Brands have a golden opportunity to optimise their first-party data management

Updated: Jun 14

We all know first-party data is valuable. But just because something is well known, doesn’t mean we put it into practice often or well enough. We all understand the benefits of exercise, but getting up and doing exercise often isn’t that simple. First-party data is similar – most brands and retailers have it, but few use it well.


Luckily for today’s marketers, this data is much more accessible than ever before. Consumer data platforms have grown more powerful and, at the same time, more user-friendly. We no longer need to be data scientists or statisticians to understand our owned data and use it to improve our marketing strategies.

For retailers, the wealth and richness of their first-party data collection has been known for some time. The biggest have built extensive media offerings for their brand partners over the past decade and are adept at selling access to targeting based on their data insights. However, the game they monopolised for so long is becoming more advanced. The growth of technology has created more opportunity for brands to utilise their own data to drive conversion across a wide range of publishers and media platforms. As a result, retailers are having to advance their media offerings to enable greater, more sophisticated targeting and data integration.


The US market is already way ahead of the game. Target and Walmart have led the way with advanced digital media offerings, allowing brands access to first-party data and the opportunity to enrich this with owned brand data too. The UK is starting to wake up to this new opportunity. Boots Media Group announced the launch of Audience 360 last month, marking the first retailer-owned media opportunity that encourages off-site activation using retailer first-party data. No doubt Tesco and Sainsbury’s will follow with their own iteration of this opportunity, but fundamentally it will allow retailers to offer something more than just what they own. They now have the whole web within their toolkits.


For brands, there is real potential to affect consumer behaviour by unlocking the effectiveness of their owned data. Brands understand their audiences but have always struggled to grasp the full consumer journey without retailer data to answer the question ’what are my customers doing in-store?’. With these new retailer-led digital offerings emerging, brands can now match their customers with data held by retailers and communicate to them across social and the open web. As a result, brands will gain more control of their targeting when investing with retailers, and both parties will see a growth in product sales related to the marketing campaigns.


The use cases for such powerful campaigns are clear for e-commerce retailers. The easiest application of data held digitally is to drive online conversion. However, these new retailer media networks should not overlook their power at driving in-store sales as well as online sales.


With the exponential growth of digital outdoor media, as well as the ability to geo-target online digital media, these enriched audience solutions can be tailored to impact the physical world. Going one step further, using retailer and brand data to map the total consumer journey, and then activating media across online and physical environments, is an extremely powerful proposition, unrivalled by most media networks. This is one of the first opportunities to activate truly omnichannel campaigns, with an ability to attribute sales online and in-store to specific campaign actions.


The biggest grocers are well placed to build these collaborative networks. The brands they stock will soon be presented with an opportunity to maximise the power of their owned data. Now is the time for brands to strengthen their first-party data to develop a closer relationship with consumers and make their retailer investment work hard for them.

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