3 Steps To Futureproof Demand Generation And Achieve First-Party Data Maturity

When Google launched its Privacy Sandbox, the news rang alarm bells for B2B marketers and advertisers. This signaled an end to third-party cookies on Google Chrome, which has over 65% of the browser market share.

The Privacy Sandbox, however, was only the final nail in the coffin for evolving legislation across the world to improve privacy compliance – particularly the GDPR in the European Union and the CCPA in the U.S. (and various other state regulations since following).

Despite setbacks announced by Google to eliminate third-party cookies (three times now in June 2024, with the last delay announced in April of the same year), preemptively building your first-party database is paramount for being prepared when these cookies are truly phased out.

Investing in this now presents a competitive advantage as many organizations have deprioritized their strategies to navigate the phase-out, which will likely lead to significant disruption when the Privacy Sandbox comes into effect.

Indeed, 75% of marketing and client experience users relied heavily on third-party cookies in 2023, and 45% of leaders are spending over half of their marketing budgets on cookie-based activations.

In this guide, I present a simple, three-step process to futureproof your data strategy.

The idea is to start with a demand generation program to collect your initial batch of first-party data and continue to enhance it in future iterations while phasing out third-party sources.

1. Survey Clients To Build Up Your First-Party Data

Surveying clients is the first step to building up your first-party database because they can comment on your buyer experience, as well as the quality of service.

The focus of this survey is to gain rich first-party data to inform updates to your buyer personas and Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) in line with your loyal clients to guide your demand generation strategy.

Therefore, determining precise questions that enable you to field actionable insights is key for this survey.

Below are four examples of questions to encourage clients to share valuable, first-party data:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): From 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would refer [Organization X] to your colleagues?
  • Pain points: What challenges made you consider purchasing a solution from [Organization X]?
  • Unique Value Proposition (UVP): What 3 unique features of [Organization X] do you like the most?
  • Market positioning: On a scale from 0 to 10, how much do you prefer [Organization X] over [Competitor Y]?

These are just a few of the many questions we ask loyal clients at INFUSE. Since buyer personas and ICPs are fictional representations, it is key to continuously inform them with rich first-party data to maintain their accuracy and relevance.


2. Conduct A Demand Program To Gain Audience First-Party Data

Once you have first-party data from surveys, you should develop and launch a trial demand generation program to refine your data.

The idea is to gain insights from key buyers to enrich your buyer personas and bolster overall go-to-market (GTM) and demand strategies.

Below is a process to launch your first trial demand generation program and refine your first-party database:

Start With Owned Media And Social Selling

Kickstarting your trial demand program by activating your owned media with your sales teams is a great first step that allows you to fully control your approach to engaging your audience and fielding first-party data.

Leveraging a content marketing strategy is an effective way to collect first-party data. Start small, but think of a high-value gated asset for this trial that will generate demand and encourage contact form fills (lead generation), such as a whitepaper, report, or learning course.

Then, you must build a demand strategy around this high-value asset to establish rapport with your audience and encourage continued engagement.

For example, if you opt for a whitepaper, support this with initiatives across your other channels, such as publishing curated insights on social media and crafting slides for your sales team to share with prospects.

The idea is to build a content marketing suite to support your demand program across the channels your audience frequents, creating a stronger basis of brand-to-demand and richer data insights as a result.


  • Nurture prospects with personalized email cadences to keep your brand top of mind and collect further first-party data (such as engagement with certain topics).
  • Develop materials to enable your sales team to share high-value assets and build interest.
  • Create snackable content, such as 30-second social media videos, that highlight the value of your content and encourage conversions.

Find A Content Distribution Partner

The right content distribution partner can greatly increase the reach of your demand program and engage audiences beyond your owned channels.

However, data quality is key when seeking partners. Since the goal is to obtain first-party data and select partners based on their ability to provide this data, as well as its quality – it should complement your existing dataset rather than offer redundant insights.

Focus on content distribution partners with an opt-in audience and managed ecosystems that certify that prospects have engaged with the right content.

This allows prospects to be identified and matched with your buyer personas and then routed to your organization for further engagement.

Content distribution partners commonly have databases with prospects and their market segmentation criteria. This ensures high-value assets are distributed to prospective buyers who are a good fit for your organization and its offerings.


  • Audit the content distribution partner and ask questions about how they segment their audience and ensure data privacy compliance.
  • Create a follow-up structure at your organization for receiving prospects from the partner, such as an email cadence that provides more context to the high-value asset.
  • Refine your outreach targeting with market segmentation information collected by the partner.

Combining first-party data from your owned media and content distribution partner, you are ready to conduct the demand program until its completion. This should ideally take at least a quarter to glean substantial insights and a broader overview of prospect interactions (and may need to be longer, depending on your sales cycle).

3. Analyze And Optimize First-Party Data Acquired From Your Demand Program

Once the demand program has been finalized, it is now time to analyze and optimize your first-party database.

This is the start of a continuous cycle of improvement and data enrichment, which will be enabled by actioning optimizations to your owned media and partner content distribution.

Below are four questions to guide your analysis when reviewing program results and the quality of your first-party database.

Are The Datasets Relevant And Actionable?

Since the principal goal of first-party data is to inform future strategies and target prospects with precision, its accuracy and role in achieving this should be the primary assessment criteria.


  • A/B test different contact form fields to glean relevant information (such as technographic data).
  • Train sales teams to qualify prospects by leveraging your high-value content assets.
  • Utilize lead nurturing cadences to clarify specific information, such as key buyer challenges, available budgets, and members of the prospect’s buying committee.
  • Interactive touchpoints, such as quizzes, can glean this information in a user-friendly manner.

Are Your Buyer Personas And ICPs Still Relevant?

It is quite common for trial programs to highlight misalignments between the audience that engaged with your assets and your buyer personas and ICPs.

Trials can also identify how the key pain points of your personas have evolved or become outdated, indicating necessary updates needed to ensure the relevancy of your messaging across all channels.

Independent of the findings you acquired, regularly examining and updating these profiles is beneficial.


  • Analyze the prospects from the trial with an “open mind,” ensuring that your new profiles truly reflect their pain points and aspirations – rather than fit them into an existing model.
  • Discuss your findings with client-facing teams, particularly sales, to determine their relevance and enrich them with further personal insights.

Is Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) Still Relevant?

Similarly to your ICPs and personas, your UVP might require a refresh to ensure its relevance.

Due to its strategic nature, ensuring that your UVP is relevant informs all your organizational processes and communications, as well as steering how your brand is perceived by your audience.

The importance of your UVP also means that trialing new versions is key to ensuring its effectiveness before cementing it in the market.


  • A/B test your new UVP and complement this test with other methods (if available), such as focus groups, email nurturing, and surveys.
  • Identify common keywords and expressions used by prospects when discussing their pain points.
  • Analyze the benefits of your products and how well they align with the objectives of the prospects that were identified during your demand program.

Are Your Client-Facing Teams Following Outdated Playbooks?

Client-facing teams often have style guides, GTM playbooks, cheat sheets, and other materials to inform their daily activities. These assets can become rapidly outdated if they are not routinely audited.

Therefore, it is essential to revisit these assets, leveraging findings from your first-party database to ensure their relevance, considering the changes to your buyer personas, ICPs, and UVP.


  • Prioritize strategic assets used daily by teams, such as process documents and style guides.
  • Analyze marketing and sales outreach to assess if their approach regarding pain points is still relevant.
  • Book a session sharing tactics and key takeaways from the new first-party database to inform playbook optimizations.

These are only a few of the many optimizations you can perform after analyzing first-party data from your demand program.

When determining where to start your optimizations, look for low-effort, high-reward projects, specifically client-facing activities. The key is prioritizing the highest value for your organization and ensuring your first-party database empowers you to achieve your goals.

The demand program showcased in this article can serve as a foundation for future iterations to continuously enrich your first-party database.

Key Takeaways

When launching your demand programs and building your first-party database, keep these considerations top of mind to ensure the longevity of your strategies:

  • Begin with owned media: It is essential to optimize and enrich your owned media channels to start collecting first-party data. Kick-off this strategy with one gated asset in a trial demand program to gain insights.
  • Find a content distribution partner: Broaden your scope and engage pre-qualified prospects via a trustworthy partner that can enrich your first-party database with insights from new or expanded audiences.
  • Analyze results and optimize: Scrutinize the findings, summarize them, and determine priority updates to strategic areas and assets, such as your UVP, personas, and playbooks.

More resources:

Featured Image: ArtemisDiana/Shutterstock

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