Data deprecation is well under way, and it’s interfering with frontline B2B marketing programs. Google plans to deprecate third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users in Q1 2024, and it has plans to phase out third-party cookies completely beginning in Q3 2024.

When To Start Being Concerned About B2B Data Deprecation

Should you start being concerned about B2B data deprecation now? No. You should have started being concerned months and months ago. Google’s actions, along with Apple’s and other browser and operating system restrictions, represent just one of four ways that data deprecation has been increasingly limiting B2B marketers’ ability to collect and process data about business buyers. And traditional marketing tactics won’t work on buyers concerned with privacy or in contexts where legal requirements, closed ecosystems, or operating systems are restrictive.

B2B Data Deprecation Needn’t Be An Internal Battle

But the toughest data-deprecation challenge that B2B companies need to solve isn’t about limited data. It’s deciding how to balance the privacy needs of the business and its buyers with the needs of frontline marketers running programs to generate and capture demand. You need to decide on an audience strategy before your frontline marketers can effectively collaborate with audience data.

The problem is that privacy and compliance efforts tend to be at odds with frontline marketing efforts. Marketers want to target buyer audiences and personalize their programs. Everyone wants to avoid complaints, lawsuits, and penalties. But what’s the right balance? Buyers are caught in the middle. They want relevance, and they want respect for their privacy, too.

Getting the balance wrong can crater marketing results or get the company in trouble with buyers or regulators. One CMO who I talked to recently said his marketing team’s pipeline contribution fell by more than 30% after his company enacted new policies aimed at protecting against privacy lawsuits.

Your B2B Audience Strategy Needs Four Building Blocks To Counteract Data Deprecation

So how should frontline marketing leaders solve these important challenges? There are four audience-as-a-strategy building blocks that need to be in place:

  • A clear, cross-functional understanding of the four forces of B2B data deprecation and its impact on frontline marketing programs
  • A strong point of view on B2B buyers’ privacy preferences and how to adapt frontline marketing programs to key privacy personas
  • A model for B2B audience assembly that can be used to build known, anonymous, and pseudonymous B2B audiences with data from marketing, product, sales, and revenue operations sources
  • A framework for frontline marketing leaders to work with their company’s privacy and other leaders to determine how much respect and relevance should be metered in frontline marketing programs

In a new report, available to Forrester clients with access, I explain these building blocks and how to use them to navigate B2B data deprecation and its impact on frontline marketing. Read the report here, and schedule a guidance session or advisory days with me and your cross-functional teams to help determine the right audience strategy for your frontline B2B marketing efforts.