The Power of First-Party Data in a Cookieless Era

Updated on January 30, 2024
Big Data in Healthcare and Its Impact on Patient Care

Google is gearing up to phase out support for third-party cookies among a segment of Chrome users in Q1 2024. But rather than the decline of personalized marketing, this move signals its evolution. 

For the life sciences industry, adapting to this change means prioritizing customer-centric, first-party data strategies that align with privacy and data ethics. This demands new investments to proficiently manage healthcare professional (HCP) and patient data, resolve identifiers, and seamlessly integrate with advertising and marketing technologies – all while ensuring user consent and compliance with privacy regulations.

Armed with a robust foundation of first-party data and a well-crafted marketing strategy, life sciences marketers can usher in a new era of consent-driven, highly personalized interactions. This approach allows for a more precise and holistic understanding of customers and more effective engagement.

Here’s a look at the transformative impact of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and first-party data on life sciences marketing and customer engagement, highlighting the anticipated intensified focus on customer experience-driven marketing strategies in 2024.

What a cookieless future means for life sciences marketers 

In an era previously dominated by cookies, marketers heavily leaned on third-party data to decipher HCP and patient preferences. The shift to a more cookieless environment in 2024 will bring about a fundamental transformation in targeting strategies.

The phase-out of third-party cookies poses significant challenges. It can impede marketers’ abilities to engage with HCPs and patients effectively across multiple fronts. This includes the ability to identify high-value prospects, re-engage with funnel-drop targets, and precisely gauge the effectiveness of digital ad campaigns. Beyond the direct measurement of conversions and ROI, this shift disrupts conversion attribution, remarketing efforts, ad fraud monitoring, and the establishment of frequency caps.

Adapting to this change necessitates a renewed emphasis on first party data collection strategies, contextual targeting, and other methods independent of third-party cookies.

Proactivity is key to mitigating challenges brought on by the deprecation of third-party cookies 

Mitigating these risks requires a multifaceted approach rather than a single magic pill. Organizations need to fundamentally reimagine the role of digital advertising in engaging HCPs and patients; they should focus on securing a first-party audience at a substantial scale. Let’s look at three crucial areas that organizations must have on their 2024 priority list to ensure success:

  • Zero and First-Party Data: Just because organizations can no longer leverage customer insights through third-party cookies doesn’t mean that there are no insights available. Organizations need to switch to collecting data directly from how customers interact with their digital properties. In other words, they need to switch to zero-party and first-party data collection.

Gathering zero- and first-party data involves securing each individual’s consent around information gathered and preferences. To get started, it is important to have a robust data collection and consent framework. Utilizing approaches such as CNAME (canonical name), server-side cookies, and a focus on  ‘sticky’ identifiers such as emails, phone numbers, NPI, etc., can reduce reliance on mobile or browser identifiers. Strategic partnerships with leading technology vendors and media collaborators can provide access to their extensive first-party data libraries, enabling marketers to enhance internal strategies for long-term personalization.

  • Precise Data Consolidation & Customer 360: Crafting unified, accurate, detailed, and privacy-ready HCP or patient profiles across various channels is crucial. The creation of comprehensive and up-to-date 360-degree profiles will enable life sciences marketers to deliver timely, relevant, and highly personalized experiences rooted in real-time-data, while remaining compliant with regulations such as HIPAA.
  • A Strategic Rethink of Analytics: Companies must begin 2024 by enhancing their segmentation and cohort analytics strategy. Leveraging AI capabilities and adopting a data-centric approach are essential to organize and mine insights from audience data. This approach will ultimately deliver precise, personalized brand experiences across digital and physical touchpoints throughout the customer journey.

Achieve your marketing ambitions by investing in the right technology

Working with a data-centric partner, like a customer data platform (CDP) or Next Best Action (NBA) engines, can play a pivotal role in collecting and stitching HCP or patient data, performing ID resolution, sharing recommendations for content affinity and channel preference, and seamlessly orchestrating across advertising and marketing tools. Think of them as a personalized storehouse, gathering insights on each customer’s actions and habits.

Additionally, the growing importance of integrated consent management to ensure regulatory compliance cannot be understated. Achieving mastery in zero- and first-party data may necessitate additional investments in technologies such as web analytics, voice of customers, social media listening tools, and media tracking tools.

Collectively, these technologies are not just beneficial, but essential for adapting to the evolving landscape of personalization within the cookieless environment that the life sciences industry now faces. The power of a CDP partner can lead to:

1. Seamless Fusion of Online & Offline Data: The power of a CDP lies in combining online and offline customer data, and employing robust identity resolution mechanisms to construct 360-degree visitor profiles. This capability is pivotal to converting unknown visitors to known prospects, a crucial step for effective engagement of the customer.

2. Automated Segmentation and Predictive Capabilities: A CDP acts as a rules-based engine that allows organizations to automatically segment customers based on their behavior, channel preferences, etc. A capable CDP can and should integrate with technologies such as an NBA engine, so that life sciences marketers can achieve customer journey personalization that is driven by predictive insights.

3. Real-time Optimization of Channels and Content: Using a CDP, marketers can gain significant advantages by orchestrating real-time engagement across various touchpoints, both digital and physical. Turnkey integrations with leading MarTech vendors and channels means the customer can be engaged on the right channel, at the right time, using the right content. Moreover, marketers can also use built-in or external dashboards and analytics to gain strategic insights by tracking campaign performance, conversion, script lift, etc. as well as the journey progression of HCPs and patients through the marketing funnel.

Akhil Mahajan
Akhil Mahajan

Akhil Mahajan is Director of Strategic Initiatives at Indegene.

Nirmal Vemanna
Nirmal Vemanna

Nirmal Vemanna is Pharma Product Lead at Tealium.