What Consumer Shifts in Data Ownership and Brand Engagement Mean for Marketers

Data privacy has become one of the main topics of conversation within the marketing industry. With constant changes to data privacy coming to fruition every day, the demise of the third-party cookie very close on the horizon, and an ever–increasing call for more transparency from brands, marketing trends are evolving at a challenging pace.

Looking to the prospect of 2023 and beyond, we are seeing customers call for ownership of their digital data more than ever before. Additionally, there’s now a revolution of the approach to the consumer experience, especially with the whole new world that is the metaverse reshaping UX and engagement as we know it. But how will creating a world of digital-based customer experience impact data privacy laws and strategies? How can marketing teams prepare for the impending changes on the horizon, and what strategies will help future-ready methods for years to come?

Zero-Party CDPs for the Win

When news broke that the reign of the third-party cookie was coming to an end, the majority of marketers’ initial response was to panic. However, the sunsetting of the third-party cookie doesn’t have to be a detriment to success. Instead, marketers should see it as an opportunity for brands and marketing teams to collect, aggregate, and leverage consumer data within their own in-house CDPs, and on their customer’s terms.

While it may seem daunting, the path forward is through zero-party data collection and housing of said data in company-owned CDPs, which will enrich marketing strategies and consumer engagement tenfold. The basic principle is to simply request data directly from consumers and receive their explicit permission to not only have it, but to use it. Hot on the heels of the last goodbye from the third-party cookie are substantial changes in data privacy laws and policies that will enable the modern consumer to have full rights to their digital data property, allowing consumers to control when and where it can be used and who can use it.

At first glance, this change may seem like a limitation, but in reality, it’s a blessing. A highly engaged customer requesting communications and information from your brand is far more valuable to the bottom line than a hundred potential customers with no engagement history. While there is always the need to gain and retain more customers, building relationships and establishing loyalty with customers in such a way that they allow—and even ask—your brand to market to them will result in higher ROI and maximized lifetime value. Zero-party and in-house data collection methodologies are changing the route to modern marketing success.

Marketers, It’s Time for a Goal Reset

It’s established that the data privacy laws of tomorrow will give consumers full control over their digital data property. But how to ensure that customers will willingly share the rights to their data privacy with your brand? The answer is simple: It’s time to reset goals.

The key to zero-party data collection and utilization is developing ways to let audiences and consumers tell your brand, where their interests lie and what types of content and information they want. This not only gives the modern consumer control over the digital property that they are calling for, it also allows brands to aggregate content and messaging in a more personalized way.

Consumers want transparency from marketing, yes, but even more than that, consumers want personalization on a level that makes them feel understood by brands. With that in mind, it’s time to move away from the idea of getting marketing messaging out to the entire world and refocus brand efforts on engaging the right customers, at the time they need it most.

The best way to accomplish this mutually beneficial relationship is to fully understand the wants and needs of your consumer and where they spend the majority of their time in the digital world. Once the audience is understood, the best place to reach them has been identified, and the type of content that engages them is known, it is time to determine what you can do to help them—yes, help them.

More than ever, marketing needs to hinge on engaging consumers with helpful information, and helping customers achieve success. Modern consumers do not want to be inundated with troves of information that they cannot relate to. They want to come across information and products that are useful to them, when and where they need them the most.

The most agile publishing and media brands have not only perfected their zero-party data strategy through personalized engagements but have included audiences in that process, through leveraging audience data to create highly personalized experiences that lean heavily into context.

Marketing teams need to set their sights on getting educational and helpful content in front of their target consumers in a way that resonates with the consumers. Brands that are able to pivot their strategies to meet this need will set themselves up for success when the day comes for these new policies to take effect. Fortunately, savvy brands can future-proof their success through the sustained loyalty of modern consumers, no matter what changes lie ahead for data privacy practices.

Jennifer Choo is director of marketing at Theorem, where she leads efforts in strategizing and implementing innovative in-house marketing solutions to drive brand awareness and new business. With 12-plus years of digital marketing industry experience working with a variety of brands across many sectors, including research and development, bioscience, manufacturing, product design and development, and more, Choo brings a wealth of knowledge and a never-ending passion for learning about the latest and greatest in digital marketing.

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