In 2022 Google Chrome will join Safari and Firefox in phasing out the third-party cookie – a change that’s set to shake up the way many companies personalise their ads and digital marketing campaigns.

But the increasing focus on customer privacy has thrown first-party data into the spotlight. First-party data is a goldmine of customer insights captured with consent, and when combined with marketing automation and machine learning, this data becomes a powerful tool to send hyper-targeted ads and campaigns that have more impact on engagement rates and sales than third-party data ever did. So, how can you make the most of your first-party data?

The rise of the customer data platform

A customer data platform (CDP) is a solution used by marketers to collect customer data and centralise it into a single database. This data is then made available to other marketing solutions to provide a single source the truth and unlock 360-degree visibility of the customer. Adding a layer of machine learning, automation and artificial intelligence to the CDP and funnelling the data into multiple output channels is where the solution really begins to shine. When it comes to data, the more comprehensive, high-quality data you put into your CDP, the more valuable insights you’ll get out. That means collecting data from multiple sources across the business and using it to build a profile on each of your customers or leads. To get full visibility of the customer, combine CRM and services data with order history, browsing data, and insights captured from emails. Next, the CDP will use machine learning to find the most accurate data on each customer and create a single profile linked to a real person, not just a record. Data will be deduplicated if the customer has multiple accounts or has checked out as a guest. If any data is incomplete, for example the customer’s full name may not be in the CRM system, the solution will look for it from another source, such as an email, to fill in the gaps.

Smarter segmentation

In addition to capturing standard data such as contact details, browsing history, abandoned cart data and past orders can be used to identify the customer’s interests and preferences. With artificial intelligence, you can analyse data to identify trends among your customers and make smarter segmentation based on a much bigger pool of data to target groups of people with a specific interest. Data can then be pushed to marketing tools in real-time and into dynamic templates to send the most relevant content to a select group of segmented leads to have the greatest impact, all with minimal input from your marketing team. And with a CDP, you can activate data across multiple channels or target customers where they’re most active with content tailored especially for them. With richer insights on your customers, you can have more meaningful interactions across departments, so even when you’re not directly marketing to them, you can give them an industry-leading experience that will create brand loyalty. For example, machine learning can generate next-best actions at human touch points, combining the personal touch of speaking to a rep with the power and intelligence of technology. Take, for instance, a customer who is speaking to your service team about a faulty item. With 360-degree visibility, the platform can prompt the service rep to not just arrange to repair the item, but to offer the customer a discount on another product they were recently browsing on the website as a gesture of goodwill. To help the system get smarter, the rep can feed back the customer’s response to the offer, creating a continuous feedback loop.

Putting the human touch into marketing

All these advances in technology come back to one thing – remembering that every customer in your database is a person, and leveraging data and insights to get more predictive about what that person might be interested in. Artificial intelligence and automation offer the benefits of being able to roll-out hyper-targeted campaigns and ads at scale across multiple channels. Results from initial proof of concepts have been promising, with significant increases in engagement rates and conversions. CDPs may have a big role to play in the future of marketing, enabling companies to reach out to customers with the right content at the right time without compromising their privacy. Salesforce Customer 360 Audiences is a great solution to create unified customer profiles across all touch points, and Marketing Cloud’s Interaction Studio has the functionality to slice and dice data and create custom segments to push out one-to-one ads and campaigns across multiple channels. Get in touch to find out more about how to make first-party data work for you with a CDP.

Please provide your contact information to continue. Detailed information on the processing of your personal data can be found in our Privacy Policy. (in particular the "How Do We Use It?" Section).

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