How B2B marketers can adapt to a privacy-first world

How B2B marketers can adapt to a privacy-first world

For years, B2B marketers have used the data and technology at their fingertips and leveraged cookies to target the right people at the right time. Yet, the reliance on third-party cookies and the consequent data privacy concerns have spotlighted the fragile balance between personalization and privacy. A growing number of people are concerned about how much of their online activity is tracked—72% feel almost everything they do online is monitored by advertisers or technology firms, while 81% believe the risks associated with data collection outweigh the benefits. The message is clear — the future of B2B marketing lies in respecting and protecting user privacy.

Google‘s 2020 announcement to block third-party cookies by 2024 sent shockwaves through the industry, compelling B2B marketers to rethink their approach to user tracking and targeted advertising. And while Google has once again delayed the phase-out timeline, it serves as a stark reminder that the end of third-party cookies is near, and organizations must use this extra time to adapt to a privacy-focused landscape. The cookie deprecation delay offers a critical opportunity to explore sustainable marketing practices while underlining the need for a strategic pivot.

Allie Kelly

Chief Marketing Officer at Intensify.

A privacy-first approach

While the end of cookies may seem daunting, many emerging technologies and strategies can help maintain effective and ethical audience targeting while meeting evolving privacy standards. With a clear understanding of the changing data privacy landscape and a focus on compliance, here’s how marketers can prepare for the imminent phase-out of third-party cookies, often referred to as the “Cookie Apocalypse,” ensuring marketing programs remain effective:

Prioritize first-party data

The deprecation of third-party cookies elevates the importance of first-party data — data collected directly from interactions with customers and prospects. This includes everything from contact information and purchase history to user behavior on an organization’s website. Leveraging zero-party data, information that customers willingly share, will also become increasingly crucial. By offering value in exchange for data through ebooks, webinars, and free trials, businesses can build a rich, consent-based data repository.

Implementing a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can further help organize and analyze this data, fostering personalized marketing initiatives and enriched customer experiences.

Expand intent signal coverage

Some intent data vendors are adjusting to the cookie-less world by using alternative identifiers to monitor buyer research activities and behaviors. This broader spectrum of buying signals allows B2B marketers to capture a more comprehensive view of intent, facilitating targeted lead generation and digital advertising. Building comprehensive identity graphs that integrate multi-source intent signals can significantly enhance the quality of intent intelligence at our disposal.

Stay informed and compliant

The landscape of data privacy regulations is continually evolving. Staying abreast of regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is imperative for compliance and maintaining consumer trust. Regular training sessions on privacy practices for your team can go a long way in avoiding pitfalls and demonstrating your commitment to user privacy.

The future is intent-driven

As the digital marketing landscape shifts towards a cookie-less world, intent data emerges as a crucial asset for targeted marketing. With the delay in Google’s cookie deprecation timeline, it’s clear that marketing leaders must proactively adapt to the evolving environment. Traditional targeting methods, like IP-based strategies, are becoming less reliable, with 80% of marketers expressing doubts about their ability to reach the right audiences programmatically, and one in three citing wasted ad spending as a significant concern.

To navigate this change, B2B marketers are turning to AI-powered solutions that merge multiple sources of intent data to pinpoint in-market accounts with remarkable accuracy. This precision allows for more effective targeting and ultimately leads to improved conversion rates and accelerated sales pipelines. Intent data helps determine an account’s research stage and key topics of interest, enabling marketers to deliver personalized, relevant ads to specific personas within prioritized accounts. This shift towards AI-enabled, intent-based targeting not only offers a higher return on investment but also aligns with growing demands for privacy and compliance. By focusing on first-party data, expanding intent signal coverage, and embracing AI-driven identity graphs, marketers can create more resilient and sustainable marketing strategies in a world that’s rapidly moving beyond third-party cookies.

Building a future-resistant marketing strategy

The “Cookie Apocalypse,” demands a strategic and proactive approach to future-proof marketing strategies. Organizations must first undertake a comprehensive assessment of their current systems and data collection practices to identify their reliance on third-party cookies. This evaluation helps gauge the potential impact of digital and privacy regulation changes and guides the development of a flexible strategy that addresses both immediate and long-term challenges.

Collaboration with existing vendors is a crucial step in understanding their preparedness and exploring alternative solutions that comply with upcoming privacy norms. This process requires an innovative mindset, encouraging businesses to tap into new tools and technologies that align with the evolving privacy-focused digital landscape. By fostering a culture of collaboration, organizations can leverage external expertise while exploring adaptive strategies to ensure compliance and operational continuity.

Ultimately, the goal is to build a resilient marketing framework that not only survives but thrives in a post-cookie world. Staying informed about industry trends, engaging stakeholders, and maintaining flexibility are key to ensuring business success in this new environment. By embracing the shift towards a cookie-less future, businesses can position themselves for sustainable growth and a more privacy-conscious marketing approach. This strategic evolution will not only help organizations navigate the transition but will also set them on a path toward a more innovative and adaptable future in digital marketing.

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