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Zero- And First-Party Data: The Key to Accurate Customer Targeting

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Collecting customer data is like making a new LinkedIn connection. There are various ways to learn more about a person, whether through voluntary conversation, the kinds of posts they engage with, or from what other people in their network share about them. However, it’s important to note that some of these avenues are more reliable than others. 

The information straight from the source will always be the most accurate. After all, who prefers to hear a second-hand account of the person you’ve been hoping to network with? This is when details tend to get left out or become generalized. Making information less reliable, out-of-date, or even inaccurate.

The same is true with zero-party data. This term was coined by Forrester in 2018 and defines what it means when a customer intentionally and proactively shares information with a brand that improves future omni-channel marketing communications. Zero-party data is most commonly seen through interactive polls that prompt customers to provide personal preferences, such as selecting their favorite television shows and movies once they subscribe to a streaming service. 

It could also be gleaned from profile data or information customers share to improve their experience with a brand, both of which can be strengthened by omni-channel campaigns that encourage users to share more data.

Activate your data to its full potential.

A successful omni-channel marketing strategy begins with activating zero- and first-party data. Learn how by watching the Movable Ink x Forrester webinar, Ask, Don’t Infer: Using First- and Zero-Party Data to Drive Personalization.

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If a brand cannot efficiently capture zero-party data, first-party data will rise to the occasion. First-party data gathers customer behavior, including website activity such as abandoned, browsed, or purchased items. The data collected is later used to target relevant communications that fit the customer’s individual preferences.

Sometimes, a customer won’t respond voluntarily to direct outreach. In this case, the other option is to see if any key information can be gathered based on their most recent engagement. For example, they might browse a certain brand of shoes on their favorite retailer’s site, activating the first-party data. This action prompts the brand to send similar styles of shoes to the customer.

To take it a step further, suppose a customer purchases a dress and shoes. In that case, the first-party data tells the marketer to target a “complete the look” module with matching accessories in their next email or mobile marketing communications. The data is being used to benefit both the brand and the customer, leaving room for increased engagement and ROI. In fact, 62% of marketers believe first-party data influences the highest return of investment of any data type, while 75% cite that this form of data generates the greatest customer insight.

With zero- and first-party data at marketers’ fingertips, they start to become less reliant on third-party data, where the risks of targeting inaccurate or irrelevant information exist.

Wondering how to put zero- and first-party data into action? Here are some effective ways to activate them in your next campaigns:

Polling - Zero-Party Data

Polling is one of the most effective ways to gather zero-party data from customers. It gamifies the campaign while requiring minimal effort from the audience to share their personal preferences. Polls also provide integral information to the brand that helps determine future omni-channel marketing communications. 

The Inkredible Financial brand sent a poll in January asking recipients about their financial goals for the new year. Based on their individual responses, the customers’ future emails provided extensive information focused on their preferred topic. This way, Inkredible Financial ensured their recipients would receive the most relevant messaging aligned with their personal needs.


Behavioral Targeting - First-Party Data

Humans want to feel understood, it’s part of their nature. That’s why brands that focus on personalization to achieve the most 1:1 experience for their customers are the most successful. By connecting to unique individuals, brands build meaningful relationships.

For instance, a customer purchased a white summer blouse at Inkredible Retail. Using first-party data, the brand targeted products to the customer that would make the blouse into a complete outfit. When the customer opened the retailer’s mobile app, a pop-up message displayed for easy navigation so they could continue their online shopping. Not only does this make the browsing experience simpler for the shopper, but it also strengthens their connection with the brand.

The use of zero- and first-party data is essential to creating a successful brand-customer relationship. When implemented, the opportunity to bring the most tailored communications to your customers becomes much greater.

Interested to see how Movable Ink can supercharge your zero- and first-party data into personalized, 1:1 messaging? Request a demo today.

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