Privacy-first marketing is the future in a cookieless world — whether brands are prepared for it or not.
Take it from the 41% of ad buyers who said their greatest concern regarding media spend and measurement in 2021 was that their organizations didn’t understand the ramifications of consumer privacy regulations and third-party cookie deprecation (among other changes to consumer identifiers).
Every organization must take a long, hard look at how industry changes will impact their business use cases. Next steps may differ depending on the vertical and current business model, but all brands will have one thing in common: a need to shore up their business strategy with authenticated first-party data.
Retail company Canadian Tire Corporation understands the role of high-quality data in achieving customer centricity. The organization — which spans automotive, hardware, sports, leisure and housewares brands — has been working for years to transform customer insights into exceptional customer experiences.
In our recent webinar — How First-Party Data is Reshaping Digital Advertising — we spoke to Canadian Tire Corporation about its approach to collecting and using first-party data for customer engagement. Here are the top three takeaways from that discussion.
Powering Privacy-First Marketing: 3 Tips From Canadian Tire
1. Use First-Party Data to Increase CLTV
Before brands can reap the rewards of first-party data, they have to convince customers it’s worth sharing.
“To remain successful, there has to be an ongoing value exchange between the customer and the brand,” said Greg Shelly, Vice President of Enterprise Digital Marketing at Canadian Tire Corporation. “We need to understand what it is that customers appreciate, where the brand does well and where they’re leaning in and transacting with us.”
And what does value look like to today’s consumers?
“Maybe it’s a loyalty program,” Shelly said. “Maybe it’s some sort of reward system that you have in place, or maybe it’s just relevancy.”
But after giving customers a reason to share their personal information, it’s important to focus on deepening relationships and increasing customer lifetime value (CLTV), not just trying to sell a few more products.
“I think the mistake people can fall into or the trap can be that you think it just helps you sell more,” Shelly said. “If you’re looking at CLTV … maybe getting them onto your app is more valuable than selling them something on that date, because over the long term [a customer that uses your app] becomes more valuable.”
Ultimately, it comes down to understanding what the key drivers of CLTV are for your business and using first-party data to inform campaigns that will fuel them.
“Being customer-centric to us, it just means that the data we are collecting, we are using it to actually build our programs and inform how we talk to customers,” Shelly said.
2. Make Sure Your Martech Stack Can Keep Up
The technology brands use to unify, analyze and activate customer data is paramount.
With a large portfolio of brands, Canadian Tire Corporation found itself navigating multiple marketing technology stacks — all made up of tools that couldn’t speak to each other or centralize information.
“We needed a place where it all came together and we could start getting a view of the customer,” Shelly said.
The company invested in a solution that not only provided it with a 360-degree view of its customer base, but enabled everyday business users to uncover insights and take action on them without relying on help from technical teams.
“With ActionIQ, it’s been unbelievable for us because I now have business users on the platform as opposed to data engineers needing to pull things together,” Shelly said. “We’re faster. And we can certainly do a lot more at scale. Our automation obviously has been light-years from where it was even just two or three years ago.”
3. Never Stop Experimenting
Doing something once and then forgetting about it isn’t a recipe for long-term success. To maximize results (with privacy-first marketing and marketing in general), and ensure they’re keeping up with customers’ wants and needs, brands must consistently test and measure the different ways they’re leveraging customer data.
For Canadian Tire Corporation, that meant holdout testing, or excluding certain audience segments from campaigns to understand the impact of marketing on those that receive it.
“It really is as simple as just saying, ‘Let’s have a holdback here,’” Shelly said. “Let’s isolate on that and see if we can drive an impact. So we do that with revenue, but sometimes we’ll do that with experience. We’ll change aspects of the experience and look for all sorts of outcomes, not always transactional. Being customer-centric is knowing through proper experimentation. It opens up so much as far as being able to use your resources more effectively and efficiently.”
And while Canadian Tire Corporation uses its CDP to assist with holdout testing, its experimentation goes beyond its technology stack. The company is also interested in testing how different team structures — focused on outcomes instead of channels — can drive better results.
“You have your classic paid search team, your social team, your whatever team,” Shelly said. “[A shift in paradigm would be asking instead]: What is the outcome of the group and who do we need around the table to help us drive that outcome?”
Shelly highlighted how such an approach could help brands get out of a channel-centric mindset and create more agile business units.
“I truly think it’s all about personalization and the ability to target and measure these outcomes,” Shelly said. “That’s really sort of driving us to question the way that we’ve organized in the past and maybe there’s a better way to do it that gets right to the heart of it.”
Check out the full webinar featuring Canadian Tire Corporation to learn more about how it’s using first-party data to power privacy-first marketing and get inspiration for your own organization.
Learn More About Privacy-First Marketing
Download The Post-Cookie Marketing Playbook to see where you fall on the customer data maturity spectrum and how to develop a successful first-party data strategy in a cookieless world.