The mathematician and data science entrepreneur Clive Humby coined the phrase, “Data is the new oil,” but it took a marketer to really put that statement into a context we can all understand. Marketing expert, Michael Palmer, wrote in a blog expanding on Humby’s quote, “Data is just like crude. It’s valuable, but if unrefined, it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc., to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.”
Are You Drowning in Customer Data?
Generally speaking, marketers don’t have a problem acquiring data. It flows into the marketing department from multiple customer touch points. In fact, marketers are more likely to drown in data than fear it ever running dry.
With so much data stored across multiple MarTech silos, it’s easy for marketers to overlook the value of data and let opportunities degrade in vast pools of waste information.
Learning to Swim in Data
The first step towards maximizing your marketing opportunity through better use of data is learning how to identify the different types of data coming into your organization.
Understanding what types of data are available to your marketing department will not only help you better build your strategy. It will also help you stay compliant with the various marketing regulations and laws that keep us marketers legal.
Zero-party data is data your customers intentionally and proactively share with your brand. Zero-party data can only be collected after an individual has registered their interest in an organization via a registration, email subscription, or app activation (see first-party data below). Examples of zero-party data might include preference center data, purchase intent, and personal context data collected from online forms and surveys.
Zero-party data is a great strategy to segment your lists according to actionable data provided directly by your customers. It also makes your campaigns appear less “creepy” because your clients will understand precisely where the data that influences your messages came from.
First-party data is collected directly by the marketer from interactions your customer has across the various channels they own. Examples of first-party data include email addresses, purchase history, support history, email engagement, and website activity. First-party data offers your organization a competitive advantage because it is unique and is owned by your company.
Some marketers might complain that they never have access to enough first-party data to make it worthwhile. However, as marketers, it’s our responsibility to tailor our campaigns to our prospects’ and customers’ needs. Every marketing touchpoint creates relationship-building data — so dig deep in your email marketing software, CRM system, and analytics tools to find the data you need to build your strategy.
Second-party data is first-party data that has been collected, packaged, and sold by a trusted marketing partner. This doesn’t give you carte blanche to buy email marketing lists from dubious contacts on LinkedIn. Second-party data should only be shared by trusted organizations with extra special care taken regarding permission statements so that customers understand how the data is used and all collection is compliant with local and global data privacy regulations and laws.
Zero, first and second-party data all require explicit consent from the individuals you are collecting data from to collect, store, transfer, market to, and otherwise exploit that information. This isn’t a “nice to have” or “optional” request. Without consent, you place your marketing organization under extreme legal and financial risk (and no — it’s not worth the risk).
Third-party data is a little different. This data can be collected, aggregated, and shared from single or multiple sources. This data doesn’t always require a direct relationship with the customer and can include more indirect information like weather data, survey responses, demographic information, or aggregate browsing activities.
If this third-party data is not connected to an individual or organization, there is no requirement for consent. Third-party data is beneficial when adding a little informed guesswork to your marketing activities. For example, if you know a particular customer demographic is likely to make a purchase when the sun is shining, your guesswork turns into a legitimate science.
Managing All This Data
With so much data coming in from so many angles, things can get messy quickly if it isn’t managed correctly. So you’ll need to create an environment where all your data can be stored, updated, and, when necessary, removed as quickly as possible. This creates a single view of the truth and provides a stable environment for all of your other MarTech platforms to pull their data.
Having a single view of the truth enables marketers to always send the right message to the right person at the right time. It also prevents marketers from sending campaigns to clients that have opted out of receiving your messages — reducing waste and preventing you from breaching numerous privacy regulations.
Creating all the integrations between the various MarTech platforms in your organization can be daunting. Still, any investment in building a seamless environment will be paid back in terms of efficiency and campaign optimization.
To learn more about how the marketing experts at emfluence can help you identify, manage, and exploit your data more efficiently and effectively, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.