First Party Data Trends


The majority of today’s best marketing is data and insight driven. Marketers of all stripes use data to inform their decisions and increase revenues for their business. However, not all marketers use data in the same way. Some see data as a means to an end –. Others are more interested in the data itself – providing their business the timely and actionable information. 

At the 2023 Adobe Summit, Shift Paradigm conducted a survey of attendees to assess sentiment about current trends in marketing (see HERE for full report). We asked survey respondents to identify, from a list of 14 marketing trends, what they have been actively watching. Using these responses, we used exploratory factor analysis to determine which trends “go together” – that is, if someone is following one particular trend, what other trends are they likely to follow. 

Who We Asked

Using this technique, we found two distinct types of individuals, based on which trends they were following. We call the first group the “Marketing Practitioner,” who care mostly about the tactical nature of marketing and use data as a means to that end. The second group, the “Tech Guru,” cares more about high-tech solutions and data in the abstract. The groups are use-case based personas, which can tell you important information about an audience based on how they interact with the world around them. 

Marketing Practioner

The Marketing Practitioner most interested in reach and engagement of the customer. . They are interested in multiple marketing channels and personalization – providing the right message at the right time, and more importantly, doing this at scale, rather than in an individual, ad hoc way. Marketing Practitioners care about how data can help them meet their marketing goals and inspire creativity and innovation, but are generally following trends that data enables, rather than trends related to data itself.

Tech Guru

The Tech Guru, on the other hand, is very interested in trends related to technology and data. They care about digital transformation, CDPs, big data, and AI. While these trends are vital to marketers, they are technology and data trends that extend far beyond the marketing world, and are wide have impact across the organizational process and design. The Tech Guru cares about how data and technology can change and improve the world, and marketing is only one use case for data-driven decision making.

These varied interests help to create a symbiotic relationship between the Marketing Practitioner and the Tech Guru – the Tech Guru is likely interested in data science and data engineering, rather than analytics or applied statistics. They want to work with data, but may not care about the use case for the data work. The Marketing Practitioner brings substantive expertise in marketing and an interest in doing the analytics work to achieve marketing goals, looking for visibility of performance through technology.. The Marketing Practitioner needs the Tech Guru to provide them with the right data for analysis. The Tech Guru looks to marketing to improve the ROI story of the technology and systems.

Occasionally, the interests of the Marketing Practitioner and Tech Guru can align. We see this in the case of first party data – as cookies, one of the most valuable source for third party data, are being phased out in 2023, marketers need to find a new source of data and information. The need for more robust first party data collection provides a perfect marriage of the interests of each of these personas. The Marketing Practitioner needs to change how they get information about leads and customers to engage in the targeted, personalized marketing that they know works, while the Tech Guru is presented with an interesting technological challenge of how to transform data collection practices in a world without cookies.

Data needs are growing as marketers expand their reach across more channels, however changing privacy rules will require marketers to shift their strategy to collect personal information moving forward. 75% of all marketers say they use some form of third party data currently, and marketers will need to reconcile this strategy given the pending changes to privacy rules that will make third party data much more difficult, if not impossible, to collect.

Marketers predict that they will need twice as many data sources in 2023, compared to 2021, to do their work effectively. This shows how the Marketing Practitioner and the Tech Guru need to work together – the Tech Guru has an interesting technological problem to solve, while the Marketing Practitioner faces an important business challenge to find and use new data streams to keep their targeted marketing machine functioning. The need to acquire first party data is the perfect opportunity for these personas to work together to achieve a singular business goal, while each is able to focus on doing what they do best. Since both have an interest in first party data, this will create a unique opportunity for collaboration that is enjoyable for both parties.

Building the Data Mix

The demise of cookies and third-party data need not be a crisis for marketers. While third party data is powerful, it can lead to a lack of attention to the important processes and decisions that underlie data driven marketing. Essentially, third party data provides a wealth of information, but it may not always provide the information that is most valuable to marketers. When companies use social media or third party data to grow their audience, they have an audience that they do not own. First party data allows marketers to connect data with individuals, via their email address, and they can use that information to best target marketing materials to the right audiences.

While third party data provided easy access to a lot of data, that data was very particular in type and came with its own limitations. As third party data becomes harder to get, it gives marketers the opportunity to pivot their focus to collecting rich first party data, and focus on collecting the right data for their business use cases. This presents a business problem that the Marketing Practitioner loves to solve, along with a data problem that will get the Tech Guru excited.

As marketers move to a cookie-free world, they should think about what data they really need to serve their business goals, and what data they were using simply because they had access to it. A simplified, focused data stream can make things easier on analysts, and allow companies to focus on the right pieces of information to drive high level marketing campaigns.

Shift Paradigm knows marketing and data – we have the Marketing Practitioners and Tech Gurus available to guide your business from reliance on third party data and help you collect rich first party data that you own and fits your business needs. We can help your business from start to finish – whether it’s determining the right data to collect, how to collect it, how to store it, or how to analyze it, Shift Paradigm knows how to turn data into insights. We are here to help you collect, clean, curate and consume all of the right data that will help your marketing operations thrive.

And once you have the data, we can help you use that data to target the right audience. Our use-case based persona development, based on data you actually have and using principles from social psychology, will provide you with clear, actionable personas and give you the right messages to use to target each group.

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First Party Data Trends

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