Unlocking The True Value Of Your First-Party Data

By: Eli Schwarz, Vice President of Data Strategy, Jornaya

While the timeline for the death of third-party cookies may be extended, savvy marketers are still pushing forward to reevaluate the way they leverage customer data, and future-proof their data and marketing strategies. When asked how they would adjust after the “death of the cookie,” more than 60% of marketers said they would shift to relying more heavily on first-party data.

To manage the transition, brands have developed strong first-party data strategies. They’re taking a closer look at how they protect the data on their consumers—perhaps a lead they acquired or a prospective customer that has engaged in the past and now resides in their marketing database. And, marketers are laser focused on accurately resolving consumer identity to foster meaningful relationships and maintain permission to continue to market and communicate with them.

In a lot of cases, however, marketers and brands realize their first-party data strategy is incomplete and provides a narrow view of the consumer. So innovative marketers are taking additional steps with their data strategy to complete the picture of the consumer journey. They’re working to enrich their data attributes and better organize their first-party assets. The outcome powers right-timed outreach and engagement that builds and maintains a permissible relationship with their consumers.

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Enhancing what you have to achieve data-driven marketing

The process of enhancing first-party assets allows marketers to connect data points like name, contact info, or location, with complex consumer behavior. This behavioral data completes the view of the customer by filling in their journey from beginning to end—how they arrived at certain pages or products, and how they interact with your brand.

This data clarifies the intent, personality, and behaviors of the consumer, allowing marketers the best chance of success when it comes to delivering content. For example, it can fill in the time of day a particular person visited a particular page and how many times they’ve revisited. With this information, marketers can take a data-driven approach to create dynamic segmentation strategies that deliver a customer experience tailored to individual behaviors. Thus, achieving true 1:1 or person-based marketing.

This behavioral data helps marketers make the best decisions based on individual consumer actions. A Forrester study suggests that marketers who use these insights improve retention rates, increase customer engagement, and consistently close new business. The investment can also result in nearly 200% return.

Painting a complete picture of the consumer

For marketers who want to start enhancing their first-party data, the first step is to tidy up their own CRM—if a contact is misaligned with an incorrect name, email address, or geographic location, it will be difficult to match attributed behaviors.

Confirming and resolving identity is a critical first step, and it must be done in a way that protects consumer privacy. Identity resolution is the process of linking fractional “identifiers” in order to create a single, unified view of the customer’s identity that lives within your CRM or across your marketing channels. While identity resolution can involve the use of browser information and third-party cookies, identity resolution technology does not need to rely solely on these types of sources.

In fact, anonymously linking and matching consumer identities between marketing databases, as well as appending in behavioral attributes, can take place completely offline/off-site in a way that keeps data siloed and privacy protected. Marketers don’t need cookies to leverage this data. Behavioral data can be stored and linked in an offline database, without any reliance on cookies, mobile device IDs, or browser tracking. This keeps consumer data safe while also preserving valuable marketing insights that can power improved personalization without sacrificing privacy.

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Protecting security while gleaning valuable insights

Beyond third-party cookies, enhancing first-party data requires an ethical partnership. Reconciling the need to personalize the customer journey with the need to preserve privacy is a delicate balance. Vendors who understand this will subscribe to the Golden Rule: treat others’ data the way that we would want our own data treated.

The use of a one-way hash function is a practice that supports the protection of privacy and security for consumer data. In this process, a cryptographic algorithm is applied to consumer data (name, email, address, etc.) in order to convert that data into an indecipherable string of characters that can never be reversed back to the original consumer data. For example, an email address like johnsmith@server.com would be converted into a hash that looks something like this:



The original information becomes indecipherable once it’s been hashed, and the coding can’t be reversed, ensuring compliance and security.

Marketing unlocks more value

Enhancing first-party data with behavioral data and insights creates an explanation of the journey that consumers take to arrive at a particular product or page. And by connecting these behaviors to existing proprietary data, marketers can create a better picture of who they’re talking to and how to approach the customer.

With this information, marketers are able to better engage with their audiences, create enhanced personalization, and organize efforts to optimize success.

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