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Marketing has seen significant changes over the last decade. Most recently, the demise of third-party cookies has pushed marketers across industries to rethink their strategies and what to do once cookies are finally gone. But before we get into that, it’s important to understand how we even got here.

Third-party cookies were introduced as a way for marketers to track what they believed customers wanted across different platforms. If a customer was searching for an item on one website, ads for that item would show up on every other site they visited. While it initially may have been a good way to better understand consumer behavior, it actually pushed customers to lose trust in the brands they loved while also making it more challenging for brands to get a true sense of what their customers actually wanted. 

As a result, many brands started shifting to alternative methods of communicating when they realized that they were losing loyal customers and audiences. They began engaging with influencers and affiliate programs because those offered a more “authentic” relationship. However, such programs require significant investments in time to get them up and running and high recurring costs to maximize reach. This approach has caused many marketers to overlook one of the most untapped resources they have access to: first-party data. 

First-party data is the data collected from within a customer’s ecosystem. Gathered...