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How B2B marketers should respond to privacy law changes

What’s Changing

Tech giants like Google and Apple are part of a major ongoing shift in advertising to protect the privacy of individuals online by granting them more control over what data they share and how that data can be used. These changes come on the heels of increasingly stringent privacy laws (e.g., GDPR, CCPA, CPRA, etc.). Companies that handle user data are developing their own ways of responding, but a consistent theme is that many are removing the ability to target people with advertising based on unique identifiers.

New Pain Points Emerge

  • Reduced targeting capabilities due to channel/platform-specific changes
  • Reduced attribution capabilities due to new limitations around passing data from one channel/platform to another

How It’s Changing B2B Marketing

While the reduced capabilities are serious, companies can’t afford to abandon digital, particularly in the post-COVID era when digital continues to play a dominant role in the sales process. This shift is driving demand for alternative approaches, accelerating the adoption of methodologies that were already gaining popularity. Here are the highlights:

1. Top-Level Impact

Impacts range across digital marketing channels. While most people are focusing on the impact on advertising, email is also affected. Companies are having to reevaluate their channel strategies to ensure the new capabilities align with their needs for targeting and attribution.

2. Varied Impact Across Regions and Channels

Keeping in mind the Android/iPhone split: in the US it’s pretty even, but globally more people use Android devices. So we will likely see varied impacts between North America and the rest of the world depending on device usage and how each company interprets and implements new privacy law restrictions.

SEM may be less affected. Google has its own data from user searches, and we see them making moves with topics.

3. Growing Importance of First-Party Data

First-party data is even more important than ever before, particularly customer engagement tools that are able to ingest this and automate things like advertising, site experience, and email nurture.

4. Growing Importance of Voice of Customer (VoC) Programs to Capture Qualitative Data

Understanding clients/users (i.e. speaking to or surveying them) is more important than ever. Marketers have gotten used to robust tools and data that allow them to track individuals through their journeys. With some of these options being deprecated, it will be important to have a thorough understanding of the qualitative aspect of their journey as well (e.g., understanding WHY version A outperformed version B).

5. Accelerating Shift to New Approaches

  • Companies are devoting more of their budget to ABM programs, particularly B2B companies targeting niche audiences.
  • Companies are segmenting their advertising strategies by running independent programs within separate walled gardens.
  • Anticipate needing higher ad budgets, as well as thorough reviews of targeting and what counts as a conversion.