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Why Data-Driven Agencies Are Doubling Down on First-Party Data From Inbound Phone Calls

Jennifer Bassik VP of Marketing Strategy, DialogTech

This blog was originally published on MediaPost.

As we’re all talking about the downfall of third-party cookies, agencies are sharing their plans to invest in first-party data in 2021. And many of these industry vets are turning to an unlikely source of first-party data — inbound phone calls — and they show no signs of backing down.

Read on to discover some interesting resources on first-party data from agencies that I’ve seen in the market recently. Then, I’ll dive into why first-party data from the call channel — the literal voice of the customer! — is an especially powerful way for agencies to deliver more value to the brands they serve.

What Leading Agencies Are Saying About First-Party Data

In Merkle’s 2021 Customer Engagement Report, they note that while the demand for personalized experiences is high, the fall of third-party cookies makes it harder for agencies to deliver these seamless experiences. That’s why this year’s report focuses on why marketers should leverage new first-party data sources.

According to Craig Dempster, Global CEO at Merkle, “The demise of the third-party cookie is driving marketers to rethink media, data, and identity. This moment is forcing marketers to change, and while it initially burdens us with challenges, it also presents an opportunity for radical transformation. The companies that move quickly and smartly may find themselves in a new position that’s more favorable to their customers and way ahead of their competitors.”

Their report unearths some enlightening statistics. They found that:

  • 88% of respondents identified the collection of first-party data as a top priority in the next year.
  • 52% of respondents said they’re now prioritizing the collection of more first-party data from digital experiences due to new privacy regulations.
  • 74% of respondents confirmed they’re increasing investment in technology and vendor solutions due to rising data restrictions.

Merkle’s findings are powerful — they clearly illustrate just how important first-party data is to agencies this year and that agencies are increasing their digital innovation investments accordingly.

Another agency, Rise Interactive, has recently put out recommendations for digital marketers in 2021. One of their tips is all about the disappearance of third-party cookies from digital media. “In 2021, advertisers and platforms will need to start to develop creative ways to not rely on cookies for performance data or targeting,” said Megan McConkey, Director of Social Media at Rise Interactive.

While the marketing world has been talking about the fall of third-party cookies and the importance of first-party data for a while now, I think 2021 is the year when all this talk is crystallizing into a clear action: agencies are all in on investing in new sources of first-party data, including voice-of-the-customer data from the call channel, in order to stay competitive and deliver meaningful marketing to their clients.

Why It’s Time for Agencies to Unlock First-Party Insights from Conversation Intelligence

When I read Merkle’s report, I couldn’t help but think about how nicely it complements a recent Forrester Consulting report commissioned on behalf of DialogTech. In Forrester’s survey of marketing decision-makers, they found that:

  • 85% of marketers agreed that first-party data from consumer phone calls is even more necessary given the impact of COVID-19.
  • 89% of marketers believe that leveraging first-party data from phone calls to their business with a conversation intelligence solution is imperative to staying competitive.
  • 86% of marketers plan to increase their investment in conversation intelligence solutions over the next two to three years.

Looking at the Merkle and Forrester statistics together, they paint a clear picture. Marketers know that first-party data is vital and they’re ready to invest in it — and they also know that tapping into first-party data from the call channel is one of the best ways to stay competitive

That’s why conversation intelligence is such an exciting technology for marketers. It’s an AI-powered solution that delivers you first-party data you can’t get anywhere else. It turns the phone conversations that prospects and customers have with your brands into data points that you can use to prove your value to clients and make better optimizations in your digital media campaigns.

With conversation intelligence, you can understand the campaigns, ads, keywords, and webpages driving not only the most phone calls — but the most sales calls, conversions, and revenue to your clients. Then, you can activate this data in your martech stack and turn these insights into a key part of the value you deliver to your clients.

You can finally close the loop on how your team’s work drives conversions and optimize media spend to drive higher quality leads for your clients. You can also understand the full breadth of the call experience — from what marketing source is driving the call to who’s calling to what happens in the conversation.

Plus, it’s a treasure trove of deeply personal and valuable customer sentiment insights that you can’t get anywhere else. While you can patch together sentiment from things like social listening tools or website chat, these insights become even more powerful when you pair them with insights directly from the literal voice of your clients’ customers. During the phone conversation, prospects and customers say in their own words what they care about, what they’re interested in, and what they think about the brand. Sharing these insights with your clients is another way to really deliver value as an agency team.

If you’re interested in more ways you can use first-party data from the call channel to improve your digital marketing results for your clients, check out this article.

Want to learn how agencies use first-party data from phone calls to enhance customer experiences? Check out our eBook, The Digital-to-Call Experience Handbook for Data-Driven Marketers.

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