Data Alternatives: What Marketers Can Do To Increase Performance
Affinity Solutions commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the readiness of companies to work with less customer data across digital channels based on the increase of consumer privacy demands and regulations, and the use of alternative data sources.
Forrester conducted an online survey of 301 marketers in North America to evaluate marketing data use and reliance on alternative data sources. Survey participants included decision-makers in marketing- and data-based roles, within a variety of industries. Respondents were offered incentives as a thank you for time spent on the survey. The study was completed in January 2021.
Below are some of the key findings from interviews with more than 300 marketing-decision makers in North America who seem to be aware of the problems around data deprecation, but require more education to address it.
- Marketers say data initiatives are top-of-mind priorities during the next 12 months. Some 84% of decision-makers say solving for the loss of data is a high or critical priority. Adding to the top five strategic priorities in the upcoming year — all address aspects of data collection, deprecation, and application.
- 92% of marketers making the decisions say their martech/ad-tech stack is insufficient to meet their marketing priorities, but expect the gap will widen as data deprecation increases.
Reliance on third-party cookie data remains high, but there are other data sources marketers should consider.
Marketers say they still rely heavily on third-party cookie data to feed marketing insights. Some 65% say they use it to measure digital media efficiency, while 60% use it to enhance personalization efforts and 60% use it to create targeted prospect audiences.
During the next 12 months, the findings suggest, the top five priorities are all directly related to navigating data deprecation and ensuring a seamless transition in a post-cookie world.
Marketers are aware of the challenges and are ready to make changes across the board to their strategies.
While 67% of marketers say they seek alternative data sources to enrich customer profiles and behavioral attributes, the most regularly used data sources are table stakes. Organizations seem to want to stay with data sources they are comfortable with, but have not yet fully capitalized on.
The study points to deterministic permission-based data and insights. A lack of reliance on key alternative data sources, such as credit and debit card transaction, contextual, or location data, illustrates that organizations’ data is still largely siloed.
Here’s what marketers say are the most critical areas affected by the loss of data:
- 31% customer preferences
- 24% marketing response data
- 23% demographic data
- 22% location data
- 22% mobile app data
Overall, 92% of marketers feel their current martech/ad-tech technology is not up to par to navigate the loss of data. Integration of disparate data sets, valuable insights outside of time spent with their brand, and privacy and consent management capabilities top the list of concerns marketers have with their current vendor relationships.
Partner relationships help navigate this new reality and many marketers say they are turning to vendor partners not just for key technological capabilities, but for education and guidance on how to deal with the lack of data.
The study suggests cultivating relationships with partners to leverage alternative data sources to develop an effective customer insights strategy for a post-cookie world. Partners that build data ecosystems for the cookieless future or seek alternative approaches to targeting using contextual data or identity resolution will become beneficial.
- 86% of respondents feel alternative data sources will be valuable to their future data strategies
- 99% expect various specific benefits from using them
What are the four top capabilities missing in current martech or ad-tech vendor relationships that can help marketers prepare?
- 38% say they need more real-time triggers outside of consumers’ time spent with your brand
- 38% want the ability to integrate data sets to create audiences/segments for targeting efforts such as prospecting and retargeting
- 35% want easy integration across internal martech/ad-tech ecosystem
- 32% want clear privacy and consent management capabilities to ensure the company is managing through the changing data environment