Every two years, Jeff and I try to visit our Enterprise clients. For this reason, traveling has become a constant part of our lives as co-founders. To be honest, when I first started traveling for work, it felt rather glamorous. Now it’s just a fact of our business lives. (Jet lag is no laughing matter!)

One of the reasons we make time to travel is that it’s so nice to meet clients in person. Sometimes I talk to people over email for years before I finally get to meet them in person. It makes the biggest difference to see someone’s smile and hear their voice. I also love seeing people’s personalities come through in how they sit, how they laugh, and what they wear.

I’m not a huge fan of the term “building relationships” because every marketer tosses it around, but that’s exactly what these trips do. I get to know people beyond their email addresses and their product needs. I hear about a recent vacation to Italy, find out what it’s like to be an empty-nester, and learn where to find the best coffee in the area. It’s a great reminder that we’re all unique people and we all want to be understood.

Our recent trip over the Atlantic took us to the UK.

Appreciation Engine co-founders Jeff Mitchell and Annabel Youens in the UK.

Co-founders Jeff and Annabel take a rainy selfie in the U.K.

On this trip, I finally got to meet members of the French team from one of the major labels we work with. It felt like meeting old friends… ones I’d never met before.

Jeff and I visited a number of record label offices. We caught up with technical partners and visited new media companies we are just getting to know. There was a lot of discussion around data privacy, the upcoming GDPR regulations  — and not to mention, how on earth did Cambridge Analytica get access to all that data?

Our clients’ data security is always top of mind for us. Finding insights in customer data is what we do, but we’ve never engaged in scraping data. We have a strict policy of being transparent about what we use and why we use it. In the end, our insights are meant to increase trust between companies and their customers. Our social login tool is a digital handshake that lets the customer say, “hey, here’s some of my data” and the company says “Thanks. We’ll keep it safe and use it to make your life better.” Data insights can be used to send you better offers, recommendations, and tailored content. Wouldn’t you love getting emails that talk about exactly what you’re interested in?

Data & Privacy: Where do we go from here?

Our discussions about customer data in the EU vs. in the US got me thinking about how to help my fellow marketers make sense of what’s going on with data privacy right now. At the moment, I’ve got a bunch of arrows, lines, and scribbles written down on a piece of paper. I’ll be transforming it into something you can use to make decisions and build better privacy practices for your company. Stay tuned — you’ll be the first to know when our data and privacy flow chart is ready.


Appreciation Engine co-founder and CTO Jeff Mitchell having a pint in London.

Co-founder and CTO Jeff enjoys a pint in London.