Using first-party data to drive impact throughout the B2B buyer’s journey

Using first-party data to drive impact throughout the B2B buyer’s journey

Published: January 25, 2024 by Scott LoSasso
Categories: Data, Marketing automation, Media

With the renewed focus on the phaseout of third-party cookies by Google in 2024, and increased attention to data privacy in the US, marketers need to rely more heavily on their first-party data.

While many B2C and D2C businesses have fully embraced first-party data, there are big opportunities for performance improvement in the B2B space.

Luckily, good data can be leveraged at every stage of the B2B customer journey. By taking a more thoughtful approach to data management, analysis and activation, B2B marketers can ready themselves for the change and gain valuable insights that will enable them to personalize interactions and optimize digital media campaigns to drive business and foster greater customer loyalty.


Movers + Makers | Episode 2: Supercharge Your Marketing with First-Party Data

Understanding and assessing your first-party data

First-party data is information collected directly from your customers and prospects. This includes things like email addresses, purchase history and website behavior. Unlike second or third-party data, which is bought from other sources, first-party data is captured and managed by you—and is under your control. It’s also representative of people who are already interested in and interacting with your brand, allowing you to target effectively, model look-alike data sets and stay comfortably in compliance with privacy standards.

The first step in elevating your first-party data game is to understand what data your company is currently collecting. Typical sources of first-party data available to marketers include:

  • Website or mobile app analytics – what people are looking at and doing on your website, and what actions they are taking if you have an app
  • CRM data – customer data, industry, company, job title, phone number, e-commerce, POS or other purchase history
  • Social media analytics – what people are sharing and reacting to on your social channels
  • Online surveys – what people are saying when you ask for their opinion
  • Customer service/feedback tools – insights on customer satisfaction and identifying areas for improvement
  • Email analytics – what topics are capturing attention, getting clicks and driving outcomes

Working with your company’s internal team or with help from an outside partner, audit what’s available and assess the general quality and accuracy of your data. Aggregating, cleaning and activating data in a Customer Data Platform (CDP) can help streamline this process. Establishing a central data source is a powerful way to combine fragmented data, clean it up, put it to use and track impact over time.

Ideas for activating first-party data

Once you have established what data is available to you, there are several tactics you should consider for activation, including:

1) Segmentation

Audience segmentation is a powerful way to use first-party data in modern marketing programs. Who are your best customers and prospects? How are they similar? By segmenting your audience based on demographic, firmographic (company characteristics) and behavioral data, you can deliver targeted marketing campaigns that are more likely to resonate with each segment. Messages and content that are tightly aligned with the needs and interests of a specific part of your target audience can increase conversion rates and improve the overall effectiveness of your efforts.

2) Personalization

Taking segmentation one step further, personalization is another fruitful use of first-party data. By collecting and applying customer data, you can create personalized experiences for individual customers. This can include customized emails, product recommendations and even website content unique to each visitor. By delivering greater relevance, you build stronger relationships with your customers, increasing engagement and loyalty over time.

3) Lookalike audiences

Although losing third-party cookies will make it harder to identify target audiences, platforms with logins like Facebook and LinkedIn will continue to have robust demographic, firmographic, interest and behavioral data. Building profiles based on your best customers and prospects to use for targeting on these platforms will become even more important as access to third-party targeting data decreases.

4) Retargeting

Retargeting is a powerful way to use first-party data to reach customers who have shown interest in your brand. By using data from website visits or abandoned shopping carts, you can create targeted ads that remind customers of solutions or services they were interested in. This can increase conversions and bring customers back to your site. Additionally, with the right permission, CRM data like phone numbers can be used to reach existing customers in new ways, such as through SMS campaigns.

5) Customer insights

First-party data can provide valuable insights into your customers’ behaviors and preferences. By analyzing this data, you can identify patterns and trends to help you optimize your marketing strategy. For example, you may discover that certain products are more popular with a specific demographic, or that particular channels are more effective for reaching certain segments of your audience.

6) Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics is a type of data analysis that uses statistical algorithms and machine learning to identify patterns and trends in data and make predictions about future outcomes. This approach can be used in many ways, like identifying potential customers for particular product upgrades, flagging existing customers who are likely to churn or identifying content most likely to drive engagement with particular audiences.

7) Negotiating

When you bring specific targeting and performance data into discussions with publishers, you're no longer relying on their data alone. This can help make negotiations and placements more strategic. As an example, you can use your performance data to challenge them to drive traffic or leads more competitively. You can also identify content and other connection opportunities that align more specifically with who you are trying to reach and how you are positioning your brand.

Maximize impact with information

In conclusion, first-party data is a valuable asset for modern B2B marketing programs. By using your data to personalize, segment, retarget, predict and gain insights into your customers, you can create more effective marketing campaigns that build trust and add value at every stage of the B2B customer journey.

Whether you are establishing awareness at the top of the funnel, generating interest and driving sales deeper in the funnel, or keeping existing customers engaged and thinking about how you can help them with their next issue, understanding who they are and what they are interested in is essential. And by tracking, analyzing and applying your first-party data, you gain a powerful path forward to energize your sales and marketing performance for growth.

Want to learn more about how to leverage your data for stronger marketing impact? Reach out to our team!