Over the past few years, first-party data has been treated like gold — every marketer wants more and more of it. In 2017, Google reported that 92% of leading marketers believe that first-party data is critical to growth. In 2018, Sizmek noted that 85% of marketers in North America believe that increasing their use of first-party data is a top priority. And now, in 2020, we’re still talking about first-party data as a top priority that’s critical to growth.
Clearly, we care about first-party data, but that doesn’t mean that businesses are maximizing their first-party data usage. It’s time for a nuanced conversation about what first-party data can provide, why it’s time to expand the first-party data sources you tap into, and how the voice of the customer available from phone calls to your business is one of the most valuable first-party data sources of all.
The Differences Between First-, Second-, and Third-Party Data
While much of the marketing world has been obsessing over first-party data vs. second- and third-party data for a while, it’s important to know exactly what each data source includes and why they each have their place in a marketer’s toolkit.
First-party data is data that your company has collected from your consumer firsthand. This includes data from sources like CRMs, website visitors, social media followers, email subscribers, surveys, transaction records, and phone calls.
Second-party data is first-party data from another company that’s put up for sale. The seller collects data directly from their own audience and sells it to businesses. The data marketers get from walled gardens like Amazon, Google, and Facebook falls within this category.
Third-party data is purchased by an outside data broker that didn’t play a role in collecting the data. Brokers like Acxiom and Experian aggregate large-scale datasets to create comprehensive consumer profiles.
In terms of which data source is “better” than the rest, there isn’t one easy answer. Even though first-party data is treated like a gold mine — and it does provide incredibly valuable insights — that doesn’t mean you should throw second- and third-party data sources out the window. A good marketing strategy incorporates a healthy mix of all of these data sources.
After all, first-party data offers the most accurate and relevant data about your consumers — but when you consider scale and reach, it can also be the most limiting. Third-party data has the most scalability; however, with the rise of privacy regulations, marketers are relying on third-party data sources less frequently.
Over the past few years, the industry sentiment is all about maximizing first-party data usage. But for businesses to do this successfully, we need to talk about the elephant in the room: not all first-party data is created equal.
First-Party Data Matters to Marketers — But It Has Important Nuances
First-party data delivers results because it offers specific insights into each individual customer’s unique needs and interests. That’s powerful — and that’s why marketers are so excited about it. Using first-party data helps marketers recognize and understand customers across channels and deliver a more personalized experience at every touchpoint. And we all know personalization is key.
However, first-party data has its nuances. Take first-party data sources like website engagement, email subscriber activity, or social media followers. Though these sources provide valuable insights and should be utilized, they’re often not as scalable as a marketer would like. Depending on your brand and your reach, this first-party data availability is dependent on how many people visit your website, subscribe to your emails, or follow your social channels. Plus often with those channels, consumer intent can only be inferred by their activity — it isn’t directly expressed.
But with all the hype around “first-party data,” are you tapping into all the first-party data sources available to you? It’s a mistake to think that tapping into some first-party data sources is enough to check the box.
If you’re only gathering insights from website visitors and email subscribers, you get visibility into how customers engage with your site and your email communications — but that’s a very limited view of the customer journey. Considering the potentially limiting scalability issues of first-party data and increasingly complex, omnichannel customer journeys — with 20-500 touchpoints — an intelligent marketer needs to do more than pull insights from a handful of first-party data sources.
In fact, according to eMarketer and MightyHive report, marketers said they were tapping into just 47% of their company’s first-party data potential. So what about the remaining 53%? How do you access that untapped potential? Dive into the first-party data sources that you haven’t explored yet — especially phone calls.
Why First-Party Data From the Voice of the Customer Is So Powerful
While many marketers are already accessing insights from their CRM or website, the voice of the customer is a source of first-party data that has often been overlooked. And first-party data from the call channel is different — insights from phone conversations can mirror real-time customer purchase behavior more than other channels.
And with COVID-19’s influence on limiting in-person interactions, we’re seeing a dramatic shift to a phone-first mentality. With more consumers calling businesses at increased rates, the call channel is at a critical tipping point — and marketers need to be paying attention.
The phone call connects the offline and online actions in the customer journey. And there is a treasure trove of rich first-party data and customer insights ready to be gleaned from these calls and conversations.
When you tap into insights from phone calls with AI-powered voice analytics solutions like DialogTech, marketers can discover exactly what the customer’s purchase intent is, what products/services they’re looking for, where they are in the funnel, the questions they need answered in order to make a purchasing decision, the concerns they have, the reasons behind why they did or did not convert, how they describe their pain points, and so much more. The call is the most thorough and the most real-time first-party data source you can get.
Sample DialogTech call transcription
Because the phone conversation is the channel where you get to hear directly from your consumers, it provides richer data than any other media channel. The layered first-party data from this channel uncovers more than the other engagement and conversion metrics you can get from any other first-party data source.
But many marketers don’t know where to start uncovering these insights. Historically, the phone channel has been relegated to IT or operations teams — but that’s not the case anymore.
Now, marketers have the power to harness these insights. Technology like DialogTech’s AI-powered conversation analytics platform turns these phone conversations into structured first-party data that helps marketers do their jobs better. First-party insights from calls help marketers optimize campaigns across channels to drive more high-value calls, deliver more personalized online and offline experiences, and convert more callers to customers.
By knowing when customers express readiness to buy over the phone, marketers can turn these conversations into predictable revenue by targeting them with the right messaging. By identifying when customers express frustration over the phone, representatives can follow up quickly and prevent churn. By being able to act on a caller’s needs immediately, businesses can create prescriptive outcomes for these customer interactions and ultimately gain ownership and control over the call channel.
As the conversation around the importance of first-party data continues, it’s essential for every marketer to dig deeper than simply calling first-party data a top priority. Now, it’s time to tap into the rich, multi-faceted insights that businesses can get from the most powerful first-party source around: the call channel.
Interested in learning more about how insights from the call channel drive real results for businesses? Discover how GE Appliances used AI-driven insights from phone conversations to convert more calls to service appointments.
By activating data on calls and conversations in Google Analytics, marketers can significantly improve search and digital marketing results. Learn more in The Ultimate Guide to Tracking Phone Calls in Google Analytics.Download Your eBook