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Davanti Dreamforce Digest #7: The future of identity, data privacy and the cookieless world

04th November 2021

Author Mariza Lob

Salesforce is an important and powerful tool that helps Davanti’s customers get closer to their customers, helping to create connected experiences for meaningful and sustainable outcomes.

A number of the Davanti team attended sessions at this year’s Dreamforce, learning more about updates to the tech stack as well as gaining insights into their particular areas of expertise – and then we asked them to share their insights and highlights as part of this #DF21 Davanti Digest series.

We spoke with Mariza Löb, Senior Manager – Marketing Services, on what she discovered about the future of identity, data privacy and the cookieless world.


Tell us about the sessions you attended and what’s important about the topic of the future of identity and data privacy.

Going into Dreamforce I was most interested in the future of identity in the consumer world, and the customer data platform (CDP) capability that Salesforce has launched. When it comes to personal data and privacy for consumers in general, there are a number of global changes taking place.

Arguably the most important one is the end of third-party cookies, as this changes the way digital marketers have been working for the past 30 years, ever since cookies have been a part of modern web browsers. These changes have an impact on business strategy, marketing and advertising. It’s a call for a rethink on overall practices.

At present a number of organisations are trying to get a picture of what the changes around privacy and cookies are going to mean for technology vendors, so going into these sessions I wanted to know what Salesforce was doing from this perspective. I was focused on what mechanisms they were looking to put in place to help marketers deal with the shift.

The main session that I attended was with Martin Kim, who talked through the changes, and what Salesforce is doing in response. There was an interesting discussion around how larger trends will impact our approach to creative, because it means we can’t just rely on our typical remarketing messages and we have to be thinking about how to more effectively personalise content and address micro segments.


Can you share more about what you got out of the sessions?

One of the main things I liked about the Dreamforce sessions was the messaging around the impact of the changes to cookies and data privacy. A lot of the time there’s ambiguity around how the changes will roll out, and how technology vendors will respond or react. In Martin’s session, however, he gave a lot of insight into the thinking of Salesforce and how they’re investing in CDP and identity to help marketers.

I have to say though, I didn’t agree with everything he said. For instance, he made the point that marketing strategies will need to be less focused on one-to-one engagements and more focused on segments. In my view, everything we’ve been seeing in regard to digital marketing signals a move to greater one-to-one personalisation and a need for businesses to develop their understanding of the context and preferences of an individual. This is where teams work to understand customers through a number of different engagements with the brand, whether that’s through a website, emails or social media, and they’re able to build up a profile of what that customer prefers. While this approach will have to change because we can no longer draw on third-party data in the same way, I think marketers will still have to include personalisation in their strategies.

On the personalisation side, Salesforce have Interaction Studio. This helps users to create a model of customers from unknown to known data, using identity resolution mechanisms to tie back into existing processes and link it to their CDP. Salesforce users can enrich customer profiles and create segments, which all comes back to building better measurement and stronger marketing initiatives. Salesforce has been doing a lot of work to tie all of the different toolsets together, which is good to see.

On the technology side, consented data collection methods are becoming critical, and to manage this process from a platform perspective, you need the right tools. Salesforce has been focusing a lot on identity consent and customer data management, considering how to achieve personalisation while also adhering to privacy. This includes building behaviour affinities and preferences of users and consumers in a consented, private context. This is really important, and something that all businesses will need to explore.


What were your key takeaways from the sessions?

My main takeaways were around those bigger picture conversations on data consent.

The end of 2023 is reportedly when Google will action the changes to its privacy policy. By this point, if businesses are still relying on third party data aggregators or data sets, they’ll be at a loss. To meet the coming challenges, businesses need to be building up their own customer data and technology sets around that now. This is where the Salesforce technology and CDP can really shine.

Ultimately though, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or how you use Salesforce, you need to have a first party data strategy in place and have this supported by the right technology. As I mentioned, there’s existing capability in areas that you need to invest in, such as identity consent and customer data platforms, or identity solutions.

Overall, a first party data strategy will look at how to keep customers engaged at every touchpoint as long as possible until conversion. This requires businesses to be looking not only at marketing and remarketing, but how to reduce or remove all possible points of friction in an experience, and refocus on streamlining the user experience. This can help businesses to build up customer profiles and rely much less on third party resources and data.


What’s most relevant for New Zealand organisations?

New Zealand businesses need to know they basically have two years to get ready for the changes around cookies and third party data. You need to plan now and then execute that plan over the next two years.

The media landscape is shifting and the power is moving to consumers and the public. The onus is on organisations to invest in the appropriate tools to manage consumer data consent and privacy. Until now, policy rollouts such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have been more in the European context, and we may have been able to fly under the radar here, but not for much longer.

If you’re still relying on a media agency to manage your audience data, and it’s a separate entity you don’t have to worry about, or you have an adtech partner, you need to look at taking this back and owning your customer data. It will be a surprise to organisations that do have reliance in this space, and at first it may require some education around what’s changing and the potential impact of that.

There are still a number of unknowns in regard to the cookie and data privacy changes, but not to the point that we can’t prepare. At Davanti, we’ve done a lot of thinking in this space already, and clearly Salesforce is also making changes to help customers move forward. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s Dreamforce isn’t all about consumer data and privacy!


What would you say to business leaders that aren’t sure where to start?

The first thing I would say is: don’t panic. Yes, things are changing but we can stay ahead of the curve.

The conversation around the future of identity, data privacy and cookies can be complex and difficult to understand if you aren’t close to the technology. It can be hard to differentiate what’s first party cookies or third party cookies and cross-domain, and it can start to appear as a deeply technical area. There’s also a chance that marketers may understand but IT teams may not, or vice versa.

Because of this, businesses can consider partnering with an organisation that understands the technology and the impact of the change. This will be a big help in navigating the various challenges. Regardless, it’s a very important topic to be thinking about because it influences how we interact with our customers and how we maximise conversions, and there are actions we can and should be taking right now.

For more information and practical advice, it’s well worth downloading and reading Merkle’s whitepaper: The Future of Identity in Customer Experience Management. And if you’d like to talk about anything covered here, we’d love to chat.


Related reading

Merkle whitepaper: The Future of Identity in Customer Experience Management

Salesforce and Bain’s The Customer Imperative in Financial Services Report

Salesforce’s Best of Dreamforce – sessions on demand

Davanti Dreamforce Digest #1: Our Dreamforce 2021 highlights

Davanti Dreamforce Digest #2: The sustainability imperative

Davanti Dreamforce Digest #3: Integration insights

Davanti Dreamforce Digest #4: Tableau and data analytics highlights