How to Upgrade Your Marketing

The third-party data landscape is changing already. In the US, 35 states plus the District of Columbia have introduced or considered nearly 200 consumer privacy bills. What’s driving these changes? Consumers.

Recent research by Axway found that 90% of respondents want to know what type of data businesses have gathered about them, and 42% are “very concerned” about their online data security. Consumers are leading the data privacy revolution, and as a result, the marketing industry as we know it will look different.

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, third-party data is going away. If businesses want to sit back and watch consumer data changes, they will get left behind. Without quality, relevant data, it’s harder to identify and engage prospects, close deals, and have complete visibility into how sales and marketing departments are doing.

Customers want their data treated with respect, and they have high expectations for brands. A Salesforce survey found that 66% of consumers want businesses to understand their unique needs and experiences. And 62% of consumers want businesses to care more about them. Businesses must understand consumers in order to engage them and provide meaningful brand interactions — personalization is the key to doing that effectively.

Relying heavily on third-party data to personalize your marketing can be a recipe for disaster (and lead to declining sales). Fortunately, there’s a straightforward solution to overcome these challenges and changing legislation. Collect your own customer data.

The best way to get started is to assess your data reliance baseline. Ask yourself: How much does your organization rely on third-party data?

We recently conducted a research study to find out how professionals view these changes and how they currently gather and use data. In today’s post, we’ll explore how you can upgrade your marketing in light of these changes.

There’s No Escape From Third-Party Data

Because third-party data will go away eventually (it’s a matter of when, not if), businesses need solutions to shift data practices while still being able to understand and connect with consumers. It’s essential to identify how much third-party data you use so you can see how your marketing will be impacted. Now’s the time to make changes so you can stay ahead of the curve.

Third-party data often comes from cookies, but providers also get data from websites, social media profiles, apps, and surveys with consumer information — all of which comes at a cost. That data includes things like names, email addresses, purchasing behavior, web browsing history, etc. And the companies that collect it are in big business; but they’re not just selling data. Google and Facebook collect massive amounts of consumer data and generate revenue by selling ad space to brands selling products or services.

Third-party data is hugely influential in the marketing sphere. It makes many day-to-day marketing activities possible, including:

  • Programmatic advertising
  • SEO and keyword research
  • Social media advertising
  • Targeting and retargeting ads
  • Audience building and segmentation

If you’re one of the businesses who relies heavily on third-party data for successful marketing, you’re not alone. Marketers across industries and company sizes are in the same boat. Our research found that 42% of marketers say their organizations purchase data from outside sources like Google or Facebook. These days you have two choices: You can fight against rapidly changing data accessibility and legality, or you can go with the flow and rely on your own data instead.

Many Marketing Activities Rely on Third-Party Data

Our research discovered that a substantial percentage of business marketers use marketing activities that rely on third-party data, such as:

  • Social media marketing — 63%
  • Email marketing — 63%
  • Search engine optimization — 56%
  • Programmatic media buying — 29%

After conducting the research, three distinct attitudinal segments emerged: Independent, Data-Reliant and Concerned respondents. We found the Data-Reliant group is more likely than Independent and Concerned marketers to have pursued any of the above marketing activities in 2021, making it extra important for them (and other marketers that relate) to evaluate current data practices.

Data-Reliant respondents are investing in areas where they can start putting a plan in place to collect their own first-party data, as well as being able to follow the full customer journey. The more we as marketers can flesh out our plan to move from first to third-party data, the better we can adjust to the changing market.

Even though Google Chrome has 63% market share, all marketers have seen some type of change in their data because the remaining 27% of the market has already made the jump to cutting out third-party cookies.

Diversify Your Ads for the Best Results

80% of business marketers say their organizations leverage targeted media buys based on data parameters set by organizations like Google and Facebook.

That’s no surprise as those are some of the top platforms. They have been in the data collection business since day one. Have you ever wondered what would happen if they go away? That’s the number one reason why it’s worth diversifying your ads across different platforms and ad networks.

Depending on how you do it, targeted ads often require third-party data to be effective. And the data needed to place a targeted ad to a segment of an organization’s audience needs to come from somewhere.

Ad targeting with first-party data isn’t all that different from ad targeting with third-party data. The main difference is you’re no longer relying on other organizations to collect, organize, and segment the data. That may seem like it requires more effort, but it’s often more reliable, accurate, and valuable.

4 Steps to Gather, Analyze and Secure Your Data

Now’s the time to adapt how you collect and analyze customer data. Even if third-party cookies on Chrome are here until 2024, that change will be here before you know it. Business marketers who plan ahead will find themselves better positioned to continue business as usual when the changes hit. What’s important is that you take action to upgrade your data practices — one step at a time.

Step one, create a plan to start collecting first-party data and how you’re going to implement it.

Step two, audit your existing data. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How is it formatted?
  • Where is it stored?
  • Where does it come from?
  • What data do you need?
  • What data can you live without?

Step three, implement your plan with findings from the audit.

Step four, hire someone — seriously! If you have the budget, hire someone internally to head up the switch to first-party data. Otherwise, find a firm that will partner with you — one that has invested the time, knowledge, and resources into this area. Good news is that we know just the place.

To learn more about the research study, check out our entire executive summary. And to explore the data yourself, check it out here