North Star goals for category leaders: First-party customer view

by Lindsey Francy Jan 30, 2023 News
North Star goals for category leaders: First-party customer view

This is the second part of a four part series on the North Star goals. One-to-one personalization can be found here.

Sometimes customers have different needs. Keeping a high level of data privacy is important to them. Good stewardship of customers' private information is a win-win for brands.

My newest book, "House of the Customer," outlines four North Star goals that every brand should strive for, no matter how aspirational they seem. The first of these goals is to provide a truly one-to-one, personalized customer experience.

In this second article in a four-part series, I will talk about having a truly first-party customer view that protects customers' data and allows the brand to incorporate accurate insights to provide great experiences.

Why is first-party data so important?

You might be wondering what the fuss is all about. Permissions and opt-ins for your email marketing can be obtained with the help of aCRM. First-party data is important because of a number of reasons.

The industry is changing

The marketing technology industry is making changes that are self-regulation. There are some changes that have been made.

  • The deprecation of third-party cookies — with Apple and Microsoft taking the first steps and Google to follow in the months ahead.
  • Less invasive mobile device tracking. 

Privacy-focused data clean rooms are disrupting the use of third-party cookies to target advertisements.

Publishers use this approach to create their own advertising networks and other solutions. It gives marketers and advertisers greater confidence in their ability to reach their audience in a way that is respectful of their privacy.

Data clean rooms are important to us.

Regulatory and compliance needs

Regulations are driving some of the changes in the industry. The world is becoming more transparent in its oversight of consumer data privacy.

Other states in the United States and other countries worldwide follow the lead of the European Union.

Companies of all types and sizes are required for this shift.

  • Secure customer data. 
  • Understand how their customer data is sourced and used.
  • Responsibly utilize it to provide personalized experiences to stay competitive. 

We care about compliance in marketing.


Highly personalized experiences need better, more relevant and accurate data to be provided.

More relevance helps create more customers, loyalty and word of mouth referrals. There is plenty of evidence that supports the claim.

The time is right for brands to use first party data. The fact that your competitors are likely focusing and investing in these areas is also compelling. This makes it even more important to move fast.

Do you know what personalized marketing is and how it's used today?

What are the components of a first-party data strategy?

Let's discuss what goes into creating a first-party data strategy We will look at the three main components.

1. Unified customer views

Creating a single view of the customer across all channels and platforms is one of the first components.

Visibility across our business and the customers journey before, during and after the sale is provided by a single cohesive view of marketing, advertising, customer service and other data.

Sometimes, the second component is a result of the first. There is a need to unify the view of the customer and consolidate the tools used to collect, manage and analyze that data.

A sustainable way to keep a first-party view of customers is to integrate disparate systems or remove overlap. You can use tools like customer journey orchestration and a next best-action approach to take actions based on this view.

3. Data governance

Customer data governance is part of a first party data strategy. Customer satisfaction is affected by inaccurate or incomplete data.

Customer trust is greatly impacted by how you collect, manage and update your data.

Data governance is more than just a single initiative. Consistency in maintenance and training of the teams is required. Guidelines and how customer data is used must be reviewed and updated frequently.

The scope of your first-party data strategy can be overviewed by the three components.

How does this change your marketing approach?

An excellent first-party data strategy involves more than just the right pieces. How you use those pieces is what makes it effective. It may change the way you do some marketing.

It’s time to plant your brand garden

For years, companies have cultivated their first party data.

If you are heavily reliant on third-party data for advertising, start building a strong infrastructure to communicate and sell directly to your customers. Some call it a brand garden.

Don’t just ask more questions — ask the right ones

The need for more first-party data could mean that you need to ask more questions. Sometimes, that isn't the case. The ability to tailor their products and experience better is something customers want you to be able to offer.

If you ask questions that aren't related to the products or services you offer, your customers will lose trust in you. Make sure that your requests for data are relevant and that you show the reward customers receive for sharing more.

A brand garden isn't right for your business. Customers don't have enough time to ask questions.

Use a cooperative approach of sharing first-party data to broaden your ability to reach customers and personalize your offers.

Customer data clean rooms can be included in this approach. Make sure your customers know what you are doing, who you are partnering with, and why it benefits them. Customers are already cautious of their data being shared.

Ensuring your customers understand your process of vetting trusted partners is even more important if you only work with parties you trust.

Some aspects of your marketing may stay the same, but having a greater focus on collecting, utilizing and protecting your customers data will improve and safeguard your brand.

How do I get started?

It doesn't mean starting immediately isn't important, even though dates such as the third-party cookie deprecation still seem in change. If you haven't begun, here are a few ideas.

Determine the current state of your first-party data

Understanding where your organization is on a journey to greater customer data maturity is the first thing you can do. Even if there are many dots to connect, you might be further along than you think.

Evaluate your third-party usage

You should understand where you rely on third-party data and what impact it will have on the industry. If you create a gap analysis, you can start planning right away.

Create a first-party data strategy to fill the gaps

The strategy and implementation plan can be built once you have the first two steps in place.

  • Shore up your first-party customer data gaps.
  • Compensate for any shortcomings your marketing infrastructure will have if you minimize or discontinue the use of third-party data.
  • Build for the future personalized customer experiences your audiences crave.

Strike the right balance in your first-party data strategy

It is possible to balance two sets of customer needs with an effective first-party customer data strategy.

  • First, you will have the capabilities to support a more personalized experience.
  • Second, you will have greater control over your customer data to maintain the highest levels of privacy.

In the third article in this four-part series, I will discuss the importance of brands embracing a customer lifetime value model and the benefits it can bring both the customer and the business.

MarTech is available to get. It's a daily thing. It's free You're in your inbox.

The opinions of the guest author are not those of MarTech. There are staff authors here.

Add MarTech to your Google News feed.    Google News