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Customer-First Data – Relationships that are Built, Not Bought

With third-party data on the way out  – marketers are shifting focus to a more customer-centric approach. This may seem like a negative for digital marketers, however moving away from this antiquated form of marketing and instead building meaningful relationships with prospective customers is likely to prove much more lucrative. Moving to a position to provide customers with relevant products and services could end up more targeted than targeted ads.

What is customer-first data?

Gone are the days when first and third-person referred only to the point of view of a narrative – in third-person Yoda speaks. In today’s innovative world, this now refers to the ways in which customer information is sourced. This can include information such as contact details, products they’re interested in and how they’ve interacted with your brand in the past.

So what are the different ways marketers can gain this information and which is most successful?

Zero-party data

Zero-party data is a relatively new term coined to represent data that a customer willingly provides to a brand, such as their name and contact details.

First-party data

First-party data refers to information gathered by companies as a result of behaviors the customer has displayed on their owned assets, such as products the customer has browsed on their website or links they’ve clicked on in an email.

Second-party data

Second-party data is that ol’ chestnut that leaves many people with a sour taste in their mouth – when a customer interacts with a company which then sells their information on to other companies. At some point in their interaction, the customer has agreed to allow this but may not necessarily be aware of it (often in the form of T&Cs that are agreed to but left unread).

Third-party data

Historically, a favoured approach by marketers but possibly a little creepy for customers; third-party data refers to customer information that’s collected and used for targeted advertising. For example, a 29 year old woman searches for gift ideas for her sister’s baby shower – suddenly Facebook assumes she’s pregnant and is targeting her with products for increasing her milk supply. Brands receive this information by using cookies that track users behaviour across the web.

Each way of collecting a prospective customer’s data will likely show some results, however tailoring a marketing approach to suit a specific person based on information sourced in an ethical way is more likely to build trust and lead to a stronger relationship.

What there is to learn

Zero-party data is obviously good to have – contact details allow you to communicate with prospective customers and in many cases, without it you won’t be in a position to gain first-party data which is where the real treasure trove sits. By understanding how your customer interacts with your brand you can learn some key facts about their behaviour such as the products they’re most interested in, at which step of the customer journey they opt out of making a purchase, and which facets of email communications they interact with the most. From here you can personalise how you market to them.

Furthermore, by collecting first-party data you can start determining trends about the performance of your website and the products and services you offer. Some key indicators to look out for are:

  • Which channels are performing well and which aren’t
  • Is the main traffic to your site from repeat or unique visitors?
  • Are users primarily reaching your site from their mobile devices or desktops?
  • How long are customers spending on your site and on which pages?
  • Are there any commonalities with the pages that the majority of your customers are exiting your site from?
  • Are there particular products and services that customers are regularly looking at but are not converting to a purchase (browse abandonment)?
  • Are there particular products and services that customers are regularly adding to their cart but not finalizing the purchase (cart abandonment)?

What to do with these learnings

As you can see, there is a multitude of information that becomes available when analyzing how your customers interact with your site. So, what should you be doing with all this data?

As with any beneficial data analysis, the next step is interpreting the results. To understand what the drivers are behind your customers behaving in this way and if needed, what you can do to change this behaviour. For example; If you’re noticing that the amount of time customers spend on your site when accessing from a mobile device is considerably less than those that access via a desktop, perhaps the site needs to be optimised for mobile users. Or perhaps one form of content is keeping customers on your site for longer so you should look at increasing the amount of time and resources your company puts into producing that content.

It’s important not to forget the owned assets outside of your website – collecting first-party data from email and SMS campaigns can provide copious amounts of relevant and helpful information. Information such as which marketing campaigns are performing well and which are missing the mark, how much revenue can be attributed to which campaigns and whether SMS or email is gaining the most engagement.

The valuable insights that can be gained from collecting customer-first data are endless and all of this information is within reach. Partner with the experienced team of digital marketers at Impressive and start turning this data into revenue.

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