July 19, 2023
A business cannot thrive without its customers – in business-to-business (B2B) advertising, customer data has emerged as the currency for success. This customer information allows marketers to understand their audience better, build the right campaigns, and maximize marketing ROI.
While the collection of customer data helps to boost the success of a business, one process can prove more detrimental than others: data buying. When buying data, businesses purchase consumer information to better target and sell to specific audiences. The problem? There’s no telling how accurate this data actually is, and even if it is accurate, it’s unclear just how this data was collected (many data collectors keep this process secretive for a reason). Using bought data can prove risky, both in terms of the performance of your business and within the legality of data collection itself.
Alternatives to this potentially risky data buying strategy are first-party data and zero-party data. Both data types prove pivotal for data collection and come without the risks of data buying. In this blog post, we will explore the definitions and importance of each of these data types and how they drive effective advertising strategies.
Understanding First-Party Data
First-party data is the proprietary data that you own and control. This data refers to the information collected directly from your audience through their interactions with your brand – website visits, purchase history, subscription preferences, social media engagements, and more.
Importance of First-Party Data in B2B Advertising:
- Enhanced Audience Segmentation: By harnessing first-party data, advertisers can segment their audience based on specific attributes, such as job title, industry, company size, or purchasing behavior. This segmentation enables personalized messaging, targeting the right prospects, and delivering relevant content at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Improved Account-Based Marketing (ABM): ABM is a popular B2B advertising strategy that focuses on targeting specific accounts – this targeting cannot be done without customer data to go along with it. First-party data empowers ABM efforts by providing insights into target accounts’ activities and preferences and allows advertisers to create tailored campaigns that resonate with these accounts, resulting in higher engagement, increased conversion rates, and overall better-targeted marketing.
- Precise Measurement and Attribution: By utilizing first-party data, advertisers can accurately measure campaign performance and marketing efforts. Marketers can track campaign statistics, see which channels or touchpoints drive the most conversions, and optimize advertising strategies accordingly. This data-driven approach ensures that B2B advertisers can make informed decisions, allocate budgets effectively, and optimize their return on investment.
Understanding Zero-Party Data
Zero-party data is the most customer-involved type of data. Zero-Party Data is the information that customers explicitly provide to businesses. This data is collected directly from customers and is shared through surveys, quizzes, feedback forms, preference centers, and interactive content.
Importance of Zero Party Data in B2B Advertising:
- Personalization at Scale: Zero-party data offers a direct understanding of individual customers’ preferences and needs. By collecting this data, B2B advertisers can adjust their advertising messages at the most personal level, tailoring content and offerings to align with customer-provided preferences. This personalization drives customer engagement, trust, and, ultimately, conversions.
- Building Customer Trust and Loyalty: The transparency associated with zero-party data collection fosters trust between businesses and customers. When businesses actively use their customers’ preferences and interests, it establishes that their thoughts are being heard. This helps to build stronger customer relationships, enhance brand loyalty, and drive long-term business success.
- Informing Product Development: Zero-party data allows businesses to read between the lines and see what customers want, what they don’t want, and what they are missing. A more personal look into customer data shows that a business is taking into account anything that needs to be changed, and in the long run, it enhances the product development process and ensures a competitive edge in the market.
Data Collection Best Practices
Using customer data can be a great starting point for campaigns, allowing businesses to really cater to their audiences. Using this data shows that a business isn’t running a campaign just for clicks but to build their strategies and build on decisions properly.
To get the most out of your data, optimizing data collection can prove successful – making surveys and feedback forms more engaging allows for a more in-depth look into customer data. Different content, like case studies and guides, can also allow for successful data collection, drawing in more customers and garnering better insight into what is doing well and what isn’t.
In addition, being transparent with your customers that their data is being collected in the first place provides trust between business and customer. Both first-party data and zero-party data allow for minimally-invasive data collection.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of business-to-business advertising, gathering first-party and zero-party data has become crucial for success. Data collection allows campaigns to evolve and thrive, businesses to understand their audiences, and customers to feel heard. When buying data, consider the more customer-friendly alternative instead – they’re beneficial in more ways than you may think!