In the words of Philip Kolter—one of the original Mad Men and fathers of modern marketing strategy:
“The most important thing is to predict where clients are going and stop right in front of them.”
To this end, Studio 3 recently completed an extensive analysis of the most dominant trends in digital marketing today (no, we’re not talking about the Chat GPT hype, yet).
More importantly, the trend we want to cover is why more and more businesses are adopting First-party strategies for their online marketing.
What’s First-party? In digital marketing, there are two main categories of data we use.
Information about users (potential customers) collected by someone other than you. Google Ads is a perfect example—you pay Google to use their platform and their information to market to people on their web pages. That’s third-party.
Information you collect from users directly that you can use to market to them. Collecting someone’s email address for Email Marketing is a great example. Social Media can also fit into this bucket because you gain contact info you can use to reach these people directly.
First-party marketing strategies have a number of advantages:
You “own” the information. If you collect an email address or gain followers on Social Media, these are your marketing assets. You’re not “renting” them like you do advertising space.
It’s cost-effective. Unlike the recurring costs of reaching out to people through advertising; you already have these people’s contact info and the cost to reach out to them is nominal.
Better ROI. The return on investment from Email marketing is routinely far superior to other marketing channels—36 to 1 on average.
Now, there is one "downside" to First-party stragies.
It requires more work to set-up. With Third-party, you can pay for an online ad and 1 minute later it’s live. With First-party, you first have to do the legwork to collect Email addresses and gain Social Media followers before you can market this way.
But, like Professor Kolter also said:
“Companies pay too much attention to the cost of doing something. They should worry more about the cost of not doing it.”
None of this is to say First-party marketing is “better” than Third-party or vice versa. They’re complementary strategies and work at different stages of your marketing/sales funnel. To have a well-rounded marketing strategy, really you should have both.
So, why is there a growing trend towards adopting more First-party strategies in digital?
Privacy Software Updates
In recent years we’ve seen increasing public demand for greater privacy online. The roots of this trend are deep and you’ve watched it unfold. The 2013 leak of NSA documents by Edward Snowden informed the general public their online behavior can be tracked. In 2018, media reports on the Cambridge Analytica scandal sparked public outrage because Facebook was selling users’ information to PR firms and advertisers. These are just two of many notable events that have inspired the trend towards greater privacy online.
How do Privacy Software Updates affect digital marketing?
Well, Big Tech (i.e. Google, Facebook, etc.) originally built its advertising models on their ability to collect tremendous volumes of data about people’s browsing habits and online searches. If Jane Doe was searching for new running shoes, then Google “told” Nike to advertise to Jane Doe. In essence, that’s how Google grew to become the biggest advertising company in the world.
But, due to swelling demand for more privacy, Big Tech has been forced to respond by limiting the amount of data that can be collected about people’s online behavior without their consent.
A huge milestone was in Spring 2021 when Apple introduced its iOS 14.5 software update for iPhones. That update is why you now have the option to tell Apps not to track/follow you. Similar software updates are why websites now must ask you if you do or don’t accept cookies. Google has already announced additional measures to further increase user privacy later in 2023.
What does all of this mean for digital marketing?
Simply put, the way online advertising is done is changing. Not fading. Just evolving. If anyone thinks Google, who makes 80.2% of its revenue from advertising, is going to make changes that might jeopardize its ad business, they’re talking nonsense. Digital advertising will only increase over time.
But, what these Privacy Software Updates have done is open up eyes in the digital marketing world. Many more businesses are waking up to the realization they shouldn’t just rely on a one-dimensional marketing strategy. You need a well-rounded, multi-channel strategy.
What First-party strategies do is help put you more in control of your own marketing destiny. You still use Third-party strategies, but you don’t solely rely on Big Tech resources for all or most of your marketing.
Here is what we’re recommending to clients to take advantage of First-party strategies:
1. Email Marketing
- If you don’t already have a strong Email Marketing strategy in place, get one.
- Email marketing is fantastic for generating repeat business and new referrals.
- It’s also how you nurture your leads to become eventual sign-ups. Too many businesses throw away leads because someone isn’t ready to buy/sign-up now. That’s silly. Instead establish an Email Drip Campaign that automatically keeps in contact with your leads to help move them towards becoming a client in the future.
- You will need an email capture strategy—a way to collect new email addresses. We can help you set this up.
- You will also need to clean-up and segment your email lists, and there are software tools to do this. We can also help you there.
- Finally, you’ll need a content strategy to send out periodic, relevant, helpful, interesting and engaging emails that inspire people to respond and reach out for your services. We have a dedicated Email Marketing team who can assist.
2. Social Media
- If your Social Media Marketing is an afterthought, make it more of a priority.
- Today 92% of businesses have Social Media accounts.
- One of the main reasons why businesses don’t succeed in Social Media is lack of time. In some industries, Influencer Marketing could be a solution. This is one of the fastest growing segments in digital marketing.
- Studio 3 has a team of 14 staff in its Social Media department. If you ever need help figuring out strategies to get on top of your Social Media game, we’re always happy to talk it over and advise.
Keep an eye out for Studio 3's next update soon. We have some big news on the horizon concerning a new milestone in our company strategy to provide even greater service to all of our clients across the four time zones. The opening of our new offices in Tampa, FL, or as we’re calling it, our East Hub.