In the absence of a comprehensive U.S. consumer protection law, state and federal legislators in the United States have looked to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation to inspire when states start to introduce data privacy legislation in 2022. This year, the roads are being laid. The E.U. The U.S., following the announcement of the Digital Markets Act by the E.U. to counter Big Tech’s grip on the world, is now working to pass the Choice Online Act as well as the Open App Markets Act. This comes on top of the existing state-led laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act. Massachusetts, for example, announced that it would pass the Massachusetts Information Privacy and Security Act in late 2021. This digital-privacy law will protect residents’ privacy and safety, and give them more control over their personal information on the Internet. Massachusetts, Colorado, Virginia, and California would all be the fourth states to pass comprehensive data privacy legislation if the bill is passed.

Marketers are eager to see the outcome of this data privacy battle, with Google announcing an array of privacy updates in response to privacy concerns raised by a new cookie replacement.

Zero- and first-party data are essential to personalizing digital interactions and experiences.

Personalizing campaigns using existing data

To create digital experiences that are human-centered, companies must first get to know their clients. Consider your personal relationships. You take time to get to know your family and friends’ needs and wants. Humanizing digital experiences is no different. Customers can use zero-party or first-party data that they voluntarily share, and marketers can collect behavioral patterns to create personalized marketing experiences.

Marketers can leverage this data to create campaigns that provide relevant information, such as store hours near them, reminders for their carts, and product suggestions. These tactics enhance customer experience because they put the customer first. Marketers and consumers have a mutually beneficial relationship. Marketers use the information that consumers provide about their preferences and interests to create a seamless browsing and shopping experience.

Humanizing the digital universe through omnichannel

Digital can help to bridge the human connection. If your friend recommends a show, exercise, or pair of jeans, this “social proof” can be valuable information we use in our daily lives. Digital experiences can do the same. Companies should provide social proof at a critical moment in the customer journey. This can be in the form of ratings, reviews, or the number of other consumers who are actively engaging with the product. It allows them to connect other people’s behavior with their own. This makes the experience more personal and less transactional.

Marketers’ toolkits will always include zero- and first-party data to create customized marketing campaigns. Brands must now prioritize omnichannel strategies as the path of the consumer to purchase is becoming increasingly non-linear.

Estimates show, for example, that consumers check their phones between 52 and 80 times a day. Customers use their smartphones to discover new products and identify brick-and-mortar locations for in-store purchases, resulting in a greater need for seamless omnichannel communications strategies. Brand X is the only brand that consumers shop for.

Marketers can leverage consumer data once they collect first-party information. They can then focus on personalizing the experience across all channels. Mobile commerce continues to grow rapidly, with 71% of users using multiple channels to initiate and complete a transaction.

One first-party application that was very popular and is still a key part of retail strategy today, is BOPIS, and curbside pickup, which leverages zip codes to direct consumers to the in-store option (and not only at-home delivery). As COVID-19 brought to a halt long-distance travel, travel brands could leverage first-party information to find hotel destinations that were within driving distance.

Sixty-eight percent of marketers reported gaining new customers at COVID. Loyalty programs have become a popular trend among marketers, allowing them to leverage their first-party data in order to promote their brand’s value and increase the importance of loyalty within their communication with consumers. As retailers use their data troves to personalize marketing, we expect loyalty programs to grow in importance.

In order to provide digital experiences which satisfy and personalize the human experience, it is important that they are connected across all channels. If you don’t, it would be like texting your friend and calling them out for “not understanding” what you are saying. It’s impossible to separate the experience.

Data is the key to embracing the legal landscape

It is uncharted terrain for marketers. It is important to recognize that the push for greater privacy benefits both the consumer and the marketer. Brand marketers must earn every customer relationship by delivering value. For years, our most profitable customers have personalized content using zero- and one-party data stored in data stores such as internal APIs and CRMs. This has solved the content bottleneck and enabled brands to deliver the 1:1 personalization customers expect.

Data is what drives marketers, and the new legal framework on data privacy is only beginning to take shape. This is making industry experts nervous. This is why it is vital to know how to use existing customer data in order to generate valuable business results. The digital experience can be improved by using zero-party and first-party information to establish the right data strategy.

Marketers were apprehensive when Apple announced its new privacy measures in the fall of last year. In Movable Ink’s analysis of iOS 15’s content caching, we found that 45% of consumers use Apple Mail. Wired reports that the new caching protocol sends tracking pixels through a relay that strips recipient data. Contextual personalization has been thrown into a loop since this update.

Marketers who want to make the most of the data-private world will need to find new ways to collect data using existing data, both zero- and first-party. The constant need to monitor data is a must. Marketers should constantly review and optimize how they collect data, integrate it with other systems, and measure it. This is especially important in light of the changing legal landscape.

Data has always been the future of marketing, but as third-party sources have dwindled and consumers fight for control over their data, now is the time to be smarter. In the next two years, marketers will have to change their approach in terms of how they collect data and create personalization campaigns.

This is a great opportunity for marketers to focus on what they can do, rather than what they cannot. Balance personalization and consumers’ increasing demands for privacy can, and if not done right, lead to more customized, scalable campaigns which drive revenue, build better relationships with clients, etc.

By Tejas

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