Getting Past The Third-Party Data Hype: Why You Need First-Party Data

Countless marketers, frustrated by what seems like an onslaught of never-ending demand generation problems, are turning to data for a solution. This, in and of itself, is a great idea. Incorporating intent data into your sales and marketing decisions enables you to build informed and strategic campaigns.

Intent data is the online behavior of consumers that links them to a certain topic and it is often a powerful predictor of their future actions. By highlighting the leads and accounts that are actively researching a particular industry, it effectively shows companies which accounts are ready to buy. However, not all intent data is created equal.

There are two main types – first-party data and third-party data. First-party intent data, or internal intent data, is the activity that you’re capturing on your website, inside your marketing automation system or through application logs. It is data that you already own.

Third-party intent data, or external intent data, is the data collected by networks of B2B publishers. This data is available for purchase through third-party providers, and is often a favorite of sales and marketing teams that think it will be a magical solution for their demand generation woes.

What many marketers are failing to realize is that, while using third-party data can be helpful, relying solely on it will set your campaigns up for failure. If you are not also pulling insights from first-party data, you are missing out on the best, most highly relevant information available to you. Not only is third-party data less relevant to your customer base, it can actually mislead your marketing efforts if it’s all you use to make marketing decisions.

Don’t let the allure of “big data” limit your campaigns. We explore the many reasons why relying solely on third-party data is not all it’s cracked up to be:

Data Decay

Today’s consumers move quickly. Their interests and objectives change based on what their most pressing issue is at any given time. The problem is that the third-party “intent data” that vendors are selling doesn’t actually keep up with consumers’ changing intents.

The shelf life for third-party data is alarmingly small. By the time your company buys the intent data, analyzes the trends and builds the campaigns – those potential customers have already moved on. So if this is all you’re using to plan campaigns, you could end up taking actions based on data that is no longer relevant.

To be able to quickly and relevantly address consumers’ needs and interests, you need to look at first-party intent data.

Broad Identification

When you purchase third-party intent data, you are not given the person or persons who have shown interest in your industry. Instead, you are given a broad account or company name. This leaves you scrambling to determine who you should reach out to, and what their specific interest in your product or service is.

To be effective in your outreach efforts, you need to identify a specific lead name. This can easily be achieved with first-party intent data tools such as Infer.

No Fit Scoring

Just because someone is looking into your industry it doesn’t mean they are necessarily a good fit for your specific product or service, nor does it mean they have any purchase intent. Third-party data offers no insight into whether or not any given lead is actually a good fit for your company, leaving you to waste valuable resources chasing down low-quality leads.

To truly know your customer, you need to take your data-driven marketing to the next level with first-party data and fit scoring. For example, Infer uses machine learning to create a predictive model of your ideal customer profile and instantly score each new lead to immediately determine how likely they are to buy.

Black Box Methods

Third-party data vendors often strive for quantity, often to the detriment of quality. And, in a quest for scale, it is easy for marketers to overlook the inaccuracies. However, if the third-party intent data you purchase is stuffed with filler accounts, you will have wasted your investment and your campaigns will not succeed.

It is difficult to know if you can trust the data given to you by large third-party data vendors, especially as they are rarely transparent about their collection methods and the information is mostly anonymous. This means that unless you are willing to purchase another tool to score the third-party data leads you receive and identify the ones that are worth pursuing, your sales reps will struggle with outbound and your progress will be slow.

It is better for both your team’s sanity and your bottom line to use one tool that can analyze both third-party and the always accurate first-party data you already own, surface leads, and then instantly score them with transparent rankings. That way, you will never have to question if your data is dependable.

How To Make The Most Of Your Data

Don’t get us wrong, third-party data can be a valuable asset but only when it is used in conjunction with accurate and personalized first-party data. Knowing that someone showed interest in a certain article can be useful, but it is not conclusive enough to actually know if or when that account will convert. You need to dig deeper.

By using first-party data to examine the actions that buyer takes on your site and narrow the lead down from an account to an individual, you can accurately assess the value of each and every lead. This information will help you supercharge your pipeline and have more informed sales conversations with potential customers.


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