When the Cookie Crumbles, Direct Mail Data Matters More

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About the Author

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Wes Sparling

Wes is an accomplished marketing strategist and direct marketing expert with more than 25 years experience, providing strategic marketing solutions to more than 100 blue chip clients. He works with clients to effectively use traditional broadcast media, non-traditional media, online marketing, and direct mail marketing to drive results, evaluating the effectiveness of current marketing efforts and setting strategic direction for future campaigns.

Wes is responsible for providing executive leadership, strategic direction, campaign strategy, and scientific test design. He believes nearly every element of the marketing mix is (and should be) measurable and accountable. An agency founder, entrepreneur and direct marketing expert he has held executive roles at firms including: Hunt Marketing (Hunt DDB Direct), Cramer-Krasselt, and Direct Partner (RAPP LA – An Omnicom Company).

By now you have more than likely seen headlines declaring in one form or another the death of the third-party cookie. You may also have questions about what this means to your marketing programs and what adjustments you’ll need to make. What marketers should know is that while this one door of available data is closing, others remain open. Restrictions on online data collection highlight the strength of channels like direct mail.

Why Third-Party Cookies Are Being Eliminated

Third-party cookies are used by advertisers to track a web user’s activity across sites. (They differ from first-party cookies, which are used by individual sites to remember data like a user’s personal settings.) While certain browsers already don’t allow third-party cookies, the marketing landscape shook when Google announced they would be phasing them out from the incredibly popular Chrome browser by the end of 2023.

The move is an effort to give individuals greater control over their online privacy, but it will certainly impact how marketers engage with potential customers online. As we know from the European General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, data privacy is a growing concern. The onus has been placed on businesses to inform consumers about the personal information being collected on them, and provide them with an opportunity to opt out of data tracking. These restrictions on the collection and use of online data create more opportunity for offline channels like direct mail.

Data Gives Direct Mail an Advantage

Even with the elimination of third-party cookies and consumers having more control over their personal data, the fundamental use of marketing data hasn’t changed significantly. Marketers still need to reach consumers with relevant offers through their preferred channels. Losing third-party cookies will shift even greater emphasis to first-party data, which is a better way to market anyway, and where direct mail shines. Through a combination of first-party data, compiled data, analytics and identity graphs, we can market to people with direct mail and better reach them through online channels based on offline data such as postal address and other publicly available information.

Data in Action

At IWCO Direct, we analyze many attributes of compiled data to fully understand a client’s customers. By learning who’s responding and who’s converting, we are able to create lookalike models that represent populations similar to a client’s existing customers. After identifying where to find these prospects, what channels they prefer, and what messages are most likely to achieve a conversion, we put together a holistic direct marketing strategy to achieve the client’s goals.

Our Marketing Services team uses all this information to create personalized, one-to-one omnichannel campaigns. We produce highly personalized direct mail campaigns at scale. We can also take that same modeled data and create custom audiences for Facebook, or send one-to-one geo-mapped mobile campaigns to individuals on the file. Marketing to individuals who are more likely to be interested in a client’s product or service is a more efficient use of their marketing budget and eliminates some of the marketing waste that’s apparent in a pure play on audience buys.

When it comes to direct mail, our tech stack links all this data into our production platform, our postal optimization tools, and our implementation technology to customize messages based on the data. The end result is highly personalized direct mail with the most specific messaging to individual prospects at the best possible postage rates, and the ability to deploy offers throughout other channels.

There’s still time to adjust your marketing plans based on the elimination of third-party cookies. If you’d like to discuss a more targeted, cost-effective approach, we should talk.

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