Core Marketing’s Conor Murphy talks about the demise of third-party cookies and how online marketers can respond.
Forty -six minutes into the latter part of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Stephen Donald kicked the winning score. New Zealand held off a revived Frenchman to take their first trophy at Webb Ellis in 24 years. Despite being the fourth option in the half, a series of injuries to other players saw Donald called up to the squad, and he played a key role in a tense match.
To grow as a team and win, New Zealand has many hurdles to overcome. In addition to the injuries, there was pressure of being the team’s number one team in the world, playing at home in front of their own popular demanding fans who called them “chokers” based on their poor performance in 2007 World Cup. With all that to argue, how did they do it?
They succeeded because they controlled what they could control; focused on what they could do from within and used that as the foundation for their ultimate success. Despite injuries that were out of their control, it made no sense that Donald kicked the winning mark because they prepared it before even shortening the team in the preliminary tournament. This means that when Donald was called to camp two weeks before the final, he knew what was expected of him.
With a similar performance marketing strategy, organizations can achieve sustainable growth, despite external factors. Performance marketing faces a lot of unknowns at present, nothing more than coming soon demise of third-party cookies next year. But, with an internal focus and in controlling what you can control, organizations can lay a solid foundation for growth. Here are three critical areas to focus on.
Integrating brand marketing and performance
Performance marketers can no longer look at brand counterparts as competitors. The brand is one of our most powerful weapons. In an essay in 2020, Tom Roach correctly argued that “long-term v short-term is probably the most cited wrong marketing option.”
Delivering lasting growth is not just a case of making the right decision between brand marketing or performance. You have to do the same. Brands need short -term sales to ensure they are around to have a long -term future. Performance marketing requires a strong brand to help deliver an immediate impact on sales.
Brand and performance fell because, as Roach said, tech giants have given businesses of all sizes a giant, ready -made direct response ecosystem. The ability to purchase an “off the shelf” in-market audience through third-party cookies reduces the need to first build meaningful connections through the brand. It’s a shortcut, and because it creates immediate results, we’re hooked on it.
However, Google Chrome will follow Firefox and Safari to block third-party cookies from 2022. This will affect the impact of marketers ’ability to deliver targeted and personalized advertising. Now it’s time to combine the two opponents. This will require a clear overall strategy to be delivered at the brand level and through performance. It means being fluid and agile in everything: how teams are built; the movement of budgets; the tactic deployed. For scalability, separate but complementary KPIs for the different strategies need to be defined.
Have first-party data actionable
With third-party cookies gone from 2022, it won’t be enough to rely on the publisher’s first-party or second-party data to fill the gap left by their loss. Due to demand, first and second party data will be more expensive. The need to build strong connections with audiences that generate your own first -party data will be critical to ensure that marketers don’t rely too heavily on other companies ’data to drive performance.
Persuasive first-party data will be instrumental in delivering sales in the near term, and in maintaining sustainable long-term growth. Critically, for organizations, this means incorporating a layer within the digital strategy purely focused on delivering first -party data based on permission to act for marketing purposes.
Data privacy is a hot topic – the GDPR is finally starting to do the things it threatens to do in 2018. The main thing is to structure your data in a sustainable manner. First, get only what you need. Do not overdo it. Be clear on what you are collecting, why, and where it will be used.
Second, recognize that if you ask people for permission to use their data, you should actually offer them something in return. This does not mean simply selling them a product. You need to add value above and beyond. But, by correcting these aspects, your organization will be better able to have first-party data that can be acted upon.
Do more with your existing customers
Acquisition agencies typically focus on their clients, but similar techniques applied to activating sales through performance marketing can be used for retention. Having generated first party data, partner with the right agencies and tech partners to ensure you deliver relevant, timely messages to those with suspected passions.
Take it one step further and leverage both customer data to cross-sell and up-sell. Loyalty and advocacy fuel through repeat buying: generate sales now and reduce acquisition costs in the future. Prospecting will soon be intensified and costly. Offset that by doing more of what you have.
An important point here is not to rush to the level of marketing performance – take small steps. Start with tests on different audience / product segments and build from there. A great first win could be the ability to get customers to just buy a product from your procurement campaign and have that happen in real time. Starting small allows organizations to explore more sophisticated use of their data to drive sales performance.
Control the controls
Like the New Zealand rugby team in 2011, there are many external factors that they cannot control. However, the team focused on what they could control, not on what they couldn’t. Focusing on what they can directly influence has improved their overall performance.
Take the approach to your performance marketing strategies. Many do not know what will happen in 2022 with the demise of third-party cookies. All of that is out of our control right now. However, by focusing on what is within our influence, we can set ourselves up for success, not just in 2022 but beyond. Focus on your brand, your data, and your customers.
But do it now.
Ni Conor Murphy
Conor Murphy is a consultant to marketing communications company, Core Marketing.