The importance of data as a marketing tool is indisputable. With the right data in your hands, you can unlock your customer base’s preferences and behavior patterns and build on this to ensure your marketing plan is targeted and effective. 

But what type of data is the right data, and why is this important? This article will explore the different types of data available to you and provide a persuasive argument as to why first-party data might be the right path to go along. 

What Are the Different Types of Data?

Let us begin by exploring the two most common types of data that businesses use to learn from their customers: first-party and third-party data. As the name suggests, first-party data is data that is collected firsthand by you as a business directly from your customers. This is the data that you are in control of and that you have permission to use. 

In comparison, third-party data is data that you purchase and is collected by external sources.

Risks of Using Third-party Data

The use of third-party data can be problematic, though, because it is collected not directly from your customer base but from a range of sources that are similar to your cause. So, while you will be getting someone else to collect and analyze the data for you, it might not be directly applicable to your specific audience base. Equally, you are not in control of how the data is collected, so there is a chance that the information you are purchasing is inaccurate or even outdated. 

The important issue of consent is also a major risk when relying on third-party data to provide the basis of your marketing strategy. When purchasing data from external sources, you cannot be sure of how this data has been accessed, and with such regulations as General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in place, the availability of such data may become reduced.

Why Use First-party Data 

As mentioned above, first-party data is data that you as a company collect yourself. This can be via analytics of your web page, surveys, looking at purchase history, social media posts, and other sources. In this next section, we take a look at why first-party data is the way to go. 

Since first-party data comes from your own customers and followers,, this type of data is much more relevant to your work than third-party data. Analysis of your own customers’ preferences and behavior patterns can be directly transferred into positive change at your organization. Plus, when collecting your own data, you can be transparent with your customers about what their data will be used for and gain their confidence, making them more likely to share with you. 

Putting First-party Data into Action

Let’s take a look at how you can use first-party data and some methods to improve your first-party data strategy. 

1. Make content dynamic

Collecting first-party data and acting on it means you can tailor content to be relevant to your customers’ preferences and needs. For example, if you run a travel site and a customer has purchased a flight to Marrakesh, then you can tailor adverts and tips for their trip based on this decision. Not only will you be providing a helpful service for your customer who is likely to want to use your website again, but you may also convert this activity into another sale. 

2. Targeted email marketing

Utilizing first-party data means that you get to know your customer base, and if you can store this data on a customer data platform, then you can transfer this knowledge into providing targeted information to your customers. For example, if you run a travel site, you have customers interested in a variety of destinations and types of holiday, and there will not be a one size fits all email that will interest your entire audience. With first-party data, you will know which customers are interested in what and ensure that they only receive information that will be relevant to them. 

3. Enhance your customer experience

Getting to know your customer base can only be a good thing, and it means you can tailor the service to meet their requirements and satisfy their needs. Successful marketing means knowing your audience’s specific niches, which can be done through the analysis of first-party data. This could be done by creating specific areas on your website related to the different interests of your clients, therefore, highlighting to them that they are being recognized as individuals. 

An effective marketing plan requires a solid evidence base, and this is best provided by first-party data. Since you have full control over this type of data, you can be confident in its authenticity and relevance to your development as an organization.