Are you losing customer data you’ll never get back? (You’re about to need it.)

As Apple’s privacy practices change and resistance to third-party cookie tracking gains momentum, marketers are facing some significant shifts. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take now to keep your marketing going strong.

What you could lose

For years, third-party data has enabled you to put the right campaigns in front of the right people. In the not-too-distant-future, as you lose access to that data, you might no longer know who the right people are. And the last thing you want is to start blasting campaigns to your entire customer base.

The right shoppers will miss the campaigns meant for them, and the wrong shoppers will get fed up and unsubscribe. (Not to mention the media spend!)

It’s not too late to prepare.

The good news is, you have access to plenty of usable data that will tell you what each customer prefers and how to target them best, and that data is available right now.

Think about it. Customers are right this moment responding to your ads, browsing online, purchasing things, using promo codes, and returning products — and the data from those interactions can tell you a lot about each individual customer. Unfortunately, many brands aren’t tracking or saving this information.

Here are some low-barrier steps to help you capture all of your data now, so you can use it later:


1. Do everything you can to identify individual customers on your site — and retain their specific interactions.
  • Add customer identifiers in the tracking parameters of your email campaigns.
    Take simple steps to identify more of your web traffic and understand what each customer is looking at, buying, etc.
  • Capture identifiers for each site visitor.
    Use your ecommerce site’s data layer and web analytics to identify online purchasers and authenticated site visitors.
2. Capture as much information as possible from your in-store shoppers.
  • Implement a loyalty program.
    Incentivize your customers to provide their email or other personally identifiable information at the point of sale.
  • Offer email or text receipts at the point of sale.
    This is a great way to add value and convenience, while also capturing identifiable data.
  • Bonus: Launch a private-label credit card and/or develop an app.
    These are heavier lifts, but they’re extremely powerful ways to collect customer data (and build loyalty).
3. Align your systems so it’s clear which products, promotions, and product categories are meaningful to each customer.
  • Develop a hierarchy for each type of promotion, and include identifying details with every campaign.
    Keep close track of what promotional offers each customer is responding to, where they’re receiving those offers, and where they’re redeeming them (online or in store).
  • Standardize your product hierarchy.
    Use consistent product names and product categories across every purchase channel, so it’s crystal clear which types of products each customer cares about most.
  • Bonus: Stitch your customer identities across all transactional and marketing systems.
    If you have multiple lists of customers, consolidate them into one and eliminate duplicate occurrences of the same customer. (And, moving forward, implement best practices to avoid duplicate lists.)
Don’t worry about how to use it. Just start capturing it.

Eventually you’ll need to implement some sort of system for analyzing all of the customer data you’re collecting, whether that’s a SaaS tool, a customer data platform (CDP), or a team of data analysts. But even if you’re not ready for that, start taking the steps above now.

You don’t want to lose the first-party data that’s flowing through your organization today — because once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. And once you have it, you can target your customers with greater accuracy than ever.

Are you ready for the first-party data revolution?

Clario’s coaches are guiding many brands toward data independence. Let us know if we can help.

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