Looking at the “cookiepocalypse” scenarios written for this round-up by marketing experts, it’s clear that the majority of the companies are not ready for the era of consent.

The new era of marketing will be dominated by companies that have taken action in advance, relying more and more on zero and first-party data and less on third-party data. The companies that respect the customers’ privacy and the ones that are genuinely customer-centric have a competitive advantage.

Consent in marketing isn’t new under the sun, as Juliana Jackson emphasizes:

Permission-based marketing was first coined by Seth Godin back in the late 90s. In eCommerce, in essence, it was always permission-based. 

However, the easy access to data, be it foreign on owned data, has made marketers lazier regarding outputs in the customer experience or customer journey. Marketers won’t be able to bedazzle their way out of this with a better copy or with better visuals; I mean, yes, they are important, but are they enough? 

No. If anything, all the changes occurring in the market are pushing companies and marketers to a more holistic way of growing. Focusing on the customer journey. Focusing on helping consumers have an amazing shopping experience and making it easier and smooth for a consumer to be a brand’s customer. 

As long as data is collected correctly and there are clear objectives and processes for how that data will be leveraged inside an organization, there should be no major changes. Maybe a change of mindset.

People are still asking, “do I need to collect consent?” Well, GDPR and CCPA were just the training. The new privacy changes are the real game marketers need to win by changing how they will build strategies and concentrate their efforts towards creating better customer experiences.

Many will look for shortcuts, trying hacks and tricks in an attempt to adapt to the new environment. But in the era of consent, they will be penalized by consumers who are reevaluating who they want to engage with.

Marketers need to become more creative, not sneakier. Their jobs will be harder, but privacy policy changes only accelerate what should already be a priority – customer experience.

It’s time to know what people buy and why they buy from a particular brand.

To find the answers to one of the most burning questions in 2021, we asked 21 experts to share their scenarios for this new era we’re all about to enter.

So, How is marketing going to evolve in the era of consent?

Jason Greenwood

eCommerce, Digital and Retail Specialist

Jason Greenwood started Greenwood Consulting to guide the B2B & DTC brands towards a new retail future. He is a digital native with deep omnichannel commerce expertise.

The cost for acquisition is very likely to rise as first-party data becomes more valuable. Google, Facebook, Apple, and the other big tech giants have more of it than you do, so with that oligopoly comes huge pricing power. If you want to use them to find new customers – be prepared to pay handsomely for the privilege. Or pivot to focus on your own customer data to both drive down acquisition costs via better targeting and refocus on retention marketing and CLV – it’s really your choice.

Jon Ivanco

Co-Founder of Formtoro

Jon Ivanco is a Customer Experience Consultant with a focus on data for eCommerce companies. He’s the co-Founder of Formtoro, a company focused on unlocking up to 38x more data on your users and advocating customer journey vs. company journey.

Marketing at its core will not change.

The advice that people have been relying on as the benchmarks to be successful, though on the other hand, will have to shift dramatically.

iOS 14.5 and iOS 15 are catching a lot of marketers off guard. When 14.5 (April 26) was released, the update was optional. Apple did not push out a notification telling people to upgrade, so the original impact of the change wasn’t fully felt. Then, iOS 14.6 (May 24) came out, and Apple did push out a notification urging people to update.

We’re two months in from their push notification to update and numbers, and the pain is starting to be felt.

There’s always a delay of a few months before enough devices are updated. Currently, the most recent figure I could find was that 62% of devices had been updated to iOS 14.5+.

This number was 50% in early June. As more and more iOS releases come out and with the pending release of iOS 15 coming in late September, we’re likely to see the percentage only rise faster.

So where does that leave people?

For the ads people, this Q3 and Q4 are going to be rough. To succeed moving forward, you’re going to have to change your strategy, become even more data-centric, and do your best to find markers while running the ads that can help you identify where the best quality traffic is coming from.

I keep seeing people post things about iOS 14.5 and looking for some sort of fix or waiting for Facebook to come up with something. A quick fix doesn’t exist. We need to stop pretending that it does, nor does our reliance on CTR, CPM, and other fun KPIs determine what’s going on with our ads. No, the solution isn’t better creatives. You should have been producing great creatives all along. Starting now isn’t a solution, nor should it impact your overall success.

No, you see, the solution is to change the methods you’ve been using as crutches to drive results. From 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, ad prices on Facebook shot up 30%. Coupling accelerated eCommerce company creation, with targeting becoming harder for ad teams was already burning fire. Throw on these iOS updates, and it’s pouring pure gasoline onto something that is already big enough. Marketers need more privacy updates like California needs more wildfires. Prices are bound to explode, even more, data will become less, targeting will become less, and overall performance will continue to crater.

There has been a shift to Google Analytics for eCommerce data. Seriously, we’re back to UTMs and Google Analytics at this point to combine that data with the data in Facebook and possibly some sort of visualization software to make it all look pretty.

Marketing is at a turning point. There’s going to be a lot of fallout across the industry, from ads to emails with iOS 15. Depending on if Apple pushes a notification out, we can assume that headed into the busiest time of the year for most eCommerce companies and will be without true metrics on two of their biggest channels for driving revenue ads and email.

You read that right, if Apple pushes that notification out in late September, by Thanksgiving and Black Friday, marketers won’t have accurate email or ads data on greater than 60% of device owners.

I’ve been preaching the same thing for nearly a year now. The future is creating strategies that leverage exterior data sets to inform smarter decision-making across all your platforms. It’s not just ads or email but your website too.

The customer journey will continue to live, but the question becomes, will marketers remember the ways of old to address the needs of today’s companies.

Only time will tell.

Steen Rasmussen

Directory of Data, Analytics, and Learning at IIH Nordic and the Evangelist of the commercial data-driven approach

Steen Rasmussen has more than 20 years of experience with leadership, data strategies, and communities. He is an acclaimed international business thinker, communicator, and data strategist. 

The death of tools and the end of cookies will mean a change, going back to some old ways, but most of all, it will require a rethink of how we market. We will see many hacks, tricks, and attempts to circumvent the new practice for a period. 

I focus on the challenges these changes will bring for our data models and understanding of the users. We will lose insight, understanding, and the direct connection with our users. From this perspective, we will see an increase in the cost per conversion, a loss of the ability to attribute our marketing spend, and a new focus on the actual deeper client relationship, consent strategy, and customer lifetime value.

Lisa Popovici

Co-founder @ Cartloop

Lisa is the co-founder at Cartloop, a conversational SMS marketing app for Shopify brands. She’s a Med School graduate turned to tech, an entrepreneur with over six years of eCommerce experience, now bringing the in-store experience online, one text message at a time.

Brands that relied only on external marketing channels such as Facebook will have to rethink their entire marketing strategy and how they measure attribution. They will have to look at blended ROAS or MER and evaluate all their online advertising ROI compared to just looking at their Facebook dashboards.

The move from third-party data to zero and first-party data is definitely making consumers happy. And brands shouldn’t be scared. This data will allow them to provide valuable, relevant messaging and build stronger relationships with customers. It is the chance to start an honest conversation with customers that they will never get from a paid ad. It requires a mindset shift, but if brands want to put customers first, they have to start now.

SMS and email will become primary channels for brands if they haven’t yet and fill out the void of lost personalization. Features such as keywords, owned numbers, or signup forms come with dozens of opportunities for brands to capture their audience’s attention. Take FourSigmatic, for example. They added phone numbers into their packaging so customers can text them at any time. Brands that will take a holistic approach to their marketing efforts will win in the long run. 

Matthew Holman

Head of Growth at QPilot.cloud and Autoship.cloud

Matt Holman is running growth at an eCommerce startup that creates the best subscription software for physical products.

In the past, we view confirmation emails and consent as just an extra step where we can lose a possible subscriber. But consent will make us reevaluate who is willing to engage with us or not. New text marketing tools work like this: 

  1. Sign up for a discount 
  2. The customer enters a phone number 
  3. The customer gets confirmation text 
  4. The customer replies yes 
  5. The customer gets a discount code. 

Now they have opted in, and now they are opening your emails.

A best practice that companies rarely use is the confirmation/tracking number email. This gets opened 80-90% of the time, but there is no marketing in it. No upsells. It often is opened more than once as someone wants to track their package.

In subscriptions, notifications and guidance are required to make it easy for someone to cancel. And this is fine because anyone trying to keep someone from canceling should be selling gym memberships. Not products. Great customers, those willing to buy from you more than once, want to do so with brands they trust.

So make those email notifications fun. Make them engaging. And use them as an opportunity to upsell!

Hey, you’ve got an auto-ship order about to be processed next week. Do you want to cancel that? You can do so here:

Did you know that product B goes great with product A? Click here to add that to your order.

Great marketing needs to lean into these opportunities!

Irit Levi

Founder at Day By Day

With over a decade of experience behind her, Irit has a special knack for translating the 328 tasks on your plate into concrete, step-by-step processes that propel your business forward. When you waste 0.0 minutes on inefficiency, you can get more done in far less time.

The new structure will limit the amount and type of data we can collect. This means that companies will have to stay agile and turn up their creativity. They will need to ensure that their marketing strategies and processes can change based on new data from different platforms.

I believe we will see more marketing geared to collect first-party data, such as emails or events. 

Hopefully, we will also see more creative marketing efforts such as video, blogs, and overall storytelling – and who doesn’t like a good story?

Relationships are the key to building loyalty. And hopefully, this will lead to building genuine connections with customers rather than viewing them as data points. 

George Kapernaros

Founder & Head of Marketing at George Kapernaros

George Kapernaros helps e-commerce brands win bigly, long-term, through retention-first, behavioral marketing. He was involved in 200+ e-commerce launches to date. 

If you rewind 20 years, you’ll see how the digital space has never remained static for long, and email is no exception. 

Email marketing used to be the Wild West. Buying lists and spamming people was the norm, segmentation wasn’t even a thing, and email content looked like a flyer (often designed on paint). 

Over time, consumers became more sophisticated. What worked stopped working. And so, email marketers became more sophisticated too. 

When the EU enforced GDPR in 2018, or when CCPA was signed, everyone freaked out. But again, email marketers evolved and learned to play by new rules. 

I think iOS 15 will necessitate a similar evolutionary jump. We’ll take a deep breath, smile, wink, jump, and get through to the next stage just fine. 

My point is: this isn’t the first time something like this happens. Just ask the SEM/PPC guys. 

In more concrete terms, here are two tips regarding iOS 15:

1. Update your segments. Relying on whether someone opens an email (opened in the last 30, 60, 90, 120 days, etc.) will be unreliable. So add OR conditions to include people who’ve placed an order, visited your website, viewed a product, signed up in these last 60, 90, or 120 days, or performed a similarly relevant action in the Recency timeframe you’ve deemed appropriate. This segment will allow you to filter out unengaged subscribers just fine.  

2. Master profiling users. If you’re not relevant, you’re a spammer. And the number one way to be relevant is to ask what people want, then serve them the appropriate content. A simple application: after you deliver your sign-up incentive on your first welcome flow email, insert a section that asks, “What would you like to achieve today?” or similar, then offer them options based on the job your products help them do. For example, “Improve my sleep,” “Lose weight,” or “Get healthier.” Then tag the user depending on what they click, and continue your flow in corresponding branching paths, with content designed to help them achieve that goal. By the way, every email you send is an opportunity to profile users further. 

Lastly, a final, bigger picture note. Don’t be afraid to learn marketing. Like really, really learn marketing. Beyond tips, tricks, and hacks. Beyond best practices, untested theories, competitor cloning, thought-leader following, self-back-patting, armchair strategizing, book-worshipping, tuned-out course-browsing, and speculative guesswork. 

The real marketing gig is empathy and creativity. 

  1. Listening (and caring about) your customers’ needs.
  2. Then coming up with ways to solve them in ways they’ve never been solved before. 

iOS 15 won’t change that. If anything, it will make empathy and creativity more important than ever. 

Shiva Manjunath

CRO Marketing Manager at Gartner

An experimentation wizard who is obsessed with data. I’m passionate about testing to learn, driving revenue, and creating high-value user experiences.

As a consumer – I hate that my data is so readily available for people to see. It frustrates me to no end that I have VERY little control over my data. 

As a marketer – Dang it. Why are you taking away my precious!

The era of more privacy is overall a super welcome change. It will make marketer’s jobs harder, but for all the right reasons. The easy access to robust data while simply paying for it (vs. earning it) is long overdue. It will make companies prioritize zero/first-party data capture far more, which means the focus on actually valuable experiences will increase.

What this also could mean a rise in clickbait, though. Lazy marketers will attempt to game the system by doing more bait-and-switch type things to capture first-party data. But I’m optimistic there will be a large influx in focus on UX and delivering something WORTH my personal data.

Abby Wilson

Founder @ Tailor Framed

I’m the founder of Tailor Framed, a Web Development company that relies on user research to make informed web design and copywriting decisions. My goal with every project is to make the most of the traffic you already have and make a great first impression on every visitor. 

This is a great opportunity to build a brand. Companies that position themselves as customer-centric and respect the customer’s privacy not just because of their marketing obligations will be more appealing to the market. In the same way that people actively seek out brands that are eco-friendly, fair-trade, sustainable, etc., I think people will seek out brands that respect privacy. 

A lot of the old tricks as far as retargeting and tracking won’t work anymore. But even older tricks such as contextual advertisement will likely increase.

There’s already an increase in marketers using zero-party data to learn about customers. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is a great example. As soon as you land on the home page, there’s a survey that asks, “What are your business goals?” When you respond, BDC instantly shows you content on the website related to your specific needs. 

Even though privacy is the new normal, marketers can still provide a very personalized experience. We just have to ask the right question in the right context.

Gen Furukawa

Co-Founder at Prehook

Gen is Co-Founder of Prehook, a quiz platform for Shopify merchants. He has 10+ years of experience in digital marketing, working with SaaS and eCommerce companies.

These changes will accelerate what should already be a priority: the customer experience. 

As consumers, we all yearn for a personalized experience. Until recently, it was made easier with loads of data that Facebook could provide to marketers for targeted campaigns with relative ease. 

Brands will have to offer more value: as Andrew Chen’s Law of Shitty Clickthroughs states, consumers don’t want to hand over personal data unless there is some tangible value in exchange. It could be a discount, a personalized assessment, a recommendation, or even a customized product. Whatever it is, the onus is on brands to make it an offer that stands out by actually delivering some perceived value. 

There will be a greater focus on gathering zero-party data: insights shared proactively by consumers. This includes insights that can’t be deduced from transaction history or third-party data, like preferences, interests, goals, challenges, etc. 

A quiz is one powerful strategy that many fast-growing brands have adopted: it creates an interactive, enjoyable experience that provides brands with the customer data it needs and customers with the personalized experience they want (at least in theory!).

Lucas Walker

International eCommerce veteran

Lucas Walker is a serial entrepreneur with three successful businesses in software, eCommerce, and media. His most recent project is Rolled Up Podcast.

Less than we think, but we still need to prepare for the worst.

The same quality of emails that work now will work in the future. There will still be ways to track conversions, but they will be different and take some time to be discovered.

There’s also the opportunity for upside.

To know what will work moving forward, we must look to the past. Rather than following what’s trendy now, what worked for direct response advertisements in 1991.

What about 1971 or 1951.

Adding emojis or sending more emails are short-term fixes. At the end of the day, a healthy quality list will still convert, and it will be seen in ways that can’t be measured.

I will miss looking at Open Rates as a hit or miss.

Eden Bidani

Conversion copywriter. Growth mentor. Secret anthropologist.

I write conversion-magnetic copy for landing pages, websites, and ads. And I do this with a 3-part “selling-not-selling” technique I’ve developed over 10+ years in direct sales and copywriting. It’s a little solid technique that turns even ice-cold traffic into leads and sales simply because it helps you connect with your should-be customers on a deeply genuine level.

I love it. I think it’s great – not just for consumers but for marketers. We’ve been relying on 3rd party data for too long. It made us stay in our comfort zone and killed the former “big ideas” behind marketing and advertising campaigns. 3rd party data and AI mean you can push out thousands of differently nuanced creatives in a single click to lift conversions, still without knowing *why* people buy – and why from you.

I hope the iOS updates will bring back creativity to marketing. It’ll force us to listen to consumers, even more, to think bigger, and push harder with more creative cross-channel campaigns. And we’ll hopefully see the return of powerful “big ideas,” too.

Bhaskar Sarma

Founder at Pixels and Clicks

I am a marketer currently working with eCommerce and DTC brands to drive more sales and profits through email marketing.

The one-two knock-out punch of iOS14 and iOS15 announcements has left many e-commerce and DTC marketers reeling.

Easy access to user data made marketers and ad buyers lazy. They could throw up a bunch of ads, let the algorithm do the work of selecting the winners, and mint money. 

In this growth playbook, marketing fundamentals like understanding customer jobs to be done, slogging to find product-market fit, etc., seemed quaint and a waste of time. 

That quantitative data firehose is now throttled to a trickle, thanks to the iOS14 and iOs15 updates. Facebook and email data will be patchy and unreliable, attribution is messier, and 3rd party cookies are on borrowed time. 

While the email privacy changes in iOS15 still haven’t kicked in, iOS14’s app-focused privacy changes are already implemented, and the numbers are grim: 96% of US users have opted out of app tracking. 

In today’s privacy-focused world, relying on third-party quantitative data is suicidal. 

Instead, marketers need to focus on the following:

1. Collect as much zero and first-party data as possible: From user preferences through quizzes and multi-step forms to building out rich user profiles using consumer data platforms, brands can use 0 and 1st party data to improve their customers better. Brands should also incentivize users for their data and give users a complete insight into how their data is being used across the customer journey (just like how Gmail shows the latest logins into an account by IP address).

2. Rely on qualitative methodologies like jobs to be done: Qualitative data needs to drive marketing strategies and tactics. Brands should adopt frameworks like jobs-to-be-done to understand why people might use (or abandon) a product and design their messaging around those insights. 

3. Build out a memorable user experience: The vast majority of e-commerce brands focus on price and selection to drive sales.  As that gets commoditized, brands that succeed in innovating around user experience will stand out. This doesn’t just include unboxing or product experience but starts right with a unique SaaS-style product onboarding experience. 

The coming months are going to be critical for brands. However, these changes are the best opportunity for smaller, budget-constrained customer-centric brands to grab market share from brand-centric competitors. This is one problem that can’t be fixed by simply throwing money at it. 

Adam Kitchen

CEO @ Magnet Monster

Adam Kitchen and his email marketing agency Magnet Monster are helping fast-growing DTC brands generate great results by applying innovative strategies.

Two key changes I envision:

1) Brands will have to become genuinely customer-centric to prosper. 

This means crafting more valuable sign-up initiatives, initiating genuine conversations, and showing a level of care towards customers they may have neglected before. Consumers will have the power to not interact with a brand rather than be harassed by them from every conceivable angle. This means engaging on a level many may not have done before, so a strong commitment to customer service/experience is vital. 

Analyze touchpoints pre and post-purchase and look for opportunities to drive purposeful engagement rather than bombard with promotions. Think of yourself as a personal shopping assistant that guides the customer towards their goals rather than a taxi driver who picks a tourist up at the airport and drives them in the wrong direction before overcharging them. More like a servant, less like an opportunist.

2) Marketing departments will need to work together more harmoniously, probably on a blended ROAS model

Attribution is already complex, but it will become even more so. This will require marketing to work collaboratively and not be siloed by their channel. Ask customers to regularly rate their experience on each channel to gauge the effectiveness and find out how to serve them with more value.

Brian Hennessy

CEO at Talkoot

As CEO of Talkoot, Brian helps brands create deeper connections with consumers on every product page. Before Talkoot, he was the global writing director at Adidas. He then found a brand consultancy that helped brands find their story and use it to better products, more loyal customers, and happier employees.

The return to privacy means we’ll be seeing more brands like Patagonia and Glossier and fewer like Casper and Bonobos. 

When I buy from Patagonia, I’m voting for a world where the wilderness is not something to be conquered but lovingly cared for. When I buy from Glossier, I’m voting for a world of ‘people-powered beauty’ where there are as many definitions of beauty as people on earth. These two belief systems are refreshing alternatives to the dominant belief system that dominate their respective categories. Those belief systems also drive everything these brands do, say, and create.

A purchase of a Bonobo’s shirt or Casper bed, on the other hand, signals nothing more than an appreciation of quality products coupled with a lack of time or appetite for mall shopping. Like most digital-native brands, Bonobos and Casper grew to prominence by exploiting a moment in time when leading brands weren’t able to shift to a digital, DTC-first business model.

The pandemic woke sleeping retail giants like Nike, P&G, and Lululemon to the importance of a strong digital DTC channel. And Apple’s iOS updates robbed smaller digital native brands of their most critical competitive advantage. This means all brands—big and small—will once again struggle or thrive based on how compelling consumers find the unique point of view that drives their products and messaging.

Bryan Starck

Chief Email Officer at 100 Celsius

I help eComm entrepreneurs create lifelong fans and scale profitably with email marketing.

I believe the recent and upcoming iOS, and other privacy changes, will force a huge divide between brands that practice “good” salesmanship and those who practice “bad” salesmanship.

Here’s what I mean:

We’ve all had bad sales experiences before. Maybe at a used cart lot, a mall kiosk, or over a Zoom call.

There are a couple of characteristics that we recognize in bad salespeople:

  1. They often use high-pressure or manipulative tactics, and it feels like their single goal is to extract money from you, not help you.
  2. They don’t ask questions. They pitch “at” you instead of engaging in a thoughtful 2-way conversation.
  3. They don’t build rapport – every time you interact with them, they’re trying to sell you.

When you have a bad sales experience, you walk away feeling gross (even if you actually ended up buying).

Compare that with the experience you’d have by shopping at your local, small-town general store.

When you walk in, you’re greeted warmly like an old friend by the store owner. The owner knows your name, knows your shopping preferences, and asks you how things are going with your family. 

And because the owner has a relationship with you, you always listen (and often buy) when they recommend new products.

Plus – people don’t go to the local general store *only* when they need something. You go to hang out with friends, grab a bite to eat or drink and get the local town or county gossip.

That’s a good sales experience.

So how does this relate to all of the new iOS updates, privacy changes, and evolving marketing landscape?

Well, marketing & advertising is essentially “salesmanship at scale.” 

Up till now, most brands’ marketing (especially email) has looked a lot more like a used car salesman or pushy mall hawk than anything. It’s easy to push generic “could work for anyone” product promos and email offers until subscribers buy or unsubscribe.

But that’s bad salesmanship. And it’s going to change with these new privacy updates.

I believe that to win tomorrow’s game of eCommerce, brands will need to create a “local general store” experience intentionally.

Instead of settling for just a name and an email address, we’ll need to constantly find out more about our customers’ preferences and curate our communication with them accordingly.

Instead of selling every time we contact a customer, we’ll need to focus on creating enjoyable experiences that give people a reason to engage with us other than “buy my product.”

The brands that do this will win in the new age of privacy when the consumer has all the power. The ones that can’t are going to have a tough time.

Neil Verma

Founder of eBrandBuilders

Niel is the founder of eCommerce training and consulting business eBrandBuilders, where he helps turn online stores into beloved brands.

While markets have long regulated marketing, consumers, commercial codes of conduct (most notably the FTC’s guidelines), we’re seeing a new kind of regulation emerge: one born out of heightened consumer awareness that surpasses what most marketers can anticipate.

Consumers have finally realized that they are not cattle being herded by powerful corporations but sovereign beings who deserve respect and an informed voice about what happens with their information.

How will marketing change?

It will push marketers to find new ways to engage without requiring permission. It will also force marketers to develop more legal and ethically sound methods that rely on human connections instead of manipulating people’s insecurities for products they may or may not need.

Marketing will be rooted in an ethos and a spirit of helping people. New marketing will be embedded in transparency about who is running it, their motives, and why they are running it. Although we need to “do” things to attract attention, new marketing will impact less and use intentionality as a guiding principle. Marketing with intent should always have this focus on human connection- how can we touch more people? In the era of consent, word-of-mouth is king. Advertisers will need to work hard at arming their customers with content that connects emotionally with them, so they want to share it themselves–in other words, brand-building will be at its core. 

A great example of how brands, real brands, use this concept was recently posted by David Nay on his experience with Chewy, the Pet Supplies brand.

David writes he had to cancel an order from Chewy as his dog Reggie was battling cancer, and his pain has gotten to the point where it’s time to let him go. Richard, the customer service rep at Chewy he spoke with, was extremely helpful and shared his heartfelt condolences with me. Overall, a great customer service experience, and that he couldn’t have asked for more. The next day, the doorbell rang. And he found a lovely bouquet sitting on the front porch.

Who was it from? Richard.

David had only spent a total of $82 at Chewy in my lifetime and had never met Richard before. And this was his first and only experience, so far, with Chewy’s customer service department.

Companies like Chewy, which are helping customers, will be vying for a share of the market. At the same time, those who attempt traditional misleading methods in an era of consent will be clearly left behind.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh

Director of Marketing at Avoma | Host of The ABM Conversations Podcast | Author of 8 Books | TEDx Speaker

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh is the Director of Marketing at Avoma. He is an award-winning marketer, an author, podcaster and a TEDx speaker.

The short answer is ‘With increasing awareness on data privacy, marketing will get better.’

The extended version is —marketing teams should have been built with ‘privacy by design’ long back. It means, regardless of whether you are in the product or services business, you have privacy embedded in the DNA. 

For example, you only collect the data that’s absolutely required from your customers. For instance, if you are an internet service provider, you don’t necessarily need your customer to share their gender identity. 

Collecting data with the thought process of – ‘It might come handy someday is a bad idea.’

Another example from a product standpoint —  we at Avoma recently launched a feature wherein, when you share your meeting recording with an external participant (3rd party), you can control what parts of your meeting content you want to allow access to.

Finally, as marketers, we need to remember that if we simply stick to the basics and do good marketing, things work really well, and you build trust. For example, NPO, the Dutch broadcast company, stopped profiling the customers on their advertisement platform, and interestingly their conversion rates went up.

The time to stop shady marketing is now!

John Mills

Director of CRO @ Speero

John is the Director of CRO at Speero. He’s spent 15 years optimizing online experiences for businesses like Jobsite, The National Lottery, and Stena Line.

There will be a bumpy ride as things appear to change in favor of user privacy as industry behemoths such as Google and Facebook control how users are tracked and targeted online. 

The biggest change to marketing in the new era of consent will be the death of third-party cookies (for a while at least).

While some browsers already block third-party cookies by default, the upcoming move by Google to block them in its Chrome browser will have the biggest impact on marketing strategies that track users at an individual level. Most notable is retargeting. 

The big players in the online marketing space (Google and Facebook) already have tools and infrastructure to track users at an individual level without third-party cookies. This will allow them to monopolize the targeted advertising space, driving more marketers’ advertising spend to the closed ecosystems they control.  

What should markers do?

While a viable alternative to third-party cookies emerges, you want to continue to target users at a more individual level. You may need to shift some of your focus to platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube that can utilize their existing first-party audience data. 

A new form of tracking with its own set of privacy concerns will emerge and take the place of traditional individual-level tracking. 

In March this year, Google started testing its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) web-tracking system via its chrome browser as an alternative to third-party cookies. As part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, FLoC uses an algorithm to group people into “cohorts” based on their browsing history.   

FLoc has already been met with heavy criticism as the algorithm can group people based on sensitive information that they do not want to share, such as race, religion, or sexuality. To date, every major browser based on the Chromium platform has declined to implement FloC. 

Along with FloC, we may see a rise in other controversial practices such as device fingerprinting to identify and sell to people online.

What should marketers do? 

Decide if their future marketing efforts are to be more revenue or ethically driven. (When doing this, keep in mind that you are a web user first and a marketer second.) 

The shift to a new tracking model will spell the end for some smaller brands that rely on third-party cookies.

Both brands that sell services using third-party cookies, and those that rely on those services as part of their key revenue sources, are likely to disappear unless they can find an alternative solution that can deliver at the same or similar levels to the existing model. This not only includes retargeting but other products as well. For example, some analytics products rely on third-party cookies for some of their trackings.

What should marketers do? 

Start finding out which of your tools/strategies may be affected by the end of third-party cookies and put a plan in place to ensure that your key data and revenue sources will not be affected.

Website optimization and customer experience will become more critical than ever.

As some of the more targeted channels dry up, and while the industry finds alternative solutions to marketing at an individual level, having the best experience possible when users arrive at your site is going to be more important than ever. Users will be arriving at your site via more generic and less personalized advertising. It will be essential that you give them the best online experience possible while also utilizing other tactics to understand your customers, such as using quizzes to capture zero-party data.

What should marketers do? 

Investigate options for collecting zero-party data (there are some great examples of using quizzes to do this on the Speero blog). Most importantly, If you haven’t already, now is the time to invest in a robust optimization and testing program. 

June Li

Founder & CEO of ClickInsight

June Li is the Founder and CEO of ClickInsight, where she helps growth-minded marketing and business leaders unlock hidden potential with data to elevate measurable impact. 

“Out of adversity comes opportunity” – Benjamin Franklin.

The focus on privacy can either be a disaster or an opportunity. To take advantage of this opportunity, you need more strategic and holistic data collection.

Marketers may want to consider:

  • Pre-iOS 15 (i.e. now) questions like, “do open rates differ iOS vs non-iOS?”;
  • Segmenting and comparing conversion performance between iOS and non-iOS users;
  • Narrowing the topic of emails (more fitting to reader group), with more focused calls to action;
  • Making clear the what are the benefits of opting into being tracked;
  • Split testing will increase in importance.

Lior Barak

Founder | Podcaster | Hummus cook

Lior Barak is co-founder of Tale About Data, developing the Data Wabi Sabi method, thinking we overuse data and need to reduce it as much as possible.

Yes, the changes will drive a different approach to how we do marketing. Organizations focused on growth will need to change the marketing structure to report to the product. Why? Content will need to be driven by the product, and creativity will need to focus on the functionalities.

The visibility we have about users will be limited, meaning we will need to find the creatives that promote the right features. All should be a cut of the product strategy itself, leading to less independent marketing teams and more creativity put into the features and product strategy.

Conclusions

Did the easy access to data made marketers lazier? Maybe. New privacy policies will force marketers to become more creative but with a customer-centric approach in mind.

Marketing teams are under a lot of pressure with all these global privacy regulations and changes from companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Hard times are coming for those who didn’t already start to rely less on third-party data and use more and more the power of zero and first-party data.

The slow death of third-party data will catch a lot of companies off guard.

Who will win the best scenario for the “cookiepocalypse”? 

The companies that focus on creating a better customer experience with respect for privacy will adapt more quickly to the new context. Marketing principles won’t change, and the era of consent is part of the natural dynamism of the digital space. We need to adapt and stay true to our shared values.