We all know the drill: Every few years, a new medium pops up, and it's met with "Shiny Object Syndrome." We flock toward it and work out inefficiently how to use it best. We saw this with the rise of digital marketing in the late 2000s. And now, 20 years later, we're discussing first-party data — and how it has become the new fuel that's been driving the most innovative, customer-obsessed brands.
But let's be honest, "because you have to" doesn't get companies very far in times of transformation. We know from personal experience that when there isn't a sense of purpose attached to our actions, typically, whatever momentum has been built will quickly evaporate. That being said, understanding why first-party data is so vital for maximizing your marketing transformation is essential before diving too deeply into implementation.
Take a look at any of the successful organizations across all sectors — Amazon, Netflix, Stitch Fix, Unicef, and more. Their greatest asset is the data they collect about their customers. These first-party data "natives" have had this mindset for decades, and they've surged to the top because of it.
So, why are we here? Simple: We need to ensure the customer experience is up-to-date and cost-effective, but also comprehend the whole buying journey predictively and perceptively. We need our customers to trust that what we're giving them is relevant, accurate and without question coming directly from us — not a third-party data server. Plus, we have to stay ahead of our competition and smartly fuel AI or machine learning algorithms with additional data. It is the perfect storm of circumstances sending us in this direction.
At first, thought, transitioning away from third-party data might feel like running into walls at every turn — but it doesn't have to be that way! For those businesses seeking ways to maintain their personalization advantages, first-party data is actually the key solution here. You can still deliver personalized messaging and experiences to your customers by using strategies that focus on first-party data, like the"scarcity/urgency" or customer obsession mindsets.
It's almost become an industry requirement for companies to be "customer-obsessed." Market leaders are setting the bar higher and higher every day with personalized, predictive, assistive, and seamless experiences setting the norm for consumer expectation — so it only makes sense for us to follow suit!
That being said, the transition won't be smooth. The loss of third-party cookies could spell disaster for marketers. Budgets are expected to shrink, return-on-advertspending will dip, and top-line revenue is expected to decrease.
However, the solution is easy: First-party data. Ramp up your audience insights through website cookies, form submissions, CRM system, and customer service center information to start building out a more complete picture of your consumer. This will be the foundation of your customer data platform (CDP) and will bring you up to speed with the most innovative marketers out there.
The proof is in the pudding: After switching to a first-party data strategy using CDPs, various businesses have seen an increase of up to 2.9x revenue uplift and close to 1.5x increase in cost savings. Now, those are some winning numbers! The takeaway? Trust that first-party data isn't the next-best alternative — it's the fuel that's been driving the most innovative and customer-minded brands for the last two decades. Activate your data to drive value and ultimately create a real business advantage that can take you toward the top.
Sure, the cookieless future seems daunting now — but first-party data is more than just a lifeline. With the right strategy and mindset in place, it's your ticket to success. So play to win, not to avoid losing!