Why We’ve Become Obsessed with First-Party Data

The Case for Setting a High Priority on First-Party Data Collection


What is First-Party Data?

First-party data is information you’ve collected yourself about your customers and potential customers.  In contrast, second-party data is just what it sounds like — information you’re receiving second-hand.  This might most commonly be lists you share with a business targeting similar prospects.

Third-party data you may have heard a lot about because Google is rapidly approaching a cut-off when it won’t allow third-party cookies to track Internet users.  Here is the latest from Google on that impending deadline:

Expanding testing for the Privacy Sandbox for the Web (blog.google)

Why Have Professional Marketers Suddenly Become Obsessed with First-Party Data?

Google’s plan to phase out third-party cookie tracking on the Internet isn’t the only reason marketers have put such a focus lately on first-party data.

Information you collect yourself can be really helpful in a host of other ways:

Marketing Automation.  Whenever you can identify “actionable leads” — meaning you have the ability to follow up on them via SMS, phone, email, or mail — modern technology can organize and even execute most of those follow-ups on behalf of your sales team.  But it’s not impersonal.

Today’s marketing automation platforms communicate in the voice of your sales rep, and responses come directly to your sales rep for human follow-up.  This allows your sales reps to run down 10x or even more prospects, focusing energy on the ones who engage.

Look-A-Like Audiences.  First-party data can also be used to build what are called “look-a-like audiences,” defined as prospects who are similar to your existing customers (and therefore more likely to buy your product or service).

Such audiences can create tremendous efficiency in a marketing campaign because wasted audience (people for whom your product or service isn’t relevant) are reduced or eliminated.

Target Modeling.  Here are two common ways we utilize first-party data on behalf of our clients.

First, performing analysis to isolate from all customers the most profitable 20% of customers (which often make up 80% of total revenue).  Then finding more prospects like these “best” customers.

Second, analyzing all prospects over the last 6-12 months and isolating on those who converted (bought something) can yield a good look-a-like audience for future campaigns.

How To Get Started with First-Party Data

Chances are, you already have several sources of first-party data strewn throughout your business.  Here are some of the most common places you’ll find it:

  • Website
  • E-Mail Database
  • Texting Platform
  • Phone Platform
  • Point Of Sale System
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform

We’re Here to Help

One of the most common ways we create new client relationships is through sharing information and education.  As professional marketers who transitioned to digital marketing long before it was the obvious strategy, we add value for customers having learned everything the hard way during the pioneering years of digital marketing.

Whether it’s first-party data that’s your big challenge, or you just have questions and need an honest opinion, we’re here to help.  Schedule a free consultation with our team of experts here.  Or if you’re not ready to take that step, just sign up for our free e-mail newsletter so you get notified when new articles like this get added to our Local Marketing Blog.

Thanks for visiting today.  We look forward to meeting you soon!

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Steven Ludwig
After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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