“Data Is The New Soil”: Salesforce Regional VP Of Data, Personalisation & Marketing Automation Kevin Doyle’s Roadmap For Life After Cookies

Expert hand of farmer checking soil health before growth a seed of vegetable or plant seedling. Gardening technical, Agriculture concept.

Marketers will have all heard the ‘data is the new oil’ cliche, and according Salesforce’s regional vice president of data, personalisation and marketing automation, Kevin Doyle, it’s time to revisit the notion.

“There was an expression a few years back that ‘data is the new oil’, which is a bad analogy, and one we prefer is that ‘data is the new soil’. Data is a fertile medium which, unlike oil, can be enhanced and enriched and re-used over time,” Doyle told B&T.

“Unlike oil, simply holding data doesn’t make it valuable for you or your customer – the value comes from getting your hands dirty. You need to water it, fertilise it, till and dig through it, choose the right plant and take care of it to flourish.”

With continued headlines around the deprecation of third-party cookies on Google Chrome and a shifting regulatory framework, marketers are being urged to invest in their data capabilities, particularly in regard to first-party data.

However, Doyle dispelled the idea that all first-party data is good data.

“We see that many organisations are experiencing first-party data that is ROT: Redundant, Obsolete, or Trivial. Data without potential customer value is meaningless,” he said.

To address this, IT departments, CMOs and CCOs have to all work together to start treating data as a “constant value stream”, rather than a project, said Doyle.

First-party data does not necessarily have to be viewed as an asset, rather it can serve as a way to consolidate the relationship a brand has with its customers.

“Trust has never been more important,” Doyle said.

“This growing consumer sentiment is one major factor why we’re seeing browsers move from cookies. It is the impetus for marketers to look at how they can collect and use first-party data as a means to build and strengthen customer relationships.”

Investing in the right technology

When it comes to preparing for life after Cookies, Doyle suggested: “it’s about a mindset, culture and technology shift for many marketers”.

The technology play is particularly important, as businesses look for ways to make sense of the masses of data.

“While many organisations are starting to collect first-party data, one of the biggest challenges we’re seeing is that it’s not being recognised to its full potential because it goes unused or unanalysed,” said Doyle.

“To realise any value from first-party data, marketers should ensure they have tools like a Customer Data Platform (CDP) in place to connect customer data across multiple touchpoints, deliver targeted and personalised marketing materials, and drive deeper customer engagement.”

While CDPs might bring a significant price tag, Doyle argued that the cost to not have a CDP can sometimes be greater.

“Brands without a CDP often build highly customised, expensive solutions involving multiple vendors, which require developer expertise, massive investment, ongoing maintenance, and endless trust compliance work,” he said.

“A good CDP is a self-service, marketer-friendly, actionable system that helps marketers digest all their siloed customer data, build unified customer profiles, and make these profiles actionable to any engagement platform, all built with insights and trust inherent to the system.”

Image: iStock/piyaset

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