Digital Marketing Crash Course: Making the Most of Your First-Party Data

July 22, 2019 by MediaCrossing Team

Everyone in marketing or advertising talks about customer data. Everyone knows it's important. That said, not everyone knows how to actually get it or use it! There’s a lot more to customer data than just reviewing your CRM or your website analytics. Apart from the challenging tasks of collecting and analyzing all that data, the key is knowing how to use it to improve your campaigns. Do you know how to put your customer first-party data to work?

What is customer data, and where does it come from?

There is so much data out there these days, and it comes from so many sources. First-party data is the most important data for any marketer, and that’s because it’s your organization’s own data about its own customers.

First party data is critical to personalization in digital marketing

The data comes from systems that your business or organization owns or leases, including your website(s), mobile app(s), customer relationship management (CRM), and purchase/loyalty-program databases. Examples would be data from your Google Analytics reports, data from your marketing platforms like HubSpot or Marketo, and your email lists from platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact. Data within your customer database, whether that’s Salesforce, Zoho or something else, or your ecommerce platform, like Shopify or Magento, is also incredibly valuable. All of these will deliver insights into how your customers behave, what they’re interested in and what these data points can do for your digital efforts.

These represent a few of major sources of first-party data for most entities. Other sources include social data, which you’d get from your organization’s social media pages and campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other platforms.

How do recent regulatory changes come into play with respect to data?

An organization’s own customer data has always been important for retaining, upselling and cross-selling current customers. It’s also incredibly useful to help marketers gain an understanding of customers based on their past purchases. This can help design strategies for campaigns that aim to target and win new audiences with similar attributes and behaviors.

Customer data is essential to personalized digital marketing.

Once upon a time, brands would – without a second thought – augment their own data with third-party data to both flesh out their existing customer profiles and to target look alike audiences all over the internet. However, with recent data regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act, use of third-party data is becoming even more and more limited. While in the best interest of consumers, these regulations demand that data is only collected with express consent, which has reduced the amount of data to which marketers have access – although it may have improved data quality. That said, these regulations have made first-party data more valuable and treasured than ever before. (At the same time, brands must also be strictly compliant with these new regulations, and those collecting data may want to work with a partner agency or consider adding a data protection officer to the team to ensure they’re adhering to the rules.)

OK, so now that I get what first-party data is, how (and why) do I need to activate it?

Your first-party data may be the key to campaigns that perform both better and more efficiently! There are two main uses for first-party data in marketing. They are:

  • Retargeting: Leverage your data for the purpose of retargeting users who have previously interacted with your brand(s), whether on your website, via search, with a display ad, or in some other way in the digital world.
  • Modeling Audiences: Model first-party data to scale targeting initiatives and find users who are similar to both your past and current customers.

How can MediaCrossing help you activate data?

This is what we do! We love data and helping clients put their own data to work for them to drive better business outcomes.

  Here are a few of the ways we can help:

  • Activate Site Data: We can help you by implementing pixels. That means you’ll have the ability to collect data across sites to track visitors and users who are taking certain actions in order to retarget those users across campaigns and build modeled audiences off of those site audiences.
  • Activate Mobile App Data: We’ll implement SDK integration with our mobile marketing analytics partner. That will give us the ability to collect data across apps to track app visitors and users who are taking actions in order to retarget those users across campaigns and build modeled audiences off of those app audiences.
  • Activate Social Data: With data from your owned social pages, we’ll run social campaigns targeted to fans of your pages.
  • Activate Email Lists and/or CRM Data: We can convert email lists to cookies/mobile IDs to help you retarget those users across campaigns and build modeled audiences off of those past customers.

OK, that's the basic activation. How can we help you step up your game?

There’s so much we can do with your first-party data to help you engage your audience better, gaining new customers and building loyalty among the customers you already have. 

For starters, we can help you segment your customer list to:

  • Understand the unique characteristics of certain customer groups or buyers of certain products. You may find that, to your surprise, the people shopping for muscle cars are middle-aged women, and not the 25-year-old men you suspected. At the same time, you may also learn that body builders are more likely to buy your all-beef dog treats than dog owners are. (That’s a true story.)  In either scenario, knowing the facts would help you tailor both your campaign creative and your media strategy appropriately.
  • Know the best products to drive effective cross-selling tactics for each segment. For example, customers who love your running shoes may be more likely to buy backpacks or shorts. Customers who bought a frying pan may be easily sold on a new spatula or cookbook. The data will tell you which products to market to each segment!
  • Deliver personalized messaging by customer segment. Again, understanding who your audience is helps deliver messages that are relevant to them. Runners may appreciate an ad that touts the performance features of your sneakers. Non-athletes might respond better to creative that shows the sneakers paired with a trendy skirt or jeans. By the same token, offering a discount family meal at the drive through is the perfect message to deliver to a working mom’s mobile as she’s leaving the office for the day. A teen would be less like to respond to that – but more likely to respond to an offer for a free small drink with a Saturday lunch order. The right image and offer can make all the difference – but without data, you’ll never know which audience will respond to which ad!

At MediaCrossing, we’re here to help you make sense of customer data – and to help you activate it in the ways that will be most beneficial to your organization. Talk to us! We’ll work with you to figure out what you have, how to use it to drive amazing results, and how to collect even more useful data effectively and compliantly. Schedule a consultation today.

Filed Under: digital advertising, Blog, crm data, customer data, data-driven marketing, programmatic advertising, first-party data, email marketing, marketing, Programmatic

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