Let's be honest, third-party cookies have become the creepy "big brother" of the advertising world. Learning about the deprecation of cookies from yet another browser wasn't all that surprising with the rise in digital privacy.
Finding customers without third-party cookies is easier than you think. It begins with your customer data platform.
If you are stressed about the change in third-party cookies, there is a glaringly obvious direction to go... first party data.
First party data is the information your business collects directly from your customers and prospects. This is data that you own. Usually, a business will gather this data from phone calls, emails, surveys, and buying history.
Let's discuss this a little more...
A not so long time ago, marketers spent a high degree of energy on collecting data from customers to build their customer personas. This was (and still is) a fundamental marketing strategy that works.
Below is a generic customer persona to give you an idea about what a persona could look like.
If you're a smart and strategic marketer, then you probably have all of your first party data in a customer data platform, such as your CRM.
What if you've never collected or organized customer data before?
There's no better time to start than today.
Here's a simple method to follow for "finding your tribe" of ideal customers:
1. Go to (or Create) your customer database.
This can be as basic as a spreadsheet or as robust as a CRM with automation or something in between like a basic CRM or customer data platform. The purpose is to have one consolidated place with data about your past and current customers - even better if you also have information on prospects too.
2. Find the Data Gaps
If you haven't been keeping up with your customer data, then there are likely to be gaps in it. Take time to identify your data gaps. This may be something as simple as birthdays or industries.
3. Ask Questions
Now for the fun! Pick up the phone or open up your email inbox and get the answers you need to fill in data gaps. While you may know some things off hand, there are others that you may not know. Perhaps you want to find out how customers found your company to begin with, but you never asked before.
This is a great time to pick up the phone and have a light conversation with customers. It is not about customer service or selling, just a friendly chat.
4. Begin to Evaluate
After you've filled in the data gaps in your customer data platform (whatever it is), it's time to evaluate the information. If you're using a spreadsheet, then try sorting it by one of the columns such as the industry, age, or location.
Your goal here is to find trends. It will not be perfect, but it's a great starting place for finding groups of people and commonalities among your "tribe" of customers.
Assuming you are working on your Lead Generation, the company is likely to be running ads. And this is where the changes in cookies is hurting small and medium sized businesses the most.
Perhaps you have grown accustomed to behavior-based ads. Since you won't be able to track people wherever they go anymore, it's time to go back to the "old school" way of using contextual or content-based ads. These are much less creepy.
Imagine you are typing into Google something like "coffee table" because you are searching for new furniture. When you arrive on someone's blog post that reviews different coffee tables from a variety of brands, you may see an ad from Wayfair promoting a discount on furniture. This is a content-based ad.
Seeing an ad that is relevant to your online search or the website you are visiting makes sense. Consumers are comfortable with this and it is likely to produce positive results for your brand.
If you are applying what you know about your customer personas to how you run paid ads, then you will be able to strategically work on the right messaging and placement. That is where your efforts will go.
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