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First-party data is gold, but it needs to be mined

Every organization has first-party data — and first-party data is every organization’s golden goose. But not all organizations understand how to capitalize on its potential. Part of the challenge: With data growing at such an exponential rate, many marketers struggle to sift through the attributes that can inform their next customer interaction. While the abundance of available data can have tremendous value, it can be rendered useless without the know-how to activate it properly.

I recently participated in a panel at the AdExchanger Programmatic I/O Conference, where we discussed the nuances of first-party data, as well as how we’ve seen it evolve over the years. One of the many discussion points we came to a consensus on: All marketers need to develop a true data-driven marketing approach.

Take stock of all available data

Too many marketers lack sufficient knowledge about all the data housed by their organizations. With the sheer volume of data available, marketers need to determine which data points are most useful to their campaigns. Unfortunately, many organizations have decentralized first-party data sets — causing marketers to ask, “Who owns the data?”

By breaking down departmental silos, marketers can connect the “data dots” and gain a true view of their evolving customer base. This single customer view leads to more thoughtful customer interactions.

Make first-party data scalable

The drawback to first-party data is that it is only representative of a brand’s current customer base. But how can brands expand their reach? One trend that has picked up momentum is more marketers are pooling their resources. By engaging in cooperative programs or leveraging third-party data sources, marketers are able to augment what they know about their customers with what other brands and publishers have on file. Now marketers can interact with their customers with relevant messages across more channels and devices.

Track the return on investment

Marketers leverage their first-party data to inform customer interactions across all channels, including websites, email, customer care centers, mobile apps, etc. But marketers have been challenged in quantifying the return on investment in their marketing efforts. Sure, marketers can rely on low-hanging fruit, such as clicks and impressions, but they need to think beyond these metrics. If marketers can properly activate their first-party data and create personalized communications, they will be able to measure the sales impact — both offline and online — for all campaigns.

The power of first-party data knows no bounds. It truly is the gold standard of assets that most organizations carry. It just needs to be developed. If marketers can refine their approach and develop a true data-driven marketing strategy, they can realize the potential of first-party data. And that realization is the first step in the process to marketing success.