Marketing in a Cookie-Less World
By the middle of 2024, third-party cookies will no longer be supported by Google, ending two decades of media- and data-driven-performance targeted advertising. While this may seem like a leap, digital marketing is all about adapting to change. Fortunately, this change will affect everyone equally, resetting the playing field and providing you an opportunity to take advantage of the new landscape of B2B digital marketing.
With cookie-less advertising, marketers must rely on consent-based marketing. There’s no doubt that this will bring a huge shift, and SMBs must be prepared to weather disruptions and take a hard look at ad measurement and campaign spending. Without cookies, the very definition of success – or measuring success – will become increasingly difficult to determine.
However, there’s no need to panic. We have known these changes were coming for some time, and there’s still a lot of time to prepare for marketing in a cookie-less world. Even so, third-party cookie data has proven to be flawed.
By investing and recalibrating your current strategies, you’ll be able to adapt to future changes much more quickly. In that context, marketers need to develop strategies that can hold up under many possible scenarios. We recommend the following evergreen actions below. These do not depend on any specific shift, but instead, optimize your entire B2B marketing approach.
- Prepare for Disruption: Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers have already eliminated third-party cookies, and Google has announced that it will deprecate third-party cookies from Chrome by 2023. When the flow of cookie data is shut off, marketers will likely feel trapped in a decline. It will be important to develop durable strategies that can be applied in many different scenarios. Taking a hard look at your current ad spend will be useful as well. Shifting your media mix and redirecting cookie-related spending will be a necessity.
- Invest in First-Party Data: Marketers have relied heavily on the cookie. In fact, for many of them, the cookie became a crutch. Now B2B marketers must find new ways to acquire, maintain, and use first-party proprietary data. This does not mean that you have to ask for your customer’s life story right off the bat. One option is employing a progressive profiling strategy, which allows you to collect the bare minimum of information necessary to authenticate a customer’s identity and then enrich that customer profile over time by collecting new pieces of data at different touchpoints. However, before asking for your customer’s data, find out which pieces of it are most important to your business and calculate what it might cost to acquire versus the return on investment. That will narrow your strategy, making it easier to implement.
- Prioritize Consent and Early Authentication: Remember, part of the reason anonymous third-party data is disappearing is because consumers will no longer stand for their personal information being collected, used, and shared without their knowledge or approval. To strengthen customer relationships — as well as maintain compliance — B2B brands must be upfront about what information they’re gathering and how it’s being used. Even when you ask for permission to use data, most consumers are going to say no. The key is to show them the value of their data. Consumers overwhelmingly agree that they will trade their data for additional value. While B2C brands like providing discounts or similar rewards, B2B marketers can offer value in the form of early access to products or services and offering exclusive content.
- Create Partnerships: One easy way to accelerate data capture is to propose a mutual exchange of value. By combining forces with another trusted party, your lead generation costs can be slashed dramatically. Reach out to other small and medium-sized business owners now to begin laying the groundwork for this mutual exchange.
- Change Your Measurements: The absence of cookies will compound existing challenges of digital ad measurement. In a new era of ad experimentation, you will want to reset your measurement baselines, invest in market research and lock in the resources you need to better understand the precious data you’re gathering.
- Focus on the Customer Journey: Even B2B buyers now expect a more personalized B2C-type experience. Keep in mind that engaging the right customers with the right messaging is only one piece of the puzzle. You also have to make sure you do it at the right time and place. It will be a worthwhile investment to take steps such as automating real-time customer experiences to differentiate your brand from competitors and give prospects the personalized experiences they want. Tailoring your customer’s journey can be a difficult process to develop, but you have time now to formulate durable strategies.
By making first-party data the foundation of your B2B marketing strategy — and using it to deliver tailored, highly relevant content — you’ll future-proof your marketing and sales while setting yourself up to succeed in the privacy-first future. Please reach out today to get a head start on your first-party data marketing plan!
KWS: first-party data marketing plan, First-Party – Data Capture Tools