“4 Things Retailers Can Do to Strengthen Customer Relationships in 2022” by Melissa Tatortis via Total Retail

“4 Things Retailers Can Do to Strengthen Customer Relationships in 2022” by Melissa Tatortis via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by metamorworks

As marketers prepare for the evolution of how they use consumer data in their campaigns, there’s a massive opportunity to improve customer relationships using more secure and accurate identity alternatives. While there’s much doom and gloom in the media about third-party cookie deprecation, let’s not forget that this event was ushered in by consumers themselves wanting more relevant, respectful advertising. The end of third-party cookies gives advertisers a reset button when it comes to consumer relationships. Here are four things to consider as you build your foundation for the cookie-less future:

1. Unify first-party data on a customer data platform (CDP).

It’s no surprise that first-party data sits siloed in most organizations, which prevents a holistic view of customers. Without a unified profile of their behaviors and intent, you’ll fail to relevantly market to consumers. CDPs are one piece of technology that can help you both acquire and retain customers by delivering personalized experiences at scale along the customer journey. They should provide marketers with more control over their data with features such as data collection, profile unification, and segmentation so they can activate campaigns with greater speed and effectiveness. Look for CDPs that are easy to implement with low or no code, can be integrated with your existing technology, and deliver transparency and control.

2. Create a plan to enrich your first-party data.

You need to enhance your owned data with other information to execute more targeted marketing campaigns across channels. You can find partners with enriched data sets from other owned and operated properties, digital publishers, and ecosystem partners. The best ones will have a proven track record of using permission-based, first-party data, not third-party cookies. In addition, look for vendors whose people-based approach meets if not exceeds current global legislation when it comes to opt-in and data-sharing regulations.

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3. Be intentional in how you collect data to promote value exchange.

Instead of misaligned ads and communications, new first-party-based identity solutions give brands a chance to boost loyalty and deliver increased value. The great news is that because first-party data is opted-in data, you will have more accurate, permissioned information that helps you establish a direct relationship with a consumer. And at the very root of collecting more of this data is the delivery of value-added content such as surveys, social media and email offers. This type of value exchange helps consumers feel recognized, heard and special. It’s hard to find a negative in that. Remember to slowly and deliberately ask consumers for more of this data over time. You don’t want to barrage them and turn them off from wanting to share more about themselves.

4. Have a strategy for zero-party data, too.

Zero-party data is intentionally and proactively shared by a consumer with a brand, which is why it’s so valuable. Things like gender, budget, family makeup, and food preferences all qualify as zero-party data that can help you further personalize your marketing. Retailers should unpack their entire customer journey and identify ways and places in which zero-party data can be collected. For instance, with curbside pickup, how can you engage your customer with a short survey while they’re waiting? Or perhaps you can try in-aisle QR codes to engage customers on new products. Other ideas include registering for a newsletter or an app, an email preference center, and social media stories — the list is truly endless.

Retail has changed forever. The way to stop customer churn and build relationships that generate loyalty in this new world is by having a bulletproof strategy for your owned data. You can turn the cookie-less future into a competitive advantage for your business by using consumer data to design the types of experiences that build lifelong brand advocates.

Melissa Tatoris is vice president of retail at Zeta Global, a cloud-based marketing technology company that empowers enterprises to acquire, grow, and retain customers.

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