16 February 2021, par Anne-Sophie Vachon, Strategy

Mommy, they ate all my cookies!

Legislation regarding the use of consumers digital data (cookies) keep multiplying in favour of more security and protection of users. I’m sharing here my vision of how we can free ourselves from our independence over these crumbles that keep disappearing.

 

While digital has been leading the conversations for many years, in the last few at least, data is the new buzzword. It is even more true in the media environment in which we operate. Thanks to highly connected partners (hey Facebook, Google and friends!), digital planning is now like an open bar on audiences!

 

Tell me an interest, I will tell you where to go.
Draw me a profile and I will reach it for you.

 

Many data sources come to nourish the access to consumers’ information, part of which are these famous cookies.

 

And over the last three years, movements aiming at protecting users’ privacy are growing fast. The life expectancy of cookies is continually shortening, but 2022 really appears to be the year of their extinction if we read through the Mayan calendar…or should we say Google calendar. GDPR, CCPA, iOS 14 are eating crumbles in bigger bites, hiding some, making it harder for advertisers and media gurus to track down Hansel!

 

Documentaries such as Netflix’s Social Dilemma shed light on what is hiding behind every single user’s action on digital platforms. We can certainly expect that governments and tech companies take action in the near future for cleaner, consensual and ethic use of data.

 

To sum it up, with cookies disappearing, we are blurring the binoculars that served marketers to spy on their consumers. After few years with HD vision, we must take the shock, but most of all we should already and quickly be working on a Plan B. Here are a few avenues:

 

  • Back to Basics – Strategy

When planning traditional media, we used to know a lot on our consumers. We had to learn about their consumption to know where they can be found. It is still time to use the infinite amount of data at hand to get a clear view on our current consumers and on the most promising consumer pools. Do your homework as marketers and study the market more than you ever had. Unfortunately, the strategy development process did not adapt efficiently to the new cookie-less reality – always relying on data to be the hero of the day. Now is time for creative agencies, media agencies and clients to gather all their knowledge together and elevate the strategies. Also consider bringing IT guys to the party!

 

  • Back to Basics – Planning

This advice is specially true for brands largely relying on digital for their operations and marketing : let’s go back to the basics of planning where the variety of touchpoints and channels, as well as  a healthy ratio of reach and frequency, was at the foundation of the planning process. That will also mean that we do not give all our money to the big players by favouring a variety of channels and platforms. It should end up paying for local media and businesses – killing two birds with one stone!

 

  • 1st Party Data

It will become harder and harder to put a hand on data that is not your own. That means that your owned data (1st party data) become a gold mine to leverage. It will serve to take the pulse of your brand and industry, but also an important tool to leverage for your marketing and media executions. Your CRM should be taken advantage of, so should your fans. If your CRM is poorly populated or disorganized, let’s put yourself to work. And before throwing a contest to gather emails, you might want to consider win-win options for you and your consumers.  Fidelity programs are an easy example of this, but there are other ways – for companies selling hard products, connected objects is opening a door to endless possibilities.

 

  • No CRM? At least you got DNA

CRM data usage can be an easy solution for digitally developed companies, but for some industries, like CPG, it is a totally different deal. While demographic targeting is not so cool these days, psychographic rose gracefully and is centered to the 3rd party data we have a hard time letting go. The beauty of a psychographic approach is that it is based on interests and ways of living. Find the DNA of your brand and look for environment that share this DNA. That way you might naturally end up talking to your target audience and we might even notice a shift towards coherent and natural marketing, less annoying and polluting: a dream come true!

 

I might be an eternal optimistic, a bit naïve, always dreaming of a marketing that is purer, creative, and smoothly integrated to the environment, but I am no fool. Techno geeks behind the Facebook and Google of this world and behind connected objects already have found new ways to track tomorrow’s consumers.

 

Photo: Dex Ezekiel

 

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