“Don’t settle for the status quo”
The critical role of first-party data in today's and tomorrow’s advertising world is undeniable. Every organization is currently on a journey of transition, with some more advanced than others. Media agencies have a unique insight into this transformation process, working closely with their brand clients, who are all at different stages in their journeys, to build first-party data strategies that drive business growth.
In the latest episode of our Identity Architects podcast, InfoSum's Sales Director, Sunil Modha, sat down with Anita Klinkosz, Audience Architect at Havas Media Group, to discuss the power of first-party data, insights and planning, measurement, challenging the status quo, and more.
“It's absolutely impossible to know everything in such a fast-paced, constantly evolving industry. So keep asking questions; don’t settle for the status quo. And really get out of your comfort zone because this is really where innovation and growth comes from”
Anita’s advice to herself at the start of her career has a lot of parallels to organizations on their first-party data journeys today. Now more than ever, organizations need to be challenging the status quo. For many organizations, this will mean breaking free from their comfort zones to test, learn, and experiment with new solutions, and there isn’t a lot of time left to be waiting around.
“We have been talking about collecting first-party data for preparing for the future, and I actually still keep hearing that brands need to prepare for the future when it comes to their first-party data collection. But actually, the future that we keep referring to is now”
So, what advice does Anita have for brands when it comes to building out a robust first-party data strategy? Start with the why and how.
“My recommendation is investing in a coherent data strategy. So it's not just about collecting as much data as possible, but really understanding and mapping what data you're currently collecting and thinking about how it can be activated to help you drive business outcomes, and you really need to make sure that your data is clean, it's organized, and is actionable.”
A data strategy is only as strong and reliable as the data that underpins it, so it’s vital to get the foundations correct. From there, brands can focus on unlocking the full potential of first-party data.
“When used correctly, first-party data is absolutely a goldmine for your brand. [...] It's owned by you, and it's unique to your business, and that also means that you're not gaining from exactly the same inventory as thousands of other brands, including your competitors. [...] Any brand that wants to build a meaningful relationship with their customers really needs to establish a logical framework around their first-party data [...] This is all about gaining a deep understanding of your customers or a group of customers. It can help you become more customer-driven and when it's done right, it can have a huge impact on your business.”
However, first-party data does have its limitations. The main one is that it only provides a single view of consumers. As Anita mentions, the name of the game is developing a deep understanding of your customers to drive business outcomes. Data clean rooms play a key role here, enabling brands to securely leverage first-party data from partners with access to the data they need to fill knowledge gaps.
“We tend to focus a lot on the activation side of marketing on advertising when it comes to first-party data, but it is actually becoming critical in campaign planning. [...] Data clean rooms allow you to work directly with data providers to first gain deeper insights on your audiences by enriching your first-party data and tapping into data attributes that you wouldn't normally collect or have access to directly from your consumers. So I think it’s an extremely powerful solution for that campaign planning, enriching refining your audience segments with someone else's first-party data. And then secondly, matching those refined segments directly with media partners to understand the opportunity. [...] So it's great to be able to, you know, understand those match trades between your first-party data and a publisher's first-party data within seconds and to use it.”
In addition to planning and insights, first-party data will be key in measurement strategies.
“Old measurement solutions have been flawed from the moment we stopped using a single device to engage with brands [...]. We need to embrace that change, and we need to find more suitable solutions like, you know, data modeling and first-party data solutions for that improved measurement.”
It’s also important to recognize that businesses are only one side of the equation driving change within the industry. Consumers are increasingly becoming a force and demanding brands take data privacy seriously. Through secure data collaboration, brands can amplify marketing performance whilst prioritizing customer privacy.
“We are all consumers. So honoring consumer expectations about their data, about their privacy really means building a better ecosystem for ourselves too. [...] We all need to agree on how we collect consumer data, what do we give in return for that data, how that data is being handled, and how it's activated. Privacy and compliance are huge parts of our everyday conversations with our clients, they are a huge part of how we approach building strategies and how we service our clients as an agency.”
The focus on privacy will only intensify, so brands must take it seriously. Privacy-enhancing technologies that keep customer data secure and private while enabling collaboration are already becoming central to tech and data stacks. As Anita mentions, the ability for brands to collaborate without sharing data is the first step in rebuilding consumer trust.
“I need to mention the non-movement of data. Any technology that puts data first and allows brands to collaborate without having to share your customers’ data, which helps safeguard customer privacy, is something that we'll see more of and we'll be tapping more and more into in the future both for planning and activation. I think we need to invest more in this kind of collaboration [...] to further instill that trust with consumers but also within our industry. At the end of the day, your customers trust you with their data and they expect you to control it and handle it in a way that doesn't put their privacy at risk. So I think for any brand that is trying to figure out how to unlock the full potential of their data [...] it is great to see that thanks to technologies such as non-movement of data within platforms like InfoSum it allows you to do exactly that - collaborate with that privacy-first approach.
Thanks, Anita, for the chat!