Future-Proof Your Marketing: 9 Cutting-Edge First-Party Data Strategies

Hey there! Have you heard about the first-party data revolution happening in marketing right now?

In this complete guide, we‘ll explore what first-party data is, why it‘s become so important, and most importantly – 9 leading-edge strategies your brand can use to take control of your customer data destiny.

Let‘s get you set up for marketing success as third-party data declines!

Why You Urgently Need a First-Party Data Strategy

First-party data refers to any piece of customer information directly collected by a brand through owned channels – think websites, mobile apps, email lists, loyalty programs, stores, and more.

This includes details like:

  • Contact info like emails and phone numbers
  • Purchase history
  • Website/app behavior
  • Product reviews and ratings
  • Survey, poll, contest or quiz responses
  • And really anything a customer voluntarily shares with your brand

The #1 benefit? First-party data offers complete accuracy about real customers, since it comes straight from the source. No wondering if a third-party segment really reflects your audience.

And with public concern over data privacy growing, regulations limiting third-party tracking and targeting popping up everywhere, and platform changes set to eliminate cookie tracking – pure first-party data strategies are essential for marketing survival.

Consider these signals:

  • 90% of consumers want full control and transparency over data sharing, per Deloitte
  • Google aims to block all third-party cookies in Chrome by 2023
  • Apple‘s data privacy changes sliced billions in revenue from platforms like Snap and Facebook

See what‘s happening? Third-party data access is declining fast. Smart brands are pivoting to owned customer data strategies right now before it‘s too late.

Just look at these first-party data usage projections:

  • 80% of B2C marketing data budgets focused on first-party activation by 2025 (Winterberry Group)
  • Global first-party data platforms industry to reach $30 billion by 2026 (Valuates Reports)

The message is clear as day: first-party data represents the customer insights that fuel the future of marketing. Will you lead with owned data or lag behind your competition?

8 Powerful First-Party Data Collection Strategies

When it comes to first-party data, quality trumps quantity. Not all customer information is created equal.

Focus first on collecting high-value owned data that reveals meaningful attributes like lifetime value, retention risk, next likely purchase and more.

Here are 8 proven methods for capturing exactly this type of actionable customer intelligence directly through your digital properties:

1. Lead & Demand Generation Offers

People love getting valuable stuff for free. Take advantage by creating compelling lead gen offers like gated content, newsletters, webinars or tools in exchange for contact information.

Just be transparent about what data you collect and how it will be used. Build trust while capturing emails for your outbound and lifecycle messaging strategy.

75% of users are okay sharing data if it means getting more personalized experiences in return, per Accenture. Lead gen is a proven way to make this happen.

2. Customer Account Registration

Encourage visitors to create accounts or profiles on your site and app. This gives you access to data like demographic details, site preferences, order history and more. Reduce friction by only asking for essentials upfront. Offer clear value in exchange like better personalization.

Online retailer MVMT watches grew revenue 5X larger over 2 years by transitioning 80% of their customers to registered user accounts for access to exclusive perks.

3. Integrate Reviews, Ratings and Other UGC

User-generated content offers a goldmine of zero- and first-party data. Product ratings, Q&A, testimonials, social shares – UGC provides insight into what customers like and don‘t that fuels personalization.

Integrate UGC collection and display across all brand touchpoints. This boosts engagement while supplying data from consenting, enthusiastic fans.

In fact, 92% of consumers read reviews before making purchase decisions today according to BrightLocal. UGC is marketing catnip loved by prospects.

4. Smart Website & App Behavior Tracking

Website analytics tools monitor every customer click and move. But connect that behavioral data to individual user profiles, and you unlock an intelligence asset beyond compare.

Suddenly page flow trends, content consumption patterns, feature preferences and more become powerful predictors of user wants. Map customer micro-behaviors to macro outcomes like retention and LTV using machine learning for next-level personalization at scale.

5. Survey Customers for Direct Needs

Sometimes you need to hear wants straight from the horse‘s mouth. Surveys present a simple way to gather first-party data around interests, preferences, desired outcomes and pain points.

Keep it concise: 3-5 thoughtful questions targeted to what you need to know. Time surveys based on specific user actions (sign-ups, purchases etc.) to boost response rates. Savvy questioning fuels personalization.

A mere 2 question survey increased loan approval rates by 10% at SunTrust Bank by better predicting customer needs. Small-but-mighty questioning works.

6. Launch Loyalty & Referral Programs

Loyalty and referral programs incentivize customers to share details about themselves while engaging their networks – all in exchange for rewards. Brands gain access to email contacts, social graphs, purchase history, and more.

76% of consumers say loyalty programs increased spending with rewarded brands by over 25%, per Paytronix. Offer creative perks through owned channels in return for high-quality data direct from advocates themselves.

7. Integrate Reviews & Ratings

On-site elements like ratings, reviews and any platform where fans can share their voice offers an owned data goldmine. Prospects trust these user-generated insights even more than your marketing claims.

But UGC does more than provide social proof. Aggregate reviews reveal actual category insights, interests and sentiment analytics. Meanwhile, individual reviews can be traced back to real customer identities through login or purchase lookup for precision targeting.

Activate UGC collection and display across all brand properties to boost engagement and server-side data capture. POS integrations also connect offline purchase behaviors to guide web/app personalization for true omnichannel activation.

8. Incentivize Social Login & Sharing

Allowing customers to conveniently login via existing social accounts accelerates sign-ups. But the bigger win? Access to expansive demographic, interest and contact data customers already provided social platforms.

Even if users decline full data sharing, you still collect some profile attributes and friends lists. Just be transparent around actual access requested – and offer value in return.

9 Million customers shared data with UNICEF via Facebook Login – with full user controls around info collected. Opt-ins skyrocket when social login means less friction.

See the common thread? Getting customers to choose to share data with your brand – whether through lead gen, loyalty rewards or other means – must be core to your strategy. Consent and value exchange are central to compliance and true personalization alike.

Now let‘s discuss exactly how to activate all of this owned data across channels…

4 Keys for Activating First-Party Data

Collecting high-quality first-party data means nothing if you fail to actually use it. Activation is where the magic happens.

Here are four essentials for activating owned customer insights to maximize engagement and revenue:

1. Consolidate Data into Unified Profiles

Creating 360-degree customer views is step one. Connect web data to CRM data to POS data and beyond through a Customer Data Platform (CDP).

52% of customers will switch brands for better personalization, says Accenture. Consolidated profiles enable just that.

2. Identify High-Value Customer Segments

Augment profiles with model-driven insights highlighting trends and patterns tied to CLV, engagement risk and more. A single mom who just bought organic baby food signals something very different from a 20-something gamer streaming eSports. Build segments that reflect true customer value based on intelligent analytics.

3. Create Tailored Messaging & Experiences

Armed with insight around predicted behaviors and needs, you can now orchestrate targeted messaging, offers, product recommendations and more to align with customer interests. This is the holy grail of personalization.

North Face saw 3X bigger purchases from targeted high-value customers by activating first-party data to enhance web experiences.

4. Continuously Optimize Data Use

Treat data activation as an always-on program. Set up feedback loops to measure engagement, sentiment and purchases driven by personalized touchpoints. Feed signals back into your data model to refine targeting approaches.

Ongoing testing and optimization cement long-term wins. Never stop learning about your customers.

The Future Belongs to First-Party Data

Third-party data has faced its last days as regulations and shifting industry standards eliminate blind tracking. But from challenge emerges opportunity.

Brands now hold the keys to own their customer data destinies – if they have the vision and drive to collect, manage and activate owned insights properly.

It‘s time to go all in on first-party data to enable marketing and personalization or risk getting left behind. Will you lead the data revolution?

Now discover the 12 best tools for managing first-party data from collection all the way to activation…