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Adapt Your Marketing Data Analytics for a New Era of Customer Privacy

These companies improved their data strategies to create meaningful customer experiences and improve efficiencies across teams.

Two people at work looking at a laptop, perhaps at marketing data analytics.
Having a vision for your data is critical for any marketing strategy. And building a trusted data foundation is the first step in executing on that vision. [Alina Hvostikova / Stocksy]

The ways companies collect user data have been under the microscope recently, and announcements from Apple and Google are forcing marketing changes across the board. 

These changes are no surprise: They are part of an ongoing trend toward protecting consumer privacy. They complement regional data privacy regulations such as Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA. Taken together, these updates signal a new era in marketing data analytics that reflects a shift in the way companies can use data to understand and create customer experiences.

This has made marketers’ jobs more complex, though not in obvious ways. On the surface, marketing teams still build the various engagements, campaigns, and activations that are part of meaningful customer journeys. But below the surface, there’s a whole world of added complexity as new marketing channels and technology emerge and companies adapt to shifting regulations and consumer expectations. 

To succeed in this new era, it’s crucial for marketers to use data to inform and optimize outcomes. 

To succeed in this new era, it’s crucial for marketers to use data to inform and optimize outcomes. We spoke with cutting-edge marketers from Cox Automotive and Sobeys about charting their own paths forward, and how that’s driving their companies to succeed in today’s digital-first landscape. 

Here’s how those companies adapted their marketing data analytics to become more efficient and improve outcomes across the customer journey. 

Rethink your marketing data analytics strategies

The movement toward consumer privacy protections is accelerating, and that’s a good thing. However, the downstream effects of increased data collection restrictions mean various metrics, like open rates and measurement methods used to benchmark success, are no longer reliable. This has caused marketers to shift their strategies. 

As the previous metrics of success are deprecated and customers are increasingly digital-first, marketers are realizing the importance of having a truly cross-channel view of performance. 

Instead of evaluating marketing channels individually or in silos, they are assessing performance across all investments together as part of a unified strategy. Last year, 68% of marketers described their cross-channel coordination as dynamic as opposed to siloed or duplicated – up from just 31% in 2018. 

Marketers are also more focused on first-party data. Instead of relying on old systems like open-data exchanges to buy audience data, they are modernizing the way they build first-party data assets through the lens of user consent. 

Cox Automotive has spent the past two years building a more complete picture of prospects and clients, including combining role, engagement, and product purchase data from across its brands into a centralized location. Now, teams can target specific audiences with custom product or service messages.

Cox Automotive’s evolved data strategy has allowed them to improve audience segmentation for their outbound communications. They have defined value by segment and role so they have a clear idea of the problems they are solving and the messages they need to convey for each product.

Nearly four in five marketers globally say data quality is key to driving marketing-led growth and the customer experience.

Use automation to free up time for smarter insights

Having a vision for your data is critical for any marketing strategy. And building a trusted data foundation is the first step in executing on that vision. Nearly four in five marketers globally say data quality is key to driving marketing-led growth and the customer experience.

Marketers are using a growing number of different platforms in their tech stack to advertise, engage customers, deliver digital experiences, and drive conversions. This complexity often leads to teams spending too much time on connecting and harmonizing data to create reliable insights instead of optimizing their efforts.

Marketing leaders are investing in automated data governance to relieve their teams of manual data aggregation including managing campaign naming and taxonomy, tracking requirements, data delivery, and QA. 

A proper marketing intelligence platform facilitates data connections, with all clicks and no coding. This ensures marketers spend less time on data prep. But it’s not only about connecting the data. Marketing intelligence helps harmonize it to create a consistent framework that enriches raw data: helping you find actionable insights, rather than get lost in a sea of data points. This can be enhanced further with automated taxonomy management, flexible harmonization logic, and holistic data governance tools.

With an accurate data foundation that evolves with the changing data ecosystem, marketers gain operational efficiencies and can time back to do more testing and learning. The end result drives greater impact for the business by optimizing both time and program ROI.

Instead of focusing on upper-funnel metrics like clicks and opens, marketers can shift KPIs to center on downstream outcomes such as signups and purchases.

Turn insights into outcomes with marketing data analytics

With access to cross-channel and first-party data, marketers can measure customer-based outcomes across an entire marketing journey. Then, they can use those insights to power their goal-driven initiatives. For example, instead of focusing on upper-funnel metrics like clicks and opens, marketers can shift KPIs to center on downstream outcomes such as signups and purchases.

Grocery chain Sobeys is using qualitative and quantitative data to improve how it measures success across the customer lifecycle. 

“What gets measured, gets done,” says Erika De Haas, vice president of marketing communications. “As we continue to build our connected full-funnel experiences through the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, establishing clear baseline benchmarks based on all of the first-party data we have will be critical to not only connecting our experiences but driving their impact and growing our loyal customer base.”

Sobeys’ strategy is to approach the sales funnel as one connected experience with all touchpoints driving toward creating a loyal customer. 

“At the top of the funnel we focus on which emotional benefits drive Canadian families to choose Sobeys. We research brand preference and what matters most is brand ownership and equity,” says De Haas. “As that same customer moves through our funnel, we develop communications and experiences that provide more functional benefits, and success is more measured on transactions.”

De Haas says Sobeys’ success will always be measured by the same metric: Is it providing families with what they need so they continue choosing Sobeys as their place to shop? Now, the team has new tools to achieve that metric across the customer journey. 

“Knowing if our customers engage with our brand at the top of the funnel but drop off in the middle will require a different strategy than if they’re engaged at the middle but drop at the store,” she says. “Monitoring our data in a holistic way will be the difference-maker that ensures we are connecting our customers with our brand throughout the entirety of their journey with us.”

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