Customer-driven digital marketing: Focus on measurable dimensions of customer-centricity in a cookie-free world


The Google announcement to eliminate third-party cookies in 2023 is a wake-up call for marketers. But this is not the only initiative that affects ROI and revenue generation through performance marketing campaigns.

Mobile device identifiers, privacy protection regulations and walled gardens will impact marketing campaigns as well. Today, up to 50% of web traffic lacks third-party cookies, yet performance marketing is still going strong. Chrome dominates, but since 2019, Adform has provided first-party ID solutions for performance marketers, allowing the identification of users in Firefox and Safari. ID providers work jointly on use cases with “data clean room” providers. A data clean room is software that enables advertisers and brands to match data on a user level without sharing any personally identifiable information (PII) or raw data with one another. Marketers need to be aware that this impacts marketing performance KPIs.

Create value through customer-driven customization

Primary data has been and always will be the preferred option for marketers, but it’s time to break free of the limited thinking of the past. Efficient and successful marketing campaigns are not limited to newsletters. In fact, newsletter fatigue is omnipresent, and research shows that Gen Z is not interested in this kind of communication. Now is the time to bring the concept of hyper customization to life.

Personalization and customization are often used interchangeably. But personalization relies on data points collected by the company and reused to increase relevancy of ads. In contrast, the customers themselves provide the information for customization. They share their preferences, and marketing campaigns feature corresponding content. Moving into an era of first-party data marketing requires the collection of data and preferences from all channels in one single system. As CMOs face the “cookie challenge” that will impact performance marketing, they must shift focus to true customization.

To create true value through dialogue with customers, CMOs must carefully revisit their customization strategies. The data required for customization comes from multiple sources, including sales. Actual experiences, qualitative and quantitative insights, real time analytics and customer service data are the holy grail.

AI-powered persona-based and account-based algorithms enrich this diverse set of information. Intelligent marketing campaign design and marketing platforms allow for truly customized content that can be automatically created and shared with the customer. This includes re-targeting to close the purchasing process, using reinforcement tools or recommendations that map the actual and behavioral data.

Develop a customization strategy with data and analytics leaders

Getting to this point requires a detailed customization strategy that syncs all touchpoints and marketing campaigns for a unique and compelling customer experience. First-party data is essential to gain an accurate measurement of defined KPIs and campaign performance. According to a 2021 study, 88% of marketers state that they are making collecting first-party data a priority. The required data collecting processes and consent requirements must be in place, as this data will connect automation platforms, advertisers and publishers.

Moving beyond the basics requires a robust data strategy that clearly states what data is captured initially in a customer interaction, as well as what other data is necessary to improve the creation of customized content. Turning to a first-party, data-led, multichannel marketing strategy requires marketers to know how to customize content with the help of marketing technology and innovation. Marketers must create a continuum of feedback and analysis to improve and maximize use of the data to maintain the trust and loyalty of the customer. A positive customer experience today is the most important competitive differentiator.

Successful CMOs work with data and analytics leaders to clarify desired business outcomes, optimal use cases and relevant technology investments. Customers demand transparency about the use of their personal information, and they will grow to expect full control and ownership of their personal data. The data strategy must reflect on self-sovereign identity models and allow users to provide proof of their identity and their claims. Customers will pre-program the permission to use data, including granting usage for analytics. The strategy should contain use cases involving data to increase customization and engagement at every touchpoint to ensure that trust is the guiding principle.

Customers are only willing to share their data with companies that reinvent the customer experience and treat them with respect and fairness. The strategy should focus explicitly on assurances to customers about how their personal data will be used and protected and provide proof through actions. It should explore how data insights can create a competitive advantage, open new market opportunities, impact brand purpose, tie back into the supply chain and impact sustainability objectives.





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