The untapped potential of first-party behavioral data: 3 in 4 marketers say collecting it is critical, but less than half are currently doing so

by | Apr 12, 2024 | Public Relations

Brands and businesses are endlessly trying to figure out how to gain visibility into customer engagement and grow customer lifetime value, and marketers know that being able to collect meaningful behavioral data and derive insights from it is critical to optimizing the customer journey. But marketers struggle to leverage this data at all stages of the customer journey, limiting the personalization they can provide. 

New survey research from B2C-focused marketing and customer engagement provider Acoustic finds that three-quarters of respondents (75 percent) say collecting real-time experience data, or first-party data, is critical to the business, but less than half (47 percent) are currently collecting it. 

first-party data

The firm’s new study, Strengthen Customer Retention And Engagement With Behavioral Data, based on a survey of more than 1,200 marketing decision-makers by Forrester Consulting, explores how marketers collect customer behavioral signals and apply the data to their brands’ customer engagement and retention strategies, affirming significant gaps in brands’ customer data strategies amid the turbulent privacy landscape. By understanding customer behaviors in the moment, marketers can better meet their needs at the right time in their purchase journey.

Less than half (45 percent) of respondents are doing any kind of journey orchestration using customer behavioral signals. With marketers mostly focusing on the early stages of the customer journey, this leaves a substantial gap in creating data-driven experiences at each touchpoint with a brand.

first-party data

Other findings show that personalizing customer outreach (67 percent) and analyzing customer data and signals (66 percent) are among the top challenges facing marketers today. Notably, respondents are also concerned with marketing automation (73 percent) and audience management and segmentation (69 percent). This indicates that marketers lack the necessary tools to create personalized customer experiences based on consumers’ behaviors.

“As brands attempt to navigate the changing privacy landscape, investing in first-party data strategies that enable privacy-compliant personalization is critical. Yet Forrester’s findings demonstrate that marketers continue to struggle with collecting and leveraging customer behavioral signals throughout the customer journey,” said Mark Cattini, CEO of Acoustic, in a news release. “Without the right technology and strategy in place, this gap will only grow as third-party cookies deprecate and marketers lose visibility into customer engagement.”

first-party data

Download the full report here.

Forrester VP and Principal Analyst, Joe Stanhope, will also join Acoustic as a guest speaker to discuss key insights from the study during an upcoming webinar. Register for the event here.

Forrester conducted an online survey of 1,203 customer engagement decision-makers at organizations in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America to evaluate the collection and use of customer behavioral data in marketing and customer engagement strategies. Survey participants included decision-makers in multiple departments. Questions provided to the participants asked about their current customer behavioral data strategy. Respondents were offered a small incentive as a thank-you for time spent on the survey. The study began and was completed in January 2024. 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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