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Are You Ready for the Era of First-Party Data?

Leading into 2023, we see big industry shifts impacting strategies for B2B and B2C, specifically related to marketing and communications. Privacy is a major concern, and tech companies specifically are keeping tabs on Google’s pivot to phase out third-party cookies. 

We are entering the era of first-party data in 2023, and this change will affect just about every department in most organizations.

So, what does that mean for partner programs specifically? The decline of third-party data and rise of consumer privacy protections creates a greater need for organizations to work with partners to collect second-party data.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s break down the intricacies of first-party data.

What is First-Party Data?

When a company gathers information about its customers through various interactions each customer has with the brand, it collects first-party data. 

This type of data includes basic information about consumers, such as names and email addresses, as well as a look into their behaviors when seeking information or searching for products and services on the web.

The difference between gathering first-party and third-party data is that the former is built on a foundation of consent and trust, whereas third-party data is obscured and based on what amounts to surveillance, thus leading to natural skepticism among consumers. 

Companies own first-party data and have an existing relationship with the people they’re collecting it from. Third-party data, on the other hand, is harvested through cookies and consumers generally do not have a relationship with the company collecting their information.

First-party data can come from a variety of sources, such as:

  • A company website
  • Mobile app
  • Emails
  • Surveys
  • CRM
  • Social media
  • Sales and support communications

First-party data matters because it allows brands to deliver personalized experiences to their prospects and existing customers. Consumers expect a certain standard of service, convenience and user experience when they interact with a company in any way. 

Brands that gather first-party data can use the information consumers provide to better segment and target their audiences based on their wants, needs, desires, demographics and other specific information that differentiates individuals.

The key is that companies own the data their audiences provide when they willingly opt in.  The information collected can then be used to develop specific pieces of content, loyalty programs, ad targeting and more. 

Third-party data is now being deprioritized, and brands can work with their partners to gather useful information on shared audiences that can benefit both. The data collected should be willingly provided, which helps strengthen relationships with consumers and companies they choose to engage with.

How to Leverage Partners for Second-Party Data

Now is the time to reevaluate and focus on marketing to contacts and customers you already know. First-party data will rise as privacy laws go into effect, regulations like GDPR are enacted and consumers generally become savvier and take action to protect their information.

There’s another type of data that can be leveraged as well: second-party data collected by partners through their channels. For partners, this is first-party data they’re collecting on their leads and customers. 

For you, it’s second-party data, and it can help your company achieve greater scale than less-trusted third-party data.

Not all companies are quite up to speed with the importance of gathering specific information or behaviors from their customers. Partner managers can (and should) empower partners to gather pertinent info on their audiences through their various communication and marketing channels.

A few ways you can educate and encourage partners to gather first-party data are:

  • Trying out campaigns on new channels
  • Gathering more leads from social media
  • Interacting with visitors and prospects through chat boxes
  • Updating or simplifying existing online forms

Likewise, you should be sharing relevant first-party data with your partners. It’s an exchange of consumer information that can help both brands succeed through more personalized content, communication and experiences.

First-party data coupled with second-party data from partners can help you and your partner network target potential new revenue streams and create more relevant campaigns. Just remember: gathering both types of data requires a little work as third-party data collection fades out.

Why Consent and Trust Matter for Data Collection in 2023

Within the next year, privacy will be a major priority as big tech companies work to combat data breaches and give consumers more control over the information they share and with whom.

Apple and Google recently announced they are taking actions that allow users to better protect their privacy and avoid having their info unknowingly gathered from outside apps or websites. In this so-called “post-cookie world,” organizations and their partners will need to continue putting in the work to encourage users to opt-in and willingly provide their information.

It’s also up to companies in 2023 and beyond to demystify data collection and debunk second-party data myths among shared target audiences.

First-party data is built on trust. Using second-party data to deliver valuable, tailored experiences will require a greater emphasis on consent, as well as messaging and experiences that ease potential concerns.

Think about your relationship with your partners. To increase partner loyalty, you need to understand each other’s vision and share goals that align with an agreed-upon measure of success. Likewise, gaining loyal followers will depend on working with your partners to deliver great experiences to shared audiences.

People want to know how, when and why their data is being collected and by whom. Partners that know and trust each other can share second party data, but this should be transparently communicated to all audiences involved.

In the new year, it’s important to stay informed and up-to-date about digital privacy laws and avoid breaching any new regulations. Work with partners to stay in the know about changing or evolving privacy laws in the countries they operate in as well.

Partner Up for a New Era in Data

Working with partners, collaborating on strategy and aligning your goals to reach audiences and customers is key for the New Year and beyond. Take a look at the following resources to make the most of your partner relationship and build a solid, shared foundation, even as trends shift.


Co-Marketing Activities and Ideas for Joint Promotion – Co-marketing is about collaborating with another organization on promotional activities. This benefits both parties by helping each other reach a broader audience than they would alone.

Why Use Channel Partners – 6 Key Benefits – Quickly leveraging partners’ existing connections and market presence is one key benefit to working with channel partners.

How to Level Up Your Marketing Enablement Strategy – Drive the right message to the right audience with marketing enablement collateral that’s shared with your partners.