Removing Third-Party Data Creates Risks and Opportunities

In our previous blog post (and this one, too!), we shared findings from our research study on how professionals are collecting and using third-party data. Three different segments come out of this as respondents had different feelings about the new changes in third-party data availability. They also had different attitudes based on their age and the size of the organizations they work for.

In a landscape changing so much with new technology and ways to collect personal data, it can affect organizations a lot. With lawmakers taking strides to protect people’s privacy, there’s a growing demand for more personalized and relevant marketing messages. As a result, there are risks and opportunities for organizations of all sizes and types.

Different Organizations, Differing Opinions

After looking at the research about third-party data, we found that organizations feel very differently about using data they collect from customers and third-party sources.

The shift from third-party data (purchased information) to first-party data (business-owned) is happening whether people agree with it or not. We found that respondents who don’t rely heavily on third-party data don’t think this shift will affect them, but the ones who are more reliant on data worry about losing access to the information, which impacts their marketing. Across all segments—Independent, Data-Reliant, and Concerned respondents—many of them worry about the effects on privacy and reputation that third-party data presents, but don’t know what other options they have.

What you and your organization think about third-party data, as well as how much you use it, will definitely affect the decisions you’ll need to make in the future. Here are our tips for what to do:

Plan for the Inevitable

Whether it’s because of new laws and rules or cultural pressures people have about privacy and security, it’s only a matter of time before access to third-party data goes down. 

Every organization using this type of data, regardless of size, needs to plan for the inevitable. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What third-party data is your organization using now? Which activities rely on this data?
  • How can you manage employee expectations around data? Who in your organization is responsible for activities that will be the most affected? Have they thought about the impact of these changes on their work? Have they created a new approach?
  • How much does your organization gather its own information from customers and prospects? Are there ways you can increase that?
  • How can you manage customer expectations around data? If they currently expect highly relevant and personalized messages from you, how will that change? Will they provide you with direct insight into their needs and what they like to replace the third-party data you’re using now?

Your Third-Party Data Action Plan

Since shifting from third-party data to first-party data is a matter of when, not if, we recommend starting with the following steps sooner rather than later so your organization can have a smooth transition:

  1. Review all internal systems that use customer data.
  2. Format data so it’ll be the same for all databases.
  3. Verify all data so that it’s current and relevant.
  4. Create connections between all data sources so that they stay up-to-date and are in sync.

Stay tuned for future blog posts that go into more detail on this data, from data collection, usage and storage to marketing activities, effectiveness and ad targeting. We have the insights, and strategic advice to help you and your organization adapt to this ever-changing landscape.

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