The marketing apocalypse is coming.

That statement may sound hyperbolic, but it’s not something that we say lightly. The latest moves from Google and Apple on third-party data – pushed by changing customer behaviors and privacy regulators – will fundamentally shift how marketers operate.

These changes will essentially kill old marketing paradigms, and companies will need to evolve how they collect customer data and deliver perfectly-tailored communications.

Let’s take a closer look at the changes to third-party data and what they mean for companies and marketers.

Google does way with third-party cookies

Earlier this year, Google announced that it will render third-party cookies obsolete on Chrome and its ad networks. Google will stop selling ads that are targeted to individual users and Chrome will no longer collect such data.

Instead, Google is developing an alternative to traditional third-party cookies.

According to Bloomberg, “Google’s feature will let marketers continue to target desired buckets of consumers, just no longer using an individual’s web history. In theory, this will make it more difficult to mesh ad-tracking with information collected from data brokers and other providers, which has let marketers target consumers based on age, race and gender.”

Apple nixes third-party tracking on iOS and Safari

Apple also has its own initiatives to curb third-party data. The company recently launched App Tracking Transparency, which requires applications to obtain users’ permission before tracking them across apps or websites owned by other companies. With the new requirement, users can head to the Settings section of their device and view which apps have requested permission to track them.

This update massively affects third-party content providers, as it prohibits them from tracking users across websites. This means that companies using such providers will have less information about their target audience, thus curbing their ability to get to know customers better.

Apple also made changes to location tracking. Users can now choose whether they want to share their exact location or just an approximate of their whereabouts. Known as the Precise Location setting, apps can only track users if they have this setting turned on.

What this all means for marketers

All these changes will dramatically impact how companies market to customers in the next few years. Marketing will be much more difficult for those who rely on third-party data.

Data collection will decrease

For starters, the amount of data companies can collect will be reduced. Google doing away with third-party cookies means companies will have less data for user tracking.

And with Apple giving users the ability to opt-out of third-party tracking and location sharing, it’s safe to assume that customers will opt-out — meaning access to their data will be even more limited.

As a result, companies using third-party data will have a limited view of who their customers are. Because trackers are unable to “follow” customers across multiple apps and websites, they will no longer be able to build comprehensive customer profiles.

Limited targeting and retargeting capabilities

The reduction of the amount of data companies can collect will severely limit their ability to make informed decisions, so determining customer behavior and serving up the right message at the right time will become an uphill battle.

With the lack of third-party data, marketers will find it much more difficult to serve up targeted messages, which diminishes the ROI and efficiency of their campaigns.

The age of hyper-personalized communications (that often creep customers out) will be coming to an end. As such, marketers need to come up with better and more creative ways to stay relevant and deliver personalized offerings to their audience.

How to deal with the marketing apocalypse

Make no mistake: companies can no longer rely on third-party data to fuel their marketing efforts.

Companies that use third-party cookies and data should rethink their strategies and find ways to reach and connect with customers directly.

The only way to thrive in the new marketing landscape is to truly own the customer relationship and gain access to first-party data (i.e., data generated by the company’s own interactions with its customers) and zero-party data (i.e., data the customers proactively shares with the company.)

So, rather than stalking customers or finding ways to covertly convert their data, companies must focus on providing value and encouraging customers to voluntarily share their information.

This can be done through a number of ways, but the key lies in asking the question, “What’s in it for the customer? By focusing on how companies can serve their customers, they greatly increase the likelihood of customers voluntarily sharing their details.

This is why offering convenient services such as free WiFi or providing exclusive offers are effective ways to get customers to hand over their information. Such initiatives provide a clear benefit, which then entices people to share more about themselves.

Carmila, one of Europe’s leading retail property companies, understood this, and it sought to improve its data strategy by using free WiFi to promote its instant win games. Customers were able to avail of the benefits simply by signing up through Carmila’s welcome page.

Companies can do something similar, by launching efforts that provide value. In doing so, companies can attract customers who’ll happily offer their information and they can continuously enrich their database.These efforts also make it easy to get a true 360-degree view of their customers and provide perfectly-tailored messages and experiences.

Looking to move away from third-party data? Cloud4Wi can help. Get in touch to learn about our suite, which has helped companies like Burger King, Campari, Carmila, Guess, and HFE get to know customers better while boosting their experiences at the same time.