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Understanding the Power of Zero- and First-Party Data

Understanding the Power of Zero- and First-Party Data
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A confluence of events has changed the way digital marketers will create successful marketing campaigns in the future. It started with the European Union’s landmark GDPR regulation, which pushed data privacy into the popular imagination, and continued as tech companies conceded to consumer demand for more control over how personal data is collected, bought, and utilized. Ultimately these moves signal a retreat from 3rd-party data sources and toward more valuable first- and zero-party data.

What will make the transition to a zero- and first-party data strategy difficult, especially for brands just starting to rethink their plan, is the vast number of marketers and companies competing for consumer data. Zero-party data requires people to volunteer specific information to marketers through surveys, polls, and any other way digital marketers can entice their customers to submit more data. On the other hand, first-party data is information collected on a company’s website or mobile app such as the items a consumer checks out, what content they interact with, and what they watch either on their desktop or mobile device. 

Both data sources require creative content to collect and an organized system–such as a customer data platform–to collect and understand. In the future, personalization will sit at the intersection of zero- and first-party data, and brands that blend creativity and data organization can deliver more meaningful 1:1 communications, ultimately driving revenue and delivering more value.

Time to Get Creative

Because many brands are behind the eight-ball on collecting zero- and first-party data, consumers could start seeing an exponential rise in emails and mobile notifications requesting people to fill out surveys, polls, and other ways marketers directly collect data. Consumers already receive 63 mobile notifications a day and potentially hundreds of marketing emails. With that number possibly increasing, fatigue could play a factor and opt-outs may rise dramatically. 

That won’t stop the best brands from creating and deploying strategic data-collection campaigns that focus on the quality of marketing message more than quantity (though if done correctly and personalized to each individual, quantity might not be the worst thing either). Like any email or mobile marketing campaign, the most prepared, creative, and strategic marketers will succeed, no matter how many emails or notifications they’re competing against. 

To collect more zero- and first-party data, brands will need to offer real value for customers in exchange for more form fills, survey answers, or poll clicks. That could mean sale offers, but it could also mean content relevant to their needs and free in exchange for a little more information. 

Let’s say you’re a marketer at an outdoor store heading into winter and interested in the cold-weather activities that are most important to your customers. You could create a poll asking which sports–skiing, ice fishing, snowboarding, hockey–they’re most likely to participate in once the temperature drops. To incentivize answers, each poll question could also include pieces of content about which area mountains are best for snowboarding, how to skate better on the rink, the best local fishing holes, etc. Value isn’t necessarily a 10% discount, but consumers are much more willing to offer information for something that will benefit them.

Bring All Your Data Together

With an influx of customer data, marketers will need to organize everything in one platform to build a unified view of each individual consumer. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are one of the best ways to manage data coming in from multiple different platforms, making future digital marketing strategies more efficient to build and easier to execute. 

As Daniel Newsman writes in Forbes, “your CDP can’t just be a receptacle for your data. It needs to be a  living, breathing part of your business strategy.” Like plants, CDPs need basic maintenance to grow and fully develop, but putting in the work to ensure data accuracy and organization can lead to advanced, effective personalization campaigns. 

Even now, marketers can use CDPs to better understand the customer journey, understand pain points in the buying process, and link data to personalization software. In essence, they are the one source of truth for customer data and able to integrate into almost any part of your tech stack. Movable Ink has spent the past decade building relationships with our CDP partners, which in turn has helped our customers create faster and market better. 

The future of marketing has always been data, but now that third-party sources are dwindling and more consumers are fighting for control of their data, it’s time to work smarter. The next two years will be a turning point in how marketers collect data and build personalization campaigns. Are you ready for the evolution in zero- and first-party data?

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