sound processes and technology in place, but not the right personnel. Our approach is to refine all three layers and bridge the gap between each,” stresses Krieger, before adding that Dandelion’s focus extends beyond just technology implementation “to building the entire digital strategy.”

To illustrate how Dandelion helps organizations enhance their in-house marketing technology capabilities, Krieger narrates a few real-life instances. When a subsidiary of Brunswick News wanted to manage their marketing technology tools in-house rather than relying on outsourced partners, they called upon Dandelion. Before Dandelion stepped in, the customer had outsourced various functions to different vendors. Krieger recalls that they had different partners for data discovery, a separate trading desk for programmatic, and another partner for social media.

Dandelion implemented the entire Google marketing stack in the client’s ecosystem and helped create workflows to improve tracking and performance management. “We trained their internal team on each aspect of the Google Marketing Platform so that they could perform the tasks themselves,” says Krieger.
As a result, the customer could get rid of all their outsourced partners and rely exclusively on Dandelion’s solutions. “Post-deployment, the client had more than just the wherewithal (and training) to capitalize on the benefits of the Google marketing stack. Since we fine-tuned their processes to deliver a complete service, they were able to seamlessly consolidate various data sources and enhance the quality of their programmatic ad campaigns,” explains Krieger.

Another noteworthy customer success story involves longtime customer AdParlor, a media buying agency that specializes in ecommerce and CPG clients. Dandelion helped AdParlor build a fully fledged incrementality dashboard inclusive of platforms such as Display & Video 360 (DV 360) and Campaign Manager. “In addition to platform work, we have enabled them to personalize their client offerings with custom setups and strategy. This is particularly useful since each of their clients has a unique set of KPI and optimization goals,” informs Krieger.

Besides providing ad technology implementation, training, and ongoing support for platforms like DV 360, Campaign Manager (CM), Google Creative Studio, and Big Query, Dandelion aids AdParlor with comprehensive tech data transfer services, DV360/CM Google Cloud support, and Live Dashboards. Moreover, Dandelion delivers consulting services such as measurement plans, custom campaign structure, designed for measurement and optimization, and tagging and conversion implementation. “Strategic consulting is an ongoing process with AdParlor; we are included in a wide variety of client projects based on their technical, strategic and resource requirements,” reveals Krieger.

In addition to the round-the-clock technology and strategic support, Dandelion goes the extra yard for AdParlor by offering viable options related to campaign strategy and measurement. This may be as simple as advising AdParlor on how to build out a Campaign Manager structure for quick and efficient optimizations. “It may (also) be a little more complex, where we design and implement custom variables for their client’s Floodlight configuration. Alternatively, it might involve writing queries to link data tables from multiple sources to provide a cloud-connected data source to analyze all data in a singular view,” adds Krieger.

Eradicating the Concerns of Transparency

While Dandelion is instrumental in setting up a fully-functional digital ad trading desk for clients, Krieger has questioned the level of transparency among other trading desks and programmatic ad agencies. He came to the realization long before founding Dandelion. “The term double-dipping was used quite often because there was a lack of trust between advertisers, media firms, and technology providers,” recalls Krieger. He noticed that the rise of programmatic channels meant advertisers had lesser visibility into the entire buying funnel. The lack of transparency led to issues such as ad fraud, brand safety, and the rise of ad blockers. “Marketers felt lack of control over their own data, especially while dealing with third-party agencies and data sources,” states Krieger.

After establishing strong ties with Google Canada, Krieger knew he could earn the trust of brands through a certified platform that guarantees rich datasets and outcomes. “Through the Google channel partner model, we ensured agencies had their name on the tech stack and, more importantly, control over their data,” says Krieger.

Fortifying the Google Partnership

This fall, Dandelion will undergo a recertification process with Google Canada, and expects to become a certified partner with Google USA in the near future. “We want to become a premier partner for our clients in the U.S.,” reveals Krieger.

On the solutions front, Dandelion plans to bolster its already-formidable expertise in analytics implementation, systems integration, and discovery and infusion of new datasets. “Since datasets such as call center data and shipping data have historically fallen outside the advertising silo, we want to focus on those as well,” says Krieger. Dandelion will continue to implement and support products such as Google Analytics 360 and BigQuery.

“We want to help marketers gain a holistic view of their data and optimize technology available to them,” states Krieger. He reveals that Dandelion will expand its solutions beyond just the technology implementation aspect. The technology is a conversation starter, but Dandelion brings so much more to the table. “Our focus is on helping brands build their entire digital strategy,” concludes Krieger.


Toronto, Canada

Brad Krieger, Founder & CEO

A certified Google marketing technology solution provider, Dandelion delivers end-to-end solutions, from strategy and system architecture to deployment and integration. With an aim to drive digital excellence, Dandelion enables marketers to connect more authentically with target customers with a range of end-to-end solutions and management consulting services. Dandelion aids brands navigate today’s data-related complexities while maximizing the infinite benefits of the Google Marketing Platform. As part of its management consulting, the company covers digital analytics maturity assessment, audience analysis, platform/tool implementation, and cloud for marketing. Dandelion also offers solutions for data science engagements, which involve trendspotting, customer segmentation, sentiment monitoring, and purchase prediction