• Scott McKinley

Introducing Truth{set}: The World’s First Independent Data Quality Service

Throughout my 25 year career, one thing has become painfully obvious: as marketers have continued to migrate to data-driven marketing for its promises of precision and accountability, a new problem has arisen: is the data accurate? The quality of person-level data can make the difference between reaching your customers efficiently or irritating consumers, achieving positive ROI or wasting your money, spotting potential fraud, and empowering other vital business functions. 


The sheer amount of data that is accessible to companies today has created a wild west marketplace where buyers and sellers are trading enormous amounts of data, focusing on scale and price. Quality has been a distant third in consideration, not because it doesn’t matter (it does!) but because there hasn’t been a way to separate the good from the not-so-good. This lack of transparency ultimately hurts everybody involved, slows sales cycles, undermines trust, and results in sub-optimal business outcomes across the board. We’ve all read the articles and studies, seen the figures and dollar signs in loss, but there hasn’t yet been an available solution. 


In an effort to fix this problem, I’m excited to announce - Truthset - a first of its kind data quality service that will give marketers and data-driven business leaders an edge to make more informed decisions and achieve better results. 

My first glimpse at the power of data came during my time at Nielsen. For those who don’t know, Nielsen pioneered the use of high-quality data in the 50s and 60s to build a transparent market for television advertising. Before this, buyers and sellers of TV ads were left to speculate on audiences and program interests. This lack of a standard metric ultimately hurt both sides when a highly watched program was undervalued by a seller and a lesser watched show was overpriced by a buyer. By acting as an independent arbiter of truth, Nielsen gave confidence to both sides that they were getting a fair deal, and that customers were seeing the right ads for their specific interests. 


Having worked in data buying and selling at Nielsen and other companies, I noticed that the same problem that hindered the early TV advertising market is plaguing the market for data today. While I may not be the first person to realize there’s a massive need for measuring the accuracy of data, nobody has done so in an independent, unconflicted manner. Data-driven marketing has created a lucrative but somewhat perverse incentive to optimize toward scale and price, usually at the expense of accuracy. And the companies that sell data can’t be responsible for measuring the accuracy of data they are creating, aggregating, and having their sales teams push to market. First-party data, straight from the source, also needs a check, as people move, buy new devices, and experience changes in their lives.


This realization led me to the idea that if we could create a truly independent data quality service that provides a standardized score for the consumer data that companies are trading, that would dramatically improve transparency and trust in the data ecosystem, allow data providers to feature the accuracy of their data as measured by an independent entity, and increase value for all stakeholders in the ecosystem. 

This quest to bring transparency and trust to the marketplace for data led me to Tom, Vivek, and super{set}. I have known Tom and Vivek for close to 20 years when I was running my first startup and they were starting Rapt, before eventually going on to create Krux. With a few minutes of pitching them on the concept of Truthset there was immediate alignment. At Krux, they dealt with the problem of data quality with every one of their clients, so the Truthset concept was a no-brainer. So it made perfect sense to team up with super{set}, their newly formed venture studio designed to help scale data-driven startups. The infrastructure and leverage provided by super{set} has allowed us to grow at an incredible pace, and focus maniacally on our product and go-to-market strategy. 

If there is one thing we would like to accomplish with Truthset it will be to help create a level playing field between buyers and sellers and foster trust and transparency in the data marketplace. I am proud to say that we already have half a dozen data partners and a healthy stable of top tier marketers who are eager to start using Truth{set} quality scored data quality to improve their marketing efforts. We look forward to bringing you along in our journey to provide truth and certainty to an increasingly important - and chaotic - data marketplace. 

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