Recently on the CMO Alliance Community Slack Channel, we hosted an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) featuring Patrick Reynolds, CMO of BlueConic on some extremely important topics for CMOs: 

  • the depreciation of third-party data.
  • capturing and utilizing that data effectively.
  • staying agile in a world of increasing regulation around data and compliance.

We’ve pulled together some of the biggest insights from the AMA on everything from preparing for the end of third-party cookies, to the state of PPC in a first-party data-centric world (spoiler, it’s not doing great...).

Five best practices for collecting first-party data
Collecting first-party data is essential for greater control and boosting business success.

The end of third-party cookies

I'm curious to hear more about your thoughts on the tactics around moving to first-party data. Even though the change at Google isn't happening until 2024, what are some things marketers should be doing now to prepare for it, and why are these things important?

My overarching thought is that for marketers, it's a very good thing in the long run if somewhat challenging when the change occurs. 

I like to use a cooking metaphor. Right now most B2C marketers are using very similar (if not identical) "ingredients" they are acquiring in the data marketplace. Once those third-party cookies are no more, they'll both design menus and execute on them in the marketing kitchen with unique ingredients they've harvested themselves. 

Company A and Company B may be in the same vertical, but how they've gone about collecting 1st party data will likely be different as will their setup for putting that data to use. That's where I see creativity, skill, and customer centricity winning the day versus a lot of marketing "sameness" if we're honest.

I also think this will create more focus on super satisfying existing customers versus an endless quest to acquire more– sometimes to the deficit of the ones already acquired.

This is a useful "how to" to get your head around how it may unfold.

I love a good cooking metaphor! Follow up question – do you see any difference in tactics in how B2C marketers should approach first-party vs B2B marketers?

Dependence on 3rd party is generally more prevalent among advertising-centric B2C companies.

But, fundamentally, it's the same. You cook with what you have and optimize for "freshness" and "flavor".

Choosing the right CDP

Do you have any tech stack recommendations for effectively capturing and analyzing first-party data?

I'd say there are two-types of customer data platforms (CDPs). There is one designed for "business users" (typically marketers) which are designed for turnkey execution of segment creation, campaign rules, etc., without either having to code or IT or other technical kinds of intervention. 

The second kind, often called "composable" is more designed for very technical users-- typically in the Chief Technology Officer’s (CTO) department. This type is typically less structured and more flexible, whereas the former is much more ready-to-use-out-of-the-box. Basically, choose the poison that suits your role, while taking into account organizational bias (who owns what), and "need for speed" (time to value).

First-party data at scale for early-stage companies

For smaller, early-stage companies, how can we go about acquiring first-party data at scale? We’ve previously been able to leverage third-party to fill gaps until we had enough data, but this might not be possible anymore. Thanks!

For B2C companies, loyalty programs are a great way to make an anonymous customer known. Offering status, points, tiers (sometimes tears) in exchange for "declared data" is how many of the best companies have built a personalization data trove.

All of this falls under the heading of "fair value exchange". tell me a bit about you and I'll give you a more tailored, nuanced, specific experience…


Companies that take the customer's data but don't turn it back to them in the form of more elegant engagement are risking it all.

Be aware of potential AI regulations

I was wondering, AI and first-party data seem to be a perfect match, but I’m concerned about how the new laws in the US around data protection, and any potential regulations on AI might impact its use and I don’t want to go charging off in the wrong direction. How are you navigating these murky waters?

You are very wise to proceed with extreme caution. To me, AI is the How, not the what. Applying AI to fully consensual opted-in data (first-party primarily) is fine for analysis, and optimization... provided your terms and conditions allow.

Events: a golden opportunity for first-party data collection

I want to make sure we’re capturing effective first-party data on prospects/leads at an event we’re running soon. Are there any methods you’d recommend?

The beauty of events is registration– which has all the opt-in characteristics as a rule. If virtual and you're hosting, just ensure your terms and conditions allow for follow-up (and the ability to opt out). If a physical event, badge scans in the booth – often tied to some sort of giveaway – are another tried and true play.

Are we doing B2B marketing attribution all wrong?
To be the most successful and appreciated as a B2B marketer is to have a real impact on the business’s pipeline or the revenue that is coming out at the end. And that needs attribution.

The importance of data compliance experts

Our budget is pretty stretched, so we don’t have the resources to hire a data compliance expert, but we’re struggling to keep track of the various regulations across different countries/regions. We could probably find a contractor/freelancer, but I want to see if we can manage things in-house for now. Any advice or resources you’d recommend?

Privacy can't be "one of your things". It has to be someone's "thing". That someone could be your CDP or it could be a part-time expert if you're not of a size to afford a full-time resource. 

The biggest areas of focus would be your site's forms and ensuring your vendors have valid privacy practices when acting on your behalf. The trickiest bit is that it's different from country to country and in some cases state to state. There are a lot of General Counsels (GCs) who cover this even if they're not "privacy experts" or chief compliance officers, per se.

AI for speed-to-market and resilience

Considering the rise of AI, what tools or systems are you looking into for increasing speed-to-market and resilience of your campaigns?

With my marketing hat on, we're largely looking at AI as a way to get zero to one. We use ChatGPT to provide a lump of clay on a given topic (e.g. "What's next for DTC brands") and then we work with those ingredients, along with our proprietary data points to tell a story.

Basically, it's accelerated the research end of content creation.

The state of PPC

Is PPC dead in a world without third-party cookies?

Not dead yet, but it has a bad limp at a minimum.

Many thanks to Patrick for his insights, and to our community for their fantastic questions!

An AMA for our community is the ultimate opportunity to show thoughtleadership to a dedicated global community of marketing leaders and CMOs. If you have insights to share, contact our Community Manager, Millie to find out more about community opportunities.