Leveraging Zero and First Party Data

With changes in privacy legislation around the world, increased public awareness and scrutiny of the behaviour of some of the tech giants in the social media and ad-tech space, and the phasing out by all major browser manufacturers of third party cookies, it is time to refocus on truly knowing your customer based on direct behaviour, interactions, and information gathering.

Firstly, lets quickly recap what zero party and first party data are.

Zero Party data is the information your prospects and customers willingly give you. This might be name, email address, and possibly even phone number.

First Party Data is the information you learn about your prospects and customers directly from their interactions with you, be it browsing your website, purchase history, interactions with a mobile app etc. This could be product details (purchase history), or areas of interest (website browsing and app interaction).

Leveraging this data can and should be a large part of your engagement strategy with clients, but all to often this data is siloed, ignored, or only used for analytical purposes.

Web browsing information is typically seen as analytical in nature (e.g. 157 people visited page X last week, and only 23 visited page Y, lets spend more promoting Y). But what about making it live actionable information about an individual? Ensure the browsing details for all people coming to your website are integrated into a Customer Data Platform, or potentially directly into your Marketing Automation platform. This can provide a wealth of information to inform your next conversation with a prospect who has maybe signed up for newsletter – don’t send them a newsletter, send then their newsletter. For a customer, blend that browsing data with purchase history and suddenly opportunities for cross sell, upsell, and retention marketing become a snap.

Start adding in their mobile behaviour – both web browsing and app usage – and the dataset starts to get ever richer.

There is so much first party data to be leveraged that many businesses never consider. Along with the first party data discussed above, imagine a world where you monitor users responses to SMS campaigns or use speech to text and back it up with sentiment analysis to flavour outbound communications and/or their next web experience with you.

Make sure that the wealth of zero and first party data you already have, and could have, from a variety of devices and platforms is consolidated to create a complete, rich, and individual view of your prospects and customers, and then use that to inform every engagement for a better informed, richer experience. Break down those silos!

Want to know how we help our clients with these challenges every day by operationalising their data? Get in touch and we’ll buy you a coffee and have a chat.

Under Utilised Marketing Automation and terrifying processes?

This is a true story.  The names and places have been changed to protect the innocent….

What was wrong

  • Two Email Platforms
  • Manual processes
  • Emails that weren’t as timely or relevant as they could be
  • Constant risk of data breaches

What we did

  • Process Improvement
  • Integration
  • Automation
  • Campaign Build Out


  • Reduction in costs
  • Removed risk of privacy breaches
  • More timely and engaging emails to customers
  • Reduced reliance on people powered processes
  • Set client up for more cool stuff in future

MoTaM has a client who early on in our engagement was on the verge of throwing out their Marketing Automation platform.  It wasn’t because the platform wasn’t a good product, or even that it wasn’t fit for purpose.  It was simply because the client was deriving no value from it.  In short, they were using it as a glorified batch and blast tool.  On top of that, routine emails that went to their customers were being done through another set of tools operated by an agency.  The data for this was supplied on a weekly basis, meaning the routine emails were not as timely or relevant as they could be.  In some cases, the customers had even cancelled their service at short notice and were still receiving the emails about it.

Both their Marketing Automation platform and the routine emails were being driven by manual data loads.  In one case this involved unencrypted spreadsheets being provided to the agency.

MoTaM did an analysis of the current state and provided a vision of a future state.  The vision was of:

  • A Marketing Automation platform that was delivering value on a daily basis. 
  • A reduction in human effort.
  • An environment with significantly reduced risk of privacy breaches
  • A single platform for all emails

To achieve this, we:

  • Built strong working relationships with the client’s Marketing and Technology teams, and engaged with the right subject matter experts from both teams to understand how to function in their technical environment while delivering valuable and usable data into the Marketo Automation system.
  • Integrated the Marketing Automation platform with their highly bespoke Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform.  The integration is highly secure and requires no effort from staff to maintain on a day to day basis.
  • Orchestrated campaigns to run automatically based on accurate customer data.  Instead of emails being anywhere between a week before and up to a week after they were needed, they were consistently delivered at the appropriate time.  

This has also set the client up to be able to deliver further value for themselves. 

With customer data being constantly integrated into the Marketing Automation platform, and that data being far more complete in terms of the overall customer data set  and richer in terms of the amount of data being supplied per customer than the data being loaded from spreadsheets, greater personalization and segmentation is now possible.

Our training allowed the client to set up additional automated campaigns as they have increased the reach of their products, and there are other manual campaigns that we’ve been able to automate now that the data in the system is accurate and timely.

If the problems this client had sound similar to a problem you would dearly love to solve, then get in touch.  We’d love to have a coffee with you!

Audit your Martech Stack

A little before the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Zealand, I sat down with an old friend for coffee.  She is the CMO for a pretty large New Zealand organization.

We were discussed many things including the Vatican Museum, old friends, and most interestingly (at least from the perspective of this blog post) the challenges she faced in her role and also some of the quick wins she’d managed to get. 

One of the quick wins that struck me as most interesting was her quite brutal approach to working out which tools were in use within the marketing teams.  She looked at all the vendors popping up on monthly credit card accounts, and simply stopped all the payments.  If a member of the marketing team came to her and said ‘hey, product <x> has been terminated’ she’d engage them in a conversation.  Could they be using product <w> instead?  Could they find someone else to share the cost with?  Was there a product that was a better strategic fit?

Now, this is a radical approach – but it did save the organization $150k per annum and got the team onto a reduced product set that had no less functionality.  Oddly, she didn’t have that many conversations with people – many of the products simply weren’t being used.  The benefits aren’t just cost related.  With fewer products, there are more transferable skills across the team (for example instead of three social listening apps, use one, and have three people who ALL know how to use it – great for when someone is sick or on leave).

I am not suggesting everyone takes this brutal of an approach, but the notion of auditing your tool set for redundancy and fit for purpose is a good one – one more organisations should do on a regular basis.  It may be that new products are needed, but it is equally (and maybe more) likely that you are using too many products, and not using them to their full capacity.

Fantastic new client

The Ministry of Technology and Marketing ( MoTaM ) is delighted to be working with Southern Cross Travel Insurance. We have one of our star Data Architects, Michael Hanley working closely with their team and are also providing additional consulting on marketing technology toolsets and approaches to Data Management.

We’ve grown

Growth is exciting – and terrifying – and then exciting again.  I guess that is part of the reason we like to start up businesses.

Did you know that we now have a team that delivers skills across:

  • Marketo
  • Unica
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • Google Analytics
  • Adobe Analytics
  • Tableau
  • Power BI
  • R
  • so many more I can’t even list them all.

We’ve worked with some great clients to deliver awesome projects in the last 15 months and are looking forward to working with them again in the future, and with many many more!


Lean on Buyer Personas, but don’t lean on them too much

I just read an excellent document from Smart Bug on Buyer Personas (Click here. It is gated content). I recommend it to anyone getting into the business of building Personas either for their business or for their clients.

However, it stopped short of discussing one critical aspect of digital marketing, namely moving beyond Personas to a true ‘Audience of One’.

Let me explain. Personas provide a proxy for grouping customers who may be similar in nature so that you can understand how best to communicate with that group of people, and in so far as it goes Personas are an excellent tool. However, there is no substitute for learning about an individual over time and then once your analytics show that you know enough about them, removing them from your Persona pool, and treating them as a Person (see the power removing that one letter makes).

Take a customer who has consistently responded to your emails via mobile, made some purchases from your site also via mobile, always chooses express shipping, and never visits any of your social media then you should know enough about their channel preference, and product tastes to be able to tailor offers to them, not on their persona but on their personal preferences. Now we are talking about the power of ‘Audience of One’.

So, don’t ignore Personas as they are a genuinely valuable tool. But if you stop there you are missing a crucial part of digital marketing, namely the ability to speak with relevance to individuals.

Why have a loyalty program (and is yours really working)

For a lot of businesses with loyalty programs, it is essentially a race to the bottom against their competitors; Who can afford to give away the most (be it points, dollars, or freebies of some other description) in return for getting the least money in the door.

This ultimately is a game that no one really wins, and ultimately doesn’t really achieve much. If your nearest competitor is fundamentally doing the same thing as you in terms of rewards given for dollars spent, there your customers still have no compelling reason to come into your business versus your competitors.

So, what then is the point of a loyalty program. The point is to better understand your customer and use that to inform better decisions at macro (business wide), mid (business unit) and micro (individual customer) levels.

Use it to understand the cyclical nature of the way a customer purchases a product or type of product (which leads into a separate conversation on content tagging/categorisation), and in turn use that to either remind them to purchase, or maybe even up sell to the next model when they are getting close to their purchase cycle. That is being both personal and relevant!

If you’ve got a sector of customers who all purchase from areas A of your business, half of whom purchase from area B and half don’t then find out why. Maybe a targeted survey, or a special promotional offer from area B may pique their interest. In this situation, the survey should be designed as much to educate the customers that area B exists, is it is for you to learn why they aren’t purchasing.

Ultimately, a loyalty program should enable you to learn more about your customers, and in a highly relevant, multi-channel, and personal way monetise that knowledge. There are a number of ways of doing this ranging from the obvious (loyalty cards swiped at purchase) to the less obvious (secure credit card matching, email address matching etc). All the options have advantages and disadvantages.

What is Relevance

I’ve had several conversations with people recently on the topic of highly relevant conversations and how to have them with their customers.  I found it interesting (and a little perturbing) how narrow most people’s view of relevance is.  It seems to focus purely on the content aspect of relevance.

A broader view would suggest at least three aspects:

Content – This is the most obvious part of relevance.  Determining which content is relevant to an individual customer is something that could have several books written about it.  Direct association is a good place to start (although knowing what those associations should be can still be challenging).  A couple of e-commerce/transactional examples could be:

  • I’ve just bought decking timber, so offer me a great deal on exterior stain.
  • I’ve just bought wallboard, so offer me a fantastic price on interior paint.

The reverse of these two examples would demonstrate conversations with very low relevance.

You can also use look-a-like audience analysis (A significant number of people who purchased product X also bought product Y), Propensity modelling, or a few other techniques to determine what a relevant conversation might be with a specific customer.

Timeliness – Getting the timing of the communication right is very nearly as important as what you say in those communications.

To use the examples above, don’t present the offers to early as your customer probably doesn’t have the time to consider exactly what colour they want the deck or walls to be.  Equally, don’t present them to late otherwise your customer will have made their purchase, and it may or may not be with you.

This is a great space to test and measure to determine the right time for you.  Does one week work?  Two weeks?  More?  Less?  Getting the timeliness of your communications right can have a big impact on how your message is received.

Channel – This should be self evident, but for many this seems to be the most elusive piece of the puzzle.  If you have a client who interacts with you most via social media, then surely the best way to reach them with an offer is also via social media?  If they religiously read emails from you (and please tell me that you can determine who is reading your emails!) then reach them through a personalised, timely email.

Many companies (even those who use social media as part of their digital marketing strategy) present all of their personalised offers through email.  Don’t make that mistake!  Talk to your customers via the channel where they, as individuals, are most likely to listen to you.

Conclusion – If you manage to achieve success in all three of these areas then you will be truly engaging in relevant one-on-one conversations with your customers.  The transactional examples used above are simple, but demonstrate how and why all three aspects are critical.  It could equally be part of a lead nurturing process, or part of a broader brand awareness campaign.

We’re Alive

The Ministry of Technology and Marketing (or MoTaM) is alive.

As of mid January, we are working with our first clients, gaining new skills every day and working to deliver our first projects.

We’ll be blogging regularly to keep everyone up to date with what we are working on, what is exciting us, and what we’ve delivered for our clients.