Trust. Personalization. Privacy. Increasing ROI and Deepening Consumer Relationships.

BY DWENYA POUNCY, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY AT DEFINITION 6

The post-pandemic surge of digital commerce and virtual experiences coupled with the move to a cookie-less world make a company’s ability to leverage data to personalize both digital engagement and touchpoints more crucial than ever before. A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study reports that 72% of North American customers said they would stop buying from a company or using a service because of privacy concerns. 

The initial, fear-based reaction to a cookie-less world is slowly giving way to optimism, as organizations realize what D6 has been advocating all along—that this is an opportune time to begin building databases of higher-engaging, active consumers. For example, ~78% of customers are more likely to purchase, repurchase and/or recommend companies to friends and family for brands that personalize.   


Introducing or deepening personalization efforts expands the opportunity for companies to be transparent with their customers about the mutually beneficial use of their data, which builds trust and alleviates some of the privacy concerns. In a study conducted by Axway, 60% of people globally find value in allowing companies to access their personal data, if it means a better experience. In that same study it was found that 45% of U.S. citizens feel that companies are transparent about data use, higher than the global benchmark of 37%—meaning consumers want privacy and control over their data along with greater transparency, as well as the ability to engage closely with brands that they have a high affinity for—all of which personalization enables.  

DEFINITION 6 focuses heavily on how best to utilize first-party data to provide impactful and high-performing consumer experiences (CX). To thrive in the fast-approaching cookie-less environment, companies should expand emphasis on and allocate budget to stronger customer acquisition efforts into owned digital environments. Brands should also focus on growing and nurturing their existing databases, deepening relationship-building through personalized, relevant CX.  

This begs the questions for many brands: “Are we truly leveraging the data that we have to attract more qualified customers?” and “What additional efforts are required to acquire new audiences, and what will the financial impact be in terms of sales and customer lifetime value?” 

A few best practices and areas of consideration include: 

  • First-party data should guide all strategic decision-making across the entire customer life cycle. 
    • Companies with clearly defined, marketing-led personalization were 38% more likely to earn 400% ROI or more. 
  • Create relevant experiences for audiences that position your brand as an industry authority to improve brand perception.
    •  Deliver personalized, meaningful content, offers, and experience at appropriate times and even in real-time.
  • Enable user configuration delivery, content opt-in, and user preferences, giving consumers a chance to select how they want to engage with the brand. 
  • Engage partners that are already rooted in privacy-safe, human-centric data, similar to Definition 6’s AI-driven consumer intelligence platform that delivers fresh, proprietary, and hyper-relevant consumer research. A full 70% of companies that used advanced personalization earned 200% ROI or more. 
  • Build meaningful, strong loyalty programs that acquire and keep audiences actively engaged. Some 63% of US online adults are motivated to share personal information in exchange for perks like cash, rewards, loyalty points, early access to new products, and other enticements that they view as valuable.  
    • Loyalty programs, long relied on for their ability to reward and encourage purchase behavior, can also help brands collect zero-party data from consumers to resolve data deprecation concerns.   
      • A McKinsey study reveals that, on average, active loyalty program members spend 10% more than someone who is enrolled but not active, and members who redeem rewards spend 25% more than enrolled but inactive members. 
  • Consumers’ voice/word of mouth is going to become stronger in a cookie-less world.   
    • Semrush reports: 
      • 90% of people are much more likely to trust a recommended brand (even when the recommendation comes from strangers).  
      • 88% of people had the highest level of trust in a brand when a friend or family member recommended it.  

The fact is that today’s marketers and customer experience professionals should be heavily investing in avenues that allow them to push relevant, targeted content and marketing campaigns that help customers and prospects make informed buying decisions, based on zero-party or first-party data.   

While a third-party cookie-less world does have major implications for companies, we believe it will be a service to consumers, and an opportunity for organizations to strengthen their relationships through data transparency and the delivery of relevant effective communications to their audience—now more than they ever have before. 

Sources: 

Dwenya Pouncy is the Director of Strategy at DEFINITION 6. She brings over 18 years of experience in connecting brands with consumers. Her ideas and approaches have led to double- and triple-digit increases for brands like Kylie Jenner Skin Care, GameStop, Victoria’s Secret, Levi Strauss, JCPenney and more.