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Zero & First Party Data: Elevating Your Marketing Strategy

Jenny Brenner - Group Director, Digital Strategy + CRM Solutions

Thinking about expanding your datasets to include zero-party? Jenny provides an overview and key considerations below.

What are the differences between the two data types?

Zero-party data is information that prospects, clients and customers proactively share with your brand, while first-party data is information — both supplied and observed — created as they interact with your brand.

Both data types require a strong value proposition for collection; this typically needs to be more explicit for zero-party data, since the request for information comes outside of a typical business engagement or exchange.

Both require strict compliance to collect and keep. While zero-party data is voluntarily created for use, first-party data is created out of business interactions, and reliant on a combination of prerequisite consent data, privacy policy and regulations.

How can brands use zero-party data and first-party data?

Since first-party data is interaction-based, brands can use it to gain business intelligence and understand aspects of their marketing funnel, customer lifecycle and owned digital properties in depth. This includes prospect experiences, customer segmentation, journeys and product feedback. It can also inform offer decisioning, optimization and deployment opportunities CRM/CRO programming, and inform the right audiences with media partners for outreach and modeling. While some first-party data is easily applied to marketing from the get-go, more robust insights and applications require analysis.

Zero-party data by nature is more turnkey, if you can drive interaction rates. It is most often collected via short prompts and campaigns in a format that’s well-suited for fast application. It’s not as valuable as first-party data for rich insights, but enables brands to gain quick, actionable learnings about their audiences. Zero-party data enables timely personalization of messaging and content at the 1:1 level, but it is only as strong as the data coverage you receive for broader applications, so brands are less likely to be reliant on it for business intelligence.

Both data types can provide significant value when used together. Brands tend to start with first-party data, since it has broad channel coverage, includes transactional behavior and has the potential for both short- and long-term actionability. Then, use zero-party data campaigns as a supplementary tool for quick learnings as needed, or to fill gaps in a brand’s understanding, until comparable first-party data can be created.

What are the main challenges and opportunities?

First- and zero- party data, when used together, can help increase the relevancy, personalization and performance of a brand’s marketing efforts, and with some analysis also provide essential business intelligence.

To collect and leverage both data types successfully, brands need to establish compliant data processes and policies, and a value proposition that prioritizes the customer.

First- and zero-party data are challenging to scale, since they are limited by your brand’s interactions with your customer base. Depending on the business objective and delivery channel, leveraging additional, external data sources may provide benefits.

What else needs to be considered?

First-party data is going to become increasingly more important as digital ecosystem privacy regulations increase. Brands that ramp up their first- and zero-party data strategies may see a competitive advantage.

Jenny Brenner is the Group Director of Digital Strategy and CRM Solutions at 9Rooftops. Working across a multitude of clients and industries, Jenny leads a team of CRM, Loyalty and Marketing Technology strategists and the innovative, data-driven solutions 9R delivers in those areas. Her pivotal role in creating comprehensive digital experiences and transformative programs is key to enhancing and cultivating enduring customer relationships for brands.

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