Amid the digital revolution, data is what drives businesses and helps them run smoothly. Collected wisely and used repeatedly, it improves performance in most areas of an organization. How do you gain a global perspective on zero- and first-party data to permanently integrate it into the bloodstream of your business?
Time and time again, studies have shown that collecting and using the right data is a key factor for many businesses.
- According to our recent proprietary research, 94% of businesses agree that data is a key investment area for them, yet almost two-thirds of companies have not created an up-to-date data strategy within the last 12 months (Acxiom).
- Today, 90% of enterprise analytics and business professionals say that data and analytics are key to their organization’s digital transformation initiatives (Gartner).
- Up to 62% of retailers (and 63% of cross-industry respondents) have stated that information and data analytics gives them a competitive advantage (IBM).
- Insight-driven businesses are growing at an average of 30% each year; by 2021, they are predicted to take $1.8 trillion annually from their less informed industry competitors (Forrester).
Once you enter the digital space, you and your business gain access to unimaginable amounts of data. This data is useful for not only marketing; when used properly, it can effectively power the entire organization on many levels and in many dimensions of its functioning.
10 tips to make zero- and first-party data a powerhouse of your business
How do you take a broader view of the endless ocean of information you have access to? How do you turn it into a solid foundation for strategic business operations? Here’s a subjective selection of 10 expert tips to get you there.
1. Make sense of the trillions of gigabytes of data
Digital platforms are based largely on the constant transmission of data from and to the online store’s servers. This dialogue runs on many levels: by the store’s visitors, administrators and owners; the store’s servers; servers of software cooperating with the store’s platform; or third parties, such as search engines, smartphone-locating satellites, or social networks. The data that flows in a wide stream in these lines of communication is meticulously collected, often “just in case.” A human being is not able to process such a large amount of information. Standing in front of an undefined mass, they do not even know where to begin an analysis from which they can draw any useful conclusions. This issue is somewhat akin to looking through a microscope at van Gogh’s Starry Night.
A tool that can make it easier to understand hundreds of gigabytes of data flowing through your store’s servers is software that translates these impulses into a language more friendly to the average John Doe. However, just translating a huge amount of data into contact profiles can lead to a situation where you still have too much information. Putting data into a specific framework using zero- and first-party data selectors allows you to define the plane on which you are moving. Determining the overall structure where the collected data exists brings great comfort to your work and allows you to analyze the remaining information wisely and systematically.
Tip: Start working with simple but effective tools to set the framework for further analysis. Prepare segments of contacts with specific characteristics or behaviors. Treat them as a Immense amounts of data have another characteristic: they are heterogeneous. It is like trying to analyze Lady with an Ermine and Bridget Jones’s Diary in a single comparison. It is almost impossible to compare these two very different products of the culture of their time. The same is true in the world of modern data streams. Do images entered into Visual Search carry weight similar to key phrases? How do location data collected by cell phones compare to clicks on a lab coat manufacturer’s eCommerce website?
starting point for further business analysis.
2. Actually use your data (unify it, tidy it up, and make it usable)
Today’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) software, with its advanced artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, allows you to combine data of different types and from different sources. As a result, it also allows you to transform zero- and first-party data into a language that can be understood by multiple departments working at different stages of the product development or customer buying journey design.
Tip: Communicate customer preference information to those who design and execute customer interactions. Both strategists and customer service people will benefit from information about preferences regarding, for example, favorite communication channels of individual contacts. This data can take the form of either declarations (zero-party) or statistics on message openings across channels (first-party).
3. Switch to data-driven strategic decision-making
The foundation of an organization is strategy, and the foundation of strategy is data. There is no other way. All strategic decisions should be grounded in reality and based on something measurable and easy to describe. Examples of business flops that came from ignoring data are well known and widely discussed in the business world. One of them is the bankruptcy of Kodak, a company that knew the chances of digital photography replacing analogue photography were high but did nothing to prepare for the new order. Another example would be Coca-Cola’s launch of New Coke without prior market research, only to gain an advantage in the cola wars.
Tip: Get into the habit of starting every change with a data analysis phase. Zero- and first-party data combined with deep behavioral profiling is an excellent tool that will help you determine what your contacts really want (target group research). Juxtaposing this data with an analysis of your competitors and business environment, as well as placing it on the map of your strategic goals, will help you make decisions that will likely fulfil the needs of people for whom you create your products.
4. Get the edge you are missing
For most products, the market is highly saturated. Many factors contribute to this, including the availability of goods from all over the world, which can be easily purchased at any time online. So, to stand out, you need to get the right pitch—the so-called Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Defining this one-of-a-kind feature of a product or business can be done in several ways. One is to find touchpoints among the product’s features and the needs (stated or measured) of the people who use it.
Tip: Analyze the preferences and consumer choices of the people who make up your best and most profitable customer group. Use RFM segmentation to identify the customers who bring the most money to the company. Examine the preferences of customers who have the highest customer lifetime value. Based on this analysis, find out which feature of the product or company makes them choose it over competing options. Use acquired knowledge when constructing USPs, brand language, and advertising messages to attract even more like-minded individuals.
5. Use data to shape strategy
Zero- and first-party data comes in handy not only when making strategic decisions, but also when building an actual strategy in any area. One of the key elements of this vital document is an extensive analysis of your target audience, broken down into ideal customers, promising customers, brand ambassadors, and even negative buyer personas. Analyzing CDP data provides a great deal of insight into how people behave when they visit your website, buy from your store, visit your stationary store, or stop being customers. Combined with data from other sources, CDP data will allow you to supplement any strategy with firsthand information about the people who will pay for what you create.
Tip: Combine data from all sources to better understand your customers. With platforms like CDP, you can collect data from online, offline, and mobile app channels. Based on this data, you will understand your customers’ needs more accurately.
6. Use data to optimize costs
The data you collect and compile in CDP covers a variety of areas. Among them there is information about declared color preferences, favorite communication channels, hundreds of pieces of data from calculators on websites, and location data. Most of these areas are used by the marketing department, but it is not the only department that will see their value. Much of this information can be used in planning for staffing scheduling, warehouse logistics, and supply chain planning.
Tip: Use location data to save on logistics. Manage inventory based on preferences of users who are from the same region.
7. Get a unified view of a customer across touchpoints
A delivery, a stationary store, a banner on a website, an abandoned cart, an email inbox, and even where an app is opened on a phone—all these interactions provide valuable customer intelligence. But for the picture to be unified, the system that collects them must be able to assign them to a single profile, unify, and organize them. That’s how CDP platforms work. The data that is collected there falls into several categories, including zero- and first-party. These are the types of data that allow you to determine with certainty the preferences and reactions of the customer who is directly responding to the brand’s actions. Collecting this information gives you a complete picture of what and how much a person wants to share with you. What’s more, it brings the relationship to the level of a two-way dialogue because it allows you to directly ask the contact about specific issues and then add that data to the profile.
Tip: Personalize your campaigns based on the data users leave you, and use the communication channel according to their preferences. If users leave you data, then you can use it to grab their attention by personalizing your mailings. Moreover, with progressive profiling, you can also gather information about users’ preferred communication channels and thus leverage this information when implementing your campaigns. Create a coherent message in many channels at the same time using data declared and obtained thanks to tracking online, offline, and mobile application behaviors.
8. Get a unique edge in converting customers
A number of studies have shown the link between customization and conversion rate. In short, the better you balance your message’s degree of personalization and use the information voluntarily provided by your audience, the greater the chances of conversion and purchase. In a world brimming with data, companies go beyond their audience’s comfort level by showing them ads and suggestions that never panned out in a consumer’s normal interaction with the brand. These are recommendations based on second- and third-party data. Far more effective than creepy stalking is asking consumers directly about their preferences and tailoring your communications specifically to that information.
Tip: Tailor your communications to users’ interests. Your campaigns will perform better if you target users according to their interests. If you are not sure about your contacts’ preferences, ask them. CDP offers a wide range of tools that will allow you to gradually increase your knowledge about the contacts in your database.
9. Prepare a seamless, customer-centric customer experience (CX)
It is vital to guide consumers through the entire purchasing process and what follows after conversion in such a way as to gain their loyalty. Customer experience design aims to not only meet consumer needs, but also maintain the relationship with the brand. CX effectiveness is measured by churn rate, retention and Customer Lifetime Value. The longer and more intimate the relationship is, the more demands are placed on the brand. The customer provides more data with every interaction and keeps opening up more and more. It’s safe to say that failing to use this information to make this relationship easier and more enjoyable is one of the cardinal sins of eCommerce.
Tip: Use advanced Workflow automation processes to seamlessly respond to customer behavior based on stated preferences. Use ready-made templates and add your own elements to fully customize them to your company’s consumer path.
10. Engage in dialogue, gather feedback, and improve business performance
No business can exist without customers. Among zero-party data, there is a particular category that will allow you to better understand how consumers perceive your operations. This is, of course, wide-ranging feedback data that includes ratings, reviews, and satisfaction surveys. Collecting this data and updating it at regular intervals allows you to continually develop and modify your operations in various areas of your business, from sales, to delivery, to customer service, to your brand’s public image.
Tip: Study the feedback given on your services. After a successful transaction, ask the user about the quality of your services. This will give you valuable insights and allow you to build even better relationships with your audience and customers.
Properly collected and standardized zero- and first-party data is the true lifeblood of any eCommerce business. However, it is not enough to collect it. You still need to make a habit of using it across different operational verticals.
If you already have data but don’t know what you can do with it yet, be sure to speak to your success manager; they can help you find order and practical use for this vast collection of information.