Data privacy laws are causing B2B marketers to look inward at zero- and first-party data strategies and to revisit more strategic ways to provide great digital experiences for customers.
The topic of data privacy has been a discussion point for some time but came to the forefront with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union in 2018. More recently, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and GDPR compliance in Latin America came into effect. And now Apple and Google are making plays to limit data collection by rolling out new data privacy features in the coming year. For Apple, changes to its latest operating system will go into effect that impact the cross-channel tracking Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). With Google Chrome, new browser privacy laws are continuing to change consent requirements, which means an end to third-party cookies. And federal privacy legislation in the United States is probably not far behind.
Some B2B marketers hear about data privacy laws and initially panic, but these laws aren’t “inherently bad.” Put simply, it means end users have more control over their data. The implications of the new data privacy laws and browser cookie-tracking changes mean the foundational structure for digital ads is rapidly changing.
It’s important to keep in mind that the regulated data is primarily third-party data. Third-party data is the information collected and sold by organizations that have no relationship with the end user. It has often been used for certain types of ad targeting. But there are more “powerful” – more accurate – forms of data in zero-party data and first-party data. Salesforce.com does a nice job of breaking down zero-party data and first-party data:
Zero-party and first-party data are the gold standard – the types of data B2B marketers really want – since they involve the end user willingly sharing information directly with your organization in return for products, services or information from your company. B2B customer relationships are often complex and multifaceted. The more user-generated information you have from your customer, the more tailored a user experience you can provide. Furthermore, zero- and first-party data are becoming very common with the prevalence of mobile devices, as they are driving a new revolution in personalized user experiences. COVID-19 and a lack of in-person sales interactions have also driven this growth in data coming in from your company's various digital channels.
Great, personalized user experiences are exactly what we, as marketers, strive to provide. And those great experiences will result in more customers who are willing to share their information – that zero- and first-party data that are so powerful. So, yes, the privacy laws mean we need to triple check and think differently about the data we have and where it came from/how we are obtaining it – to ensure we are getting and using the information we have responsibly. But, ultimately, these privacy laws will result in stronger, more strategic marketing in reaching end users who have “opted in” for information.
For a more in-depth discussion around zero-/first-/second-/third-party data, listen to my recent podcast discussion with Scott Trobaugh.
Data – which has always been important in marketing but is sometimes overlooked – can be acquired and nurtured in a few ways, including gathering it yourself through digital analytics platforms or reaching out to internal teams in your company, like sales or even product fulfillment. The best place to start is to reevaluate the data you already have and maximize it to provide that great customer experience. Consider the following steps to help establish a strategic data road map:
It’s important to keep in mind that data should be combined with other insights (including feedback from sales/end users) when making marketing decisions and not everything can be tracked. But, when used correctly, data can be used to help enhance end user experiences and can help give marketers visibility into what’s working. As CMO Magazine said, “Deeper insights into customers increases targeting abilities to provide greater accuracy and more personalized customer engagement. This can help to drive smarter marketing, increased growth and better overall user experiences.”
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