First Party Data Marketing: Reaching Prospects in a Cookieless World


Jon Kazarian

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As senior marketers, your teams have relied on the extensive collection of cookie data for a long time. You’ve tracked website visitors, you’ve collected data that allowed you to target the right audiences, and you’ve peeked at what your prospects are looking at when they’re not on your website. But seeing where your prospects are spending time on the internet off of your site will not be available any longer as Google is phasing out third-party cookies on Chrome browsers, moving us closer to a cookieless future.

Google posits that the continued use of third-party cookies directly violates what users are telling them they want Google to do with their private data. They are now going to be using what they refer to as FLoC, which is sort of a “birds of a feather flock together” mentality bucket into which users get placed. This is done in the aggregate and not at the individual level. And marketers are worried. For example, GetApp posits:

  • 41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be their inability to track the right data.
  • 44% of marketers predict increasing their spending by 5% to 25% to reach the same goals as 2021.

Now, Firefox and Safari have already phased out third-party cookies, and since Chrome announced in early 2020 they would follow suit in the next few years, that time is now upon us. Retargeting will be with all first-party data with FLoC, but the cost of client acquisition will rise for many companies. So with traditional targeting channels eroding, it is more important than ever to ensure your demand gen and sales teams are mining and collecting your own first-party data to make up for what is lost by some of these changes. Here are a couple of examples of what you must be doing to shore up the gathering and usage of your own first-party data.

Google Analytics: right from the horse’s mouth

Google Analytics has always had the power to hand you the detailed activity of your website visitors. Mine this data for stories and habits of what your visitors want more and what they tire of. Indeed, the limitation of Google Analytics data is that it can only give you statistics of information once a customer or prospect actually lands on your site. Therefore, you’re limited by your own universe, which only represents a small portion of what you want to know about your clients and your prospects.

Your CRM can hold the key to rich prospect & client activity

Hopefully, you’ve audited your company’s CRM in the past few years and made sure that instrumental data fields are required to be filled out by your sales and CX teams. Now is when the marketing and demand gen teams can mine this data for valuable insights and targeting. The result of this clean, detailed data is a more robust than ever email marketing effort. Email marketing has become more critical than ever now to build lists and segment and create automated customer journeys. With a rich email list, you’ve got a potent tool with which to use for retargeting ads.

The single biggest first-party data gathering is an event

Besides one-at-a-time personal interactions, what is the single most significant activity you can execute to gather declared data? Your event program. Event planners who pressed forward with virtual trade shows and events during the pandemic quickly figured something out that wasn’t readily apparent to the rest of the event world: virtual event data gathered from attendees is robust, targeted, and first-party. It is data that an attendee is giving you willingly to attend your trade show or conference and do all of the things they need for their business and their career: knowledge building, networking with industry peers, and learning about the latest and most excellent tools available to them in their industry.

These event attendees of yours aren’t purchasing a product or service from you - they are buying an experience. They are buying the ability to escape their daily grind for a few hours or a few days to have an experiential journey in their industry space. In this way, your event attendees become a community -- a group of people with shared experiences, desires, and needs, coming together to experience this as a group. Your virtual events are galvanizing this community memorably and emotionally, out of which fans and evangelists of your product or your service are emerging, not to mention fans and evangelists of your exhibitor’s products or services. These evangelists are promoting you - and you didn’t even have to ask. This community - led growth of your business is another effective outcome of your virtual event.

Your clients and prospects are gaining valuable relationships and experiences. In exchange, they are providing you with what is becoming known as declared data, a new buzzword in marketing circles.

Declared data from events blows third party cookies out of the water

Events give you the ability to gather declared data in bulk from your customers and prospects.
People coming to events are happy to give you their own first-party data in exchange for an experiential trade show or conference. And although there have been rumblings about the state of events given COVID, virtual and hybrid events have grown and are stated to be here for the long run. For example, according to a survey by Statista, approximately 68% of B2B marketers in the US shifted from in-person trade show events to webinars during 2020.

The criticality of using the right event management platform

Because of all of this rich data you gather when you put on an event, you will need to ensure you are housing it in the right way so that it can be leveraged for future touchpoints with your clients and prospects. Be sure to use an event planning platform with a solid tie-in to your CRM so that this data can be exported and used in retargeting ads and robust email marketing campaigns by your demand gen teams. If you don’t pull this valuable event data into your go-to Martech tools, you will have disparate tools possessing valuable data that ought to be married to the other valuable first-party data you’ve been gathering. What a shame!

Pull together and leverage your first-party data for successful marketing efforts

With a healthy mixture of all of the valuable first-party data you’ve been able to gather, you stand a better chance of not being phased by the demise of the third-party cookie. You’re going to be leveraging data you’ve collected by genuine, direct interactions with prospects and clients who have willingly given you data about themselves to be a part of your community-led initiatives. Data that is no longer third-party but rather first-party. Real, tangible, census-level, empirical data that is all yours. Leverage this data correctly with email and retargeting campaigns, and you will find yourself having productive conversations -- and hopefully gaining clients -- in a meaningful way.

Learn more about Accelevents’ robust event management platform's rich event data

Accelevents is an all-in-one event management platform that empowers you to expand your reach, engage your audience, create an evergreen community, and drive sustainable organizational growth. Schedule a demo with us today!

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