For B2C marketers, first-party data is a lot like “Zoolander’s” Hansel: “so hot right now.” Facing massive headwinds amid data deprecation, marketers want to capture zero- and first-party data from customers and build direct relationships. In Forrester’s Q1 B2C Marketing CMO Pulse Survey, 2022, a whopping 76% of B2C marketing respondents said that they are collecting more first-party data in response to data deprecation.

But data is only valuable if you do something with it — ideally, to improve your understanding of customers and subsequently design experiences and products that they love.

Thankfully, there is a bevy of partners offering customer insights, better customer understanding, and so on. But when it comes to end-to-end partnerships — from building and hosting databases to creating identity graphs, running advanced customer analytics, and supporting martech — there are a few key players worth highlighting.

Hot off the press is our newest Forrester Wave™ evaluation of customer data strategy and activation services. This is the evaluation formerly known as covering customer database and engagement agencies, and it was customer insights services before that … it’s a hard market to name concisely, because these providers offer a wide breadth of capabilities, such as capturing and cleansing first-party data, creating audiences and segments, building communication strategies, delivering relevant and engaging experiences, and connecting data to your marketing execution platforms. Ultimately, marketers should seek a partner that:

  • Puts marketers in the driver’s seat. As first-party data becomes an (even more) precious resource, marketers want more control over how customer data and identity graphs are hosted and accessed. Sophisticated partners have built highly flexible solutions, with some minimizing how much (if any) data leaves a client’s environment.
  • Has a clear perspective and plan for data deprecation. As the last three years have shown us, data deprecation isn’t slowing down — nor is Google the only force at play. Some partners have specific roadmap initiatives to mitigate the impact of data deprecation and already adjusted their identity resolution methodologies to ease reliance on identifiers that are fading soon. When it comes to evaluating partners’ data deprecation plans, get into the specifics and don’t settle for high-level talking points.

We understand that the end goal of delivering great experiences is no small lift, so we shifted our approach to evaluating agency services to help you identify the ideal provider for your industry and scenario. For the first time ever, we evaluated a broad swatch of an agency’s services: digital experience, creative and content, data strategy and activation, media and management, and marketing strategy.

Check out our latest research on the agencies that can help capture, cleanse, and activate your first-party data, as well as our new evaluation on digital experience providers. For a deeper dive, set up a guidance session or inquiry.