Only Way to Survive Cookie Apocalypse: “Owned-Data-First Strategy” & Engagement Design


Demise of the 3rd party cookies is around the corner and not only the cookies, but also a very key identity mechanism on digital is about to vanish soon. So, it would be very hard for marketers & publishers to segment audiences and bring relevant messages & content in front of the right audience. Vice versa, life would not be very easy for the consumer as well, as they’ll be mostly exposed to an irrelevant bombardment of messages, especially in the short term, as a result of their digital behaviors getting masked if they do not approve and share their behavior with brands relevant to them.

So, a shift into a “owned-data-first strategy” with 1st party data in center must be prioritized on top of “other peoples’ data strategy” by all organizations, which topped most marketing & advertising executives’ agenda until now. When first party data is concerned, naturally this would not only be the demographics, emails, GSM numbers, sales transactions, etc., a.k.a Known Data, but also behavioral signals collected based on 1st party cookies/identifiers, a.k.a Anonymous Data.

In order to employ such strategies, business models will be in question: publishers need to seriously consider switching into “subscription based” business models after solving their ID crisis and marketers will need to start investing into building their own identity mechanisms and get synced with multiple industry ID consortiums.

Even though you are able to mastermind this new roadmap, you’d definitely need to create meaningful and continuous engagements with the target audience. As attention spans of consumers are lower than even goldfish, brands may only avoid losing customers to a “nearby” competition by only staying relevant in messages & offers. Hence, “engagement design” is the crucial ingredient for all marketing activities and thus the content that is created by either the publisher or the brand must worth signing up for the customer or worth interacting. (Check “Still Active” Trend from 2020 – All Brands Shall Be Publishers -> https://labrys.global/5-customer-experience-marketing-trends-for-2020/). In order to stay sharp focused on this vision, any brand and/or publisher must use data/signals/behaviors to articulate on their defined persona’s needs & wants. If there is no meaningful engagement sourced by you, then keep in mind that you’re non-existent as a brand in the perception of the consumer.


“Liquid” Customer Truth

The golden record of a customer is probably one of the most valuable assets for a company. All organizations had invested millions until now to keep it intact, up-to-date and true. Now is the time to make that single source of customer truth more liquid, i.e. organizations shall not only keep and save that in a secure place behind the firewall but also must invest in technologies and processes to collect and enrich that data with various digital signals, as well as be able to use & activate that data in many different online and offline channels in order to personalize and optimize experiences.

For example, this “liquid customer truth” would enable advertising teams to suppress ads and optimize spend if there is any customer complaint in the customer service department, or a salesperson would be able to see the number of engagements created by the prospective customer before approaching and drafting a personalized quote, or e-commerce experience might be personalized with respect to any sales in offline shops/branches, etc.

A single & digitally cultivated customer truth is a must for running such flows, but on the other hand, customer data must be freed from its chains and stay “liquid & actionable” for any kind of personalization & optimization needs while designing customer data strategies & various customer experiences.


Embodiment of Marketing Transformation

Either you are not aware of it or be in love with the fact, marketing has been transforming for some time. Here are some examples in the recent thinking:

There was a huge shift from “segments to personas” where personas represent typical shared behaviors which are more dynamic, and a consumer can act like that persona for a while and leave the typology. Regardless of any static segment they’re in, once customer journeys for multiple personas are designed properly, a marketer would be able to stay relevant most of the time both in terms of the messages provided and their timeliness.

On the other hand, pandemic forced many organizations to transformative change in the recent two years. Digital commerce, either its e-, or s-, or m-, or v- is a part of most brands’ lives and new revenue streams have been created as well as new service flows and processes defined to deliver exceptional customer experience (Check “ Still Active” Trend from 2020 –  Digital (e-, m-, s-, v-, …) Commerce Is For Every Brand: Don’t Be Late, Your Competition Is Already Here! -> https://labrys.global/5-digital-customer-experience-marketing-trends-for-2021/)

Digital advertising budgets (where majority is allocated to programmatic & data-driven advertising) have surpassed traditional ad budgets in most parts of the world, introducing new methods of targeting & personalization. On the other end of the continuum, contact centers (not only call centers) which are enhanced by new messaging channels on top of voice have become integral parts of a customer journey in order to answer requests from multiple media/channels.

All these changes have introduced many underlying transformations in marketing & advertising processes, bringing the need of a new breed of talent profile & skillsets for marketing departments and created the need for a strategy overhaul. Business models and roles in ecosystem had also changed. For example, some brands started employing new roles in the ecosystem like being data/profile providers as well as being advertisers, monetizing their vast amount of first-party data. Another example would be an electronic retailer displaying a technology (TV, game console, phone, etc.) vendor’s message on their digital asset, both monetizing the ad space on their digital asset and acting like a publisher in some respect for their audiences.

Hence, marketing transformation is here and to stay! All silos must be disrupted, and a new marketing leader with a versatile & new thinking model needs to be born! Now, “your mission Jim, if you deem to accept, is to design a new generation marketing strategy where core focus of marketing shall be to add value directly to the bottom-line of the company.”


Measuring Marketing Effectiveness & Redefinition of CMO Role


Marketing budgets are decreasing for the first time in the last decade according to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey in 2021. But at the same time, the same study pinpoints that company-wide digital investments are surging. The study finds out that 83% of CEOs intend to increase spending on digital capabilities of their companies. So this is the perfect time for CMOs to redefine their roles in the organization to step up and own “the customer” in the company, hence leading the technology enhanced customer experience process, while transforming marketing’s role.

The new “marketing persona” must act as a customer champion and a transformation agent to orchestrate digital investments regarding customer lifecycle. With such perspective, marketing professionals shall start revamping their skills with respect to “8 Skills of New CMO”. -> https://labrys.global/redefining-challenges-of-todays-cmo/

Marketing measurement will have a significant impact on this shift and will empower marketing professionals within the new company structure. Marketing measurement shall involve a company-wide approach disrupting the silos when it comes to defining & measuring KPIs for any customer related activity.

Unification of marketing KPIs, alignment in offline and online activities and unifying customer data signals would pave the way for a data-driven marketing organization. Investing in a “first party data strategy” would also introduce a long-lasting relationship with the customers on the path to loyalty and more effective sales promotions. Reaching this now enigmatic point would definitely let the brand win the relevancy war in delivering right message at the right time to the right consumer.

Wellbeing of CX: “Trusted” Phygital Relationships

Today if we are after the wellbeing of our customer experiences, they must be natural, convenient, easy and flawless. Otherwise, it is relatively easier for any consumer to switch brands in this over connected world. That’s why being connected is not enough anymore, but we should be after designing phygital experiences, connecting online and offline and bringing in a true omnichannel experience into peoples’ lives. In order to do this, brands shall start to design a relationship architecture where privacy is designed as a clear value exchange. Once it is apparent in consumers’ minds what the value they get will be, once they share their information, they would definitely start to share any data required for personalization and a seamless experience. The major duty of the brands in this process would be to act responsibly and take privacy as a “culture” in their organizations and build trust with the consumer. Once this is done, mobile tracking opt-ins & data shared with the brands will eventually increase. Because all consumers will be overwhelmed with the bombardment of irrelevant messages once the third-party cookies are dead and would quickly look for some trustworthy brands. So, this is the time to start building & designing this relationship in a phygital world!

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