Unlocking optimal value from first-party data

We asked Tim Macmillan, Head of Product at REACH, to share his expert insights on how to leverage first-party data to unlock valuable customer insights, improve targeting and personalisation, and drive growth.

If we’re behind on delivering a first-party data strategy – how do I sell this to my executive?

The easy pitch is that your marketing is going to cost less and it’s going to return more. It’s also coming from the source, so you are in full control of how you capture it, the opt-ins, the control, the transparency that you’re giving back to your consumers for how their data is managed, so that it’s a really high trust environment. 

Your brand’s first-party data is uniquely yours. If you are in a congested marketplace with lots of competitors selling the same product and marketing in the same channels, your own first-party data is a unique asset that can give you a competitive advantage.

How do we get full value from investing in best practice first-party data?

Provide exceptional, personalised experiences to delight customers and increase brand loyalty. First-party data helps businesses understand the path to purchase, close the loop on media attribution and understand ROI on marketing activity. To get the most value from it, use it to target the right customers, with the right offers, using the right channels, by tapping into real customer behaviour data and creating opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell on the fly. You can also optimise your marketing channel mix and creative assets to lower your cost-to-serve and increase return per campaign. Use this data to reengage lapsed customers and understand the personas/segments within your client base to drive product innovation, pricing strategy, marketing plans etc.

What are some of the challenges of implementing a first-party data strategy?

Silos aren’t ideal, whether it’s data in silos that can’t be accessed, or organisational silos that break down communication and create barriers of ownership. If you’ve been around a while, chances are your internal systems weren’t developed with coherent customer data management and value realisation in mind. You might want to look at built-for-purpose solutions, like a good Customer Data Platform (CDP).

Tim Macmillan.

Ok we are keen – where do we start?

Start with executive buy-in and engaging the right stakeholders who are data owners across your business. Agree the value proposition upfront and ensure siloed data ownership isn’t going to be a barrier and then create a data-first strategy and build your roadmaps. Your strategy needs to encompass two elements: capturing first-party data and executing against first-party data. Be wary of tools that are great at one, but make the other really challenging.

Understand your existing data points and data sources and then map all of the touchpoints you have with your customers. Remember we want to deliver relevant experiences at multiple moments in the purchase journey. Then develop a plan and roadmap to create a single view of 
each customer. Ensure you offer value to your customers in exchange for their data and build a trusting relationship.

Isn’t attribution difficult for mass audience channels like letterbox?

Sure, definitely harder than measuring digital clicks but ‘harder to measure’ does not mean the same thing as ‘doesn’t work’. There are inherent pitfalls in standard digital, first-click and last-click attribution models, which disregard channels or activities which led to the click. First-party data can play a key role in true attribution, used in econometric models to understand all of the drivers of a purchase (media and non-media factors). Those dollars you’re putting into measurement projects, could be spent on activations and driving sales. 

To learn more about how REACH can help you, visit www.reach.nz

This article was originally published in the March/April 2023 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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