The Future-Proof, Full-Funnel Approach to Thriving in a Cookieless World

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As brands and marketers head into a cookieless world, they will need to undergo a fundamental transformation centered on first-party data and building strong relationships with high-value customers and prospects. On one hand, increased online demand creates enormous opportunities for newer or smaller brands to gain market share. On the other hand, however, brands need to work hard to retain their existing customers. 

Building strong relationships and encouraging customers to continually engage with the brand will go a long way toward building out first-party data collection and management. But how? As the cookieless world draws near, brands and marketers are looking for alternatives, and the answer lies in a future-proof, full-funnel approach. 

The significance of the cookieless future and customer relationships

Studies show that the COVID-19 pandemic has added $219 billion to U.S. e-commerce sales in 2020-2021. Stores are open again, but more than 263 million American consumers are still shopping online. While consumers want the personalization and convenience they have found with e-commerce and online shopping, they have also become more aware of their privacy online. As a result, Big Tech and recently passed legislation have made it more difficult for marketers and brands to provide the personalized experiences consumers crave. 

Marketers are being forced to look for alternative solutions that will allow them to target their high-value customers, or customers who exhibit brand loyalty by repeatedly purchasing. The importance of marketers being able to identify who their high-value customers are, identifying what they want, and figuring out how to reach them is essential and can still be done through a full-funnel, future-forward approach. 

The effectiveness of the full-funnel approach

Effectively measuring marketing campaign success can be addressed by taking a full-funnel approach that combines the power of both brand building and performance marketing. A holistic approach will help marketers adjust to the apparent impact of privacy changes on visibility into performance channels.

By adopting this approach, companies can become more relevant to their customer base, and this gives marketers the ability to develop more effective and accurate marketing campaigns, all while generating more value without having to spend more dollars. This approach is about truly understanding how each stage impacts the others for a complete customer experience. 

The high-funnel stage in brand awareness campaigns will help generate interest by helping consumers get to know the brands they want to engage with. This section is working to create overall awareness of a brand and to grasp the attention of consumers. As you move down the funnel and narrow your focus, branding should be centered around activating the relevant channels, features, and tools that can influence purchasing intent. This is where marketers can start narrowing the focus to encourage prospects and have consumers reach the stage of consideration. 

The bottom-funnel solutions should continue to focus on meaningful actions between the brand and prospect. Once consumers take action, this is where marketers can focus on targeting high-value customers to continue generating revenue. 

The steps within the full-funnel approach will allow marketers to take a step back and view the whole picture, providing a clearer view to reevaluate strategies as needed.

Looking to a future-forward approach

With the future still so uncertain, the full-funnel approach gives marketers more flexibility in their strategies moving forward. Taking this approach a step further, marketers can execute on each level of the full-funnel approach by following the below steps.

Marketers can use analytics to make data-driven decisions. The collection of first-party data gives marketers the upper hand to creatively think of new ways to reach high-value customers. They can gather relevant information across channels, which provides a better understanding of what strategies are effectively reaching their targets. Identifying actionable cross-channel synergies based on first-party data determines the strengths and weaknesses of each channel to the end goal. 

Observing which channels are successfully reaching targets helps pinpoint the factors that need to be reevaluated. Breaking down the synergies into channel-specific best practices and consistently monitoring customers’ behavior and using first-party data allows marketers to combine the right method of communication with the right behaviors. With the right mix of channels and full-funnel approaches, marketers can continue providing customers and prospects holistic value, even after cookies go away.

Udayan Bose is CEO & Founder of NetElixir.