Industry Changes Ahead for Marketers: Cookie Deprecation, Dirty Data, and AI
With 2024 here, marketers need to prepare for a few big industry changes. The deprecation of third-party cookies and the death of the traditional customer journey will greatly impact marketing strategies, transforming how businesses engage with their customers.
Marketers also must tackle the elephant in the room: dirty data. Accurate, unified data is the vital fuel for successful artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, whether that’s insights to better understand customers or generative AI approaches to customizing content and experiences.
AI will play a pivotal role in adapting to these changes ahead, reshaping the entire marketing process. Here are the 2024 trends we’re watching and what marketers can do to prepare for them.
With third-party cookies dying, you need a first-party data strategy
In Q1 of 2024, Google will disable third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users, continuing the slow but certain death of third-party cookies. This shift is happening whether brands are ready or not.
The 75% of marketers that still rely on third-party cookies may not even realize the impact of depreciation until it’s too late. If marketers don’t want to be scrambling to understand and effectively engage with their customers, they need to prioritize implementing a first-party data strategy now.
Without first-party data, marketers are unable to create data-driven strategies to reach customers or effectively measure so they determine what messages resonate best. When marketing becomes a guessing game, it wastes both time and ad dollars, and diminishes customer loyalty.
But with first-party data, marketing isn’t a guessing game. Marketers can tailor advertising based on insights derived from accurate, clean customer data, including shopping preferences, habits, in-store and online purchases, etc., improving brand loyalty, customer engagement and increasing the return on ad spend in 2024.
Resolve your customer data foundation before it sinks you
Brands need to resolve customer data inaccuracies and outdated processes before they hurt operations and day-to-day business. For example, relying on individuals to manually input data into systems is time-consuming and error prone. Brands need to implement new automation tools that streamline and update these processes, allowing a frictionless customer experience.
Customer data is inherently complex. It comes from many sources in various formats, all of it at massive scale and high velocity. It requires specific technical processes to effectively collect and unify it. Otherwise, brands are left with “dirty” data: inaccurate customer info that doesn’t truly represent their customers’ preferences or needs.
Without a proper strategy or the right tools, marketers are likely working with inaccurate data, causing them to draw invalid conclusions that impact business decisions.
To combat this in 2024, brands should implement tools such as customer data platforms (CDPs) that resolve dirty data, ensuring the reliability of the information that’s powering their tools and campaigns. With CDPs, brands can ensure their marketing strategies are based on accurate data that paints a full picture of their target customers, improving campaign effectiveness and customer retention.
There’s no one true customer journey
With the new year here, brands must realize that the singular customer journey no longer exists. This reality invalidates the traditional marketing playbook. Every customer now expects their own experience, making it difficult for brands to anticipate how they shop and interact with advertisements.
Customers’ intentions are less predictable, making it challenging for brands to know when to engage them. For example, a customer may have purchased a product based on a TikTok influencer rather than the brand’s advertising and marketing.
So, understanding customers’ shopping habits and adapting to them quickly will be essential to successful engagements. The best way to ensure they are effective? Accurate customer data.
First-party data powering the right tools shows insights in near real-time, allowing brands to quickly see the shifts in customers’ evolving behavior and preferences.
With a comprehensive, updated view, brands can place the right advertisements and messaging in front of the right audiences, improving brand trust, the customer buying experience and the likelihood of conversions.
Improve your marketing funnel with AI before it’s too late
In 2024, marketers will need to go further with AI adoption to improve the customer experience—scaling hyper-personalization by integrating AI across ecosystems.
Marketers face a fundamental problem: How do they deliver a personalized experience to millions of customers? AI will play a significant role in enabling hyper-personalization by leveraging data analysis, predictive algorithms and machine learning to tailor experiences, offers and messaging to individual preferences and behaviors, and do so with efficiency and speed.
To reap the benefits of AI, however, marketers need to know what questions to ask. “Prompt engineering” will be a critical skill. This refers to deliberately crafting prompts or input queries to elicit specific responses or behaviors from AI models. Marketers should understand the capabilities and limitations of the AI model, and then tailor prompts to achieve their desired outcomes.
Marketers must also get creative about applying AI throughout the marketing process. AI can help with campaign and audience strategies. It can even develop marketing copy, helping to streamline these processes and make them more effective.
However, this can only be done effectively with accurate data. If the data feeding AI is dirty or incomplete, marketers run the risk of receiving inaccurate insights that can impact their strategies and outcomes.
By using AI’s predictive capabilities fed with accurate data, marketers can improve the customer experience and help brands collect and retain customers.
2024: Looking ahead
2024 stands to be a pivotal year for marketing. Coming trends, such as the deprecation of cookies and new AI capabilities, will push marketers to new practices and standards, changing the way they think about brand trust, customer loyalty and the bottom line. Now is the time for brands to prepare to meet customer needs and business objectives, ensuring 2024 is full of innovation and success.