How to Apply First-Party Data to Enhance Customer Experience

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In a previous post, we talked about how a digital transformation initiative starts with first-party data, an asset that every business has in some capacity. Once you’ve taken the steps outlined in that post to understand where in your organization this data lives, and how to centralize it, you can begin utilizing it to better connect with your customers. This ultimately improves business outcomes.

The importance of first-party data today

First-party data has grown increasingly imperative as data privacy law and browser changes have taken effect. While many businesses used to heavily rely on third-party data to enhance their understanding of customers and prospects, that data type has become increasingly unreliable. With Google’s plans to deprecate third-party cookies later in 2023, businesses would be wise to start weaning themselves off of third-party data.

Even if third-party cookies weren’t going away, there are major benefits to first-party data over third-party data. The latter is based more on assumptions about your target customers while the former is information an internet user has consented to give your business. The fact that this first-party data comes directly from a user is what makes it so much more valuable, accurate and safer than other data sources.

First-party data comes in many forms, not limited to:

  • CRM: Information about your customers and prospects
  • Demographics: Gender, age range, income, employment status and more
  • Customer purchase history: Which products a customer bought or returned
  • Website: User actions across your website and apps
  • Social media: Commentary and DMs with customers and prospects
  • Surveys: Information solicited via online surveys and polls
  • Online chat transcripts: Conversations with customer service or chatbots
  • Customer feedback: Customer reviews and ratings given to you directly or via sites like Google

Segment your database

Segmented email marketing campaigns deliver a 760% increase in email revenue over regular promotional emails. Your first-party data can help you segment your audience to design customized emails specific to each group. There are so many ways you can do this: by geography, persona, past purchases, stage of the buyer journey and so much more. You can also A/B test subject lines, headlines and other email components to gauge which ones produce the best response from each segment.

Acquire new customers

With customer acquisition costs rising due to the increasing inability to track and target consumers in traditional ways, brands will need their first-party data to fill in the gaps.

First-party data forms the basis of robust customer profiles. You can leverage the knowledge you have around these existing profiles to model your highest-value customers and target lookalike prospects. A first-party data foundation can strengthen both the accuracy of your targeting and the customer experience because you have more reliable information about their interests, behaviors, preferences and demographics. The bonus: lower cost per acquisition from utilizing your customer’s engagement profile.

Better understand customer preferences and behaviors

First-party can help you get a full picture of your customers to understand their communication preferences and how they like to receive billing statements and pay their bills. This carries the benefit of not only providing a better customer experience but also allocating existing marketing dollars more efficiently. Understanding the response to different offline and online channels helps you choose the best marketing mix for your business goals.

Craft cross-sell and upsell messaging

Cross-selling can increase sales by 20% and profits by 30%. Start by reviewing first-party customer data to see which opportunities exist based on prior purchase history, then plan to upsell or cross-sell through your billing/payment portal or on an e-statement.

For example, an automotive financial services company could promote the latest car model on an e-statement, or a lender could offer a better mortgage rate when a customer is paying their bill. You can surface centralized, user-level behavioral data to send these messages across channels, including using drag-and-drop, interactive PDF statements to message paperless adopters.

Make changes in real-time

You can never assume a customer will continue to behave the same way they always have. Customer preferences and behavior change based on a number of factors and being able to apply first-party data in the moment to stay in tune with these shifts is critical. You can use first-party data to orchestrate a seamless experience for the customer with messaging that changes to fit the new dynamic of the conversation.

But being nimble in this way is not easy. You need the right technology partner to help you plan out and execute your strategy. A platform with interconnected communication solutions, that allows each customer’s interaction to flow into the next with all the details, data and preferences preserved, is how you can apply first-party data to make real-time adjustments.

Drive to digital adoption and payment

You can use first-party data to understand where customers are in their digital adoption journey. Use messaging across channels like email, print and digital ads that reminds customers to sign up for online bill pay, and then evaluate your first-party data to gauge how they’re responding.

You can also use your first-party data to combine transactional notices and marketing messages to improve digital platform awareness and usage. Integrating these two buckets of communications across SMS, email, ringless voicemail, print and web helps you better personalize the customer journey.

Use existing first-party data to get more data

Here’s the thing about first-party customer data: the more quality information you have, the more quality information you can get. Because quality first-party data helps you better personalize communications, customers will be more likely to share more of their information so they can continue having a relevant dialogue with you. You can collect demographic information through opt-in forms and surveys and behavioral data through email marketing metrics and social media insights, to name a few methods. 

There’s a bigger-picture goal here in helping to build a stronger value exchange between you and your customer, which is how marketing communications gradually improve over time to spark more conversions.

Do more with your first-party data with EverView

The EverView platform can help you use first-party data to meet your customers wherever they are, let them pay however they want and create long-term loyalty. With the ability to orchestrate, capture and analyze so many interactions, we give you a clearer and more detailed picture of who your customers actually are. Get in touch today to learn more. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published June 6, 2022 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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