How to Create Marketing Efficiency For Your Shopify Store in 2024 | DTC on Easy Mode Part 1

June 6, 2024
Blake Imperl

Marketing efficiency is the best strategy for growing your ecommerce store. Learn from our experts on why they think it matters + how to get started.

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, the impending deprecation of third-party cookies is causing direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands to rethink their strategies for maintaining personalization and, crucially, marketing efficiency. 

What is marketing efficiency? 🤔🤔

Marketing efficiency is the strategy of gathering valuable zero and first-party data about customers pre-purchase through campaigns and gamified experiences, then leveraging this across the marketing funnel to craft personalized experiences on-site, and through retargeting via email, SMS, push notifications, and ads.

As eCommerce acquisition costs rise, attention spans shorten, and brand loyalty diminishes, the ability to personalize customer journeys is becoming increasingly vital. Historically, third-party cookies have supported brand scalability through paid channels since the 2010s. However, with Google set to phase out third-party cookies by Q1 2025, the approach to customer acquisition and retention must evolve.

This shift is why an increasing number of DTC brands are focusing on marketing efficiency across their funnels to secure more profitable and satisfied customers.

We're excited to present our inaugural 'DTC Insiders Series Report' on Marketing Efficiency. This report unites insights from five Digioh agency partners—experts who collaborate with dozens of leading brands—sharing strategies to stay ahead in a cookie-less world.

In this report you’ll learn from expert perspectives on adapting to the elimination of third-party cookies, embracing marketing efficiency, leveraging zero-party data, identifying crucial data for personalizing DTC experiences, optimizing email and SMS strategies, avoiding common pitfalls, and utilizing guided selling quizzes to tailor eCommerce experiences.

This report provides a clear understanding of what it means to create marketing efficiency in 2024. Their answers are worth their weight in gold and we’re giving it away for free!

Here are the questions we asked:

  1. With the deprecation of 3rd party cookies, what should brands be thinking about to ensure they stay ahead of the curve?
  2. What data matters the most to create "personalized" DTC experiences?
  3. What common personalization mistakes do you see brands making?
  4. What's your favorite "personalization" strategy for email? For SMS?
  5. Why are guided selling quizzes so important in an eCommerce marketing funnel?
  6. How valuable is it for a brand to have zero-party and first-party data about a consumer from the moment they opt-in? 

*note at the end of each section we've placed a tl;dr summary for your convenience. You're welcome :) 

And lastly, before we start, we thought we'd define the difference between zero party data and first party data as they can get a little buzzwordy.

Zero Party Data: Data that a customer proactively/willingly shares with a brand. This is often preference data or attributes like pain points, favorite food, how many children they have, etc...

First Party Data: This is behavioral data and can be things like purchase history, browsing history, location, etc... this is often data that is captured by simply engaging on a website, email/SMS, ad, etc...

1. With the deprecation of 3rd party cookies, what should eCommerce brands be thinking about to ensure they stay ahead of the curve?

Tailoring the Complete Customer Experience | Caitlin Elgin - Head of CRM & Lifecycle at Fluency Firm

At Fluency Firm, we believe brands should be thinking about the customer experience from the moment they land on the website and make sure their entire experience is thoughtfully tailored to address their needs and offer value in exchange for their information. 

It's not enough to just plan to capture zero and first party data - the WHY is as important as the how. Why should customers give you their info, and what will you do with it once captured?

Once you've gotten that down, it's important to leverage a variety of strategies to stay ahead. You'll want to consider things like quizzes, surveys, and pop ups or forms that thoughtfully guide customers through the ideal shopping experience and give your brand information to nurture your relationship with them.

Crafting an Intentional Zero and First-Party Data Strategy | Mariel Bacci Kilroy - Co-Founder at Sticky Digital

The top 3 things we talk about with our clients are:

1. Building a zero and first party strategy and integrating appropriate technologies

2. Learning to rely on behavioral targeting

3. Consider partnerships (second party data) - sharing information with trusted partners

Overall, we want to layer in zero and first party data strategies and technologies along with starting to think about effective behavioral and cohort targeting.  It is a beautiful moment to identify what data is important to collect and strategically plan how to use it.

Interactive Zero Party Data Collection for Enhanced Privacy | Wiehan Britz - CEO at Magnet Monster

Brands should focus on collecting zero-party data through interactive methods like quizzes and polls, allowing customers to voluntarily share their preferences. Enhancing identity resolution is also crucial; it connects anonymous browsing to profiles of users who opt into emails, improving personalization and privacy. Successfully implementing these strategies can significantly enhance marketing effectiveness. Notably, Shopify brands using these techniques see an average revenue uplift of over 40% in their Klaviyo flows.

Adopting Platforms that Embrace Zero Party Data Collection| Joshua Behr - CEO at AMB Interactive

With the deprecation of third-party cookies, brands must focus on enhancing their capabilities in collecting and utilizing zero & first-party data to ensure they stay ahead of the curve. Adopting platforms that facilitate the direct collection, management, and activation of zero and first-party data becomes crucial. These platforms should enable brands to gather explicit consumer consent, thereby adhering to privacy regulations while securing reliable and actionable consumer insights. 

Additionally, leveraging predictive analytics and AI-driven tools can help brands analyze this data efficiently, enabling personalized marketing strategies that anticipate consumer needs and behaviors. By focusing on these strategies, brands can maintain a competitive edge, improve customer engagement, and increase conversions in a privacy-first digital landscape.

Optimizing Touch Points for Zero-Party Data Capture| Justin Buckley - Co-Founder at ATTN Agency

eCommerce brands should be thinking about ways to collect zero party data from as many touch points as possible in their marketing funnel. This means pre-purchase quizzes, post purchase surveys, and interactive emails just to name a few. We recommend all of our clients at ATTN follow this framework in order to have enough valuable data to meaningfully engage throughout the funnel across any channel whether its email, SMS, or ads.

Digioh’s takeaway:  

Bringing a customer further down the marketing funnel starts at the very first interaction and requires collecting the right zero party and first party data via experiences like quizzes and forms. This data unlocks the ability to go from generic experiences to truly 1:1 personalization that can help a brand connect with a consumer on a deeper level but do it at scale. Brands should focus on quizzes, gamified experiences and behavioral targeting to build meaningful customer connections.

2. What data matters the most to create "personalized" DTC experiences?

True Story

Focusing on Asking the Right Questions at the Top of the Funnel | Mariel Bacci Kilroy - Co-Founder at Sticky Digital

Zero and first party data that is related to your products and how your audience might engage in a sales cycle. We have worked with a lot of brands that ask a lot of questions from their audience, and then are not able to leverage it in any real way.  If you're selling dog food, do not ask a person if they are male or just isn't relevant.  Ask them the age of their dog, the weight of their dog and if their dog has special needs.  

To think through this even the breed of their dog important to you?  How valuable is it for you to personalize your content based on dog breed, knowing there are very few cases in which the dogs breed will effect how a person shops for dog food.  Each question is valuable, so focus on the ones that will have the highest impact, and cull the ones that might seem highly relevant but don't help you serve your customer." 

Leverage Behavioral Data for Genuine Engagement | Joshua Behr - CEO at AMB Interactive

To create personalized DTC experiences, focusing on collecting data that tracks individual consumer behavior is crucial. This includes data on past purchases, browsing history, and engagement with previous emails, which enables tailored product recommendations and content. Demographic information such as age, location, and interests helps segment audiences and tailor messages to resonate with different groups. Additionally, utilizing feedback and survey responses can refine personalization efforts, making marketing campaigns more effective and engaging for consumers. - Joshua Behr, CEO @ AMB Interactive

Utilize Demographics for Precise Targeting | Wiehan Britz - CEO at Magnet Monster

To create personalized direct-to-consumer (DTC) experiences, it's essential to focus on key data like customer demographics, purchase history, and browsing behavior. Demographics help tailor content, purchase history informs recommendations and promotions, and browsing behavior enables real-time customization. Additionally, direct feedback refines personalization further. Collectively, these data points enhance the relevance and engagement of DTC brand experiences for customers. - Wiehan Britz, CEO @ Magnet Monster

Listening to the Voice of the Customer| Justin Buckley - Co-Founder at ATTN Agency

Data is important, but I’d take it a step further and think about the voice of the customer that you are trying to sell to. You cannot personalize without having marketing that understands and speaks to who they say they are, who they want to be, what problems they want to solve. This is often highly lacking form personalization across all marketing channels.

Identifying Key Customer Pain Points is Everything| Caitlin Elgin - Head of CRM & Lifecycle at Fluency Firm

The best data to capture for personalization would be zero-party data around customer pain points or desires. You'll want to learn as much as you can about the mind state a customer has when approaching your brand - that way you can start to personalize messages around very specific information the customer is looking for. The details you'll want to capture should address why customers are shopping with your brand and either help guide them to the right product, or give you enough info to send them messages to direct them to purchase.  - Caitlin Elgin, Head of CRM & Lifecycle @ Fluency Firm

Digioh’s Takeaway:

Personalization that cuts through starts by understanding who your customer is and what pain/problems they are trying to solve for by engaging or shopping with your brand. It’s important to understand what data actually will matter and then determine a strategy for gathering that data. It’s critical to look at first party data like site behavior, purchase history, email/SMS/ads engagement, etc… but then also being able to pull in relevant zero party data that speaks to their preferences, interests, pain points, etc… by pairing these two together onsite and offsite you can truly create marketing efficiency. It’s highly important that you have a tech stack that enables you to do this seamlessly across marketing channels — shameless plug here for Digioh and what we enable DTC brands to do with their data to create personalization at scale!

👉 Learn more about how to do this today with one of our DTC experts

3. What common personalization mistakes do you see brands making?

Neglecting the Obvious | Justin Buckley - Co-Founder at ATTN Agency

Thinking that personalization means adding the customer's name in the email title. Personalization means speaking directly to what your customers want, who they think they are, and solving their specific problem. In sum, making them feel like you understand who they are and that you care.

Having No Strategy Around Data Usage At All| Caitlin Elgin - Head of CRM & Lifecycle at Fluency Firm

The biggest issue we've seen at Fluency Firm is brands under-utilizing their zero and first-party data —or worse, some brands have no strategy to capture this info at all. Even small levels of detail like birthdays can make a huge difference in offering your customers tailored experiences that make them feel like they have a personal relationship with your brand. 

Capturing info with quizzes allows you to better understand and address a customers' specific needs, wants, and problems they're trying to address - so in return you need to leverage that info to assuage their pre-purchase anxieties and make customers feel like you're really meeting them where they are at.

The Consequences of Over-Automation | Wiehan Britz - CEO at Magnet Monster

Common personalization mistakes include over-relying on automation, using outdated data, disrespecting privacy, and inconsistency across channels, often resulting in a disjointed and intrusive customer experience. We service a big DTC footwear brand that is struggling to make head or tails of their personalization efforts due to disjointed data points within their system. - Wiehan Britz, CEO @ Magnet Monster

Repetitive Content That Feels Too Vanilla| Joshua Behr - CEO at AMB Interactive

A common personalization mistake brands make is sending repetitive content, which can frustrate customers and reduce engagement. This often happens when brands do not adequately track or update customer interactions and purchase histories within their CRM systems. As a result, consumers might receive the same product recommendations or promotional emails multiple times, despite previous interactions indicating a lack of interest or a completed purchase. To avoid this, brands must implement dynamic content strategies that adjust to new data and interactions, ensuring each message is relevant and unique to the recipient's current interests and needs. - Joshua Behr, CEO @ AMB Interactive

Not Asking The Right Questions to Frame Up Your "Why"| Mariel Bacci Kilroy - Co-Founder at Sticky Digital

"We need to personalize more." This is the problem we see most brands making. This idea of personalization for the sake of personalization. 

Personalization done right is when brands end up building beautiful personalized experiences through statements like, "I want our VIP's to know how important they really are to us, let's build a program to show them." Or, “we sent out 20,000 samples of our new product. I want to encourage the people who tried it to convert." 

That is what personalization and creating growth for a brand is about.

Digioh’s Takeaway:

Inconsistent messaging and ineffective data utilization strategy are prevalent across the bulk of DTC experiences today. Not directly speaking to what makes a customer tick can cause a customer to tune out. Further, having no zero party or first party data capture strategy in place with experiences like quizzes so you can meet them where they’re at.  

A lack of innovation can also be the major culprit with over-reliance on dated customer data that might not even meet them where they are or sending  repetitive communications or showing the same things over and over. 

4. What's your favorite "personalization" strategy for email? For SMS?

Shop By Size Is a Game Changer for Email & SMS | Joshua Behr - CEO at AMB Interactive

A standout personalization strategy for email and SMS marketing is the "shop by size" approach. 

By segmenting subscribers based on their size preferences gleaned from past purchases, browsing history, or click data, emails or sms can feature product recommendations that are perfectly "sized" for the recipient. 

This targeted method not only enhances the relevance of the content but also significantly improves the shopping experience by alleviating common concerns about fit and if available in their size. The result is a more engaging and efficient interaction that drives sales. 

Geolocation in Real-Time Marketing | Wiehan Britz - CEO at Magnet Monster

We've implemented a fun SMS strategy that uses geolocation data to connect offline and online sales, sending alerts about nearby events and sales, enhancing the personalized experience and encouraging immediate action.

Quiz Completed Flows Are A Game Changer for Email and SMS | Justin Buckley - Co-Founder at ATTN Agency

We take answers from quizzes and post purchase surveys to build out custom email and SMS flows that address the information gathered and send customers to tailored offers. The outcome is a 1:many strategy that feels 1:1 for the customer. This is such a big win for both performance and the customer experience.

The Top 5 Must Haves for Personalization on Email and SMS | Mariel Bacci Kilroy - Co-Founder at Sticky Digital

Our top 5 personalization strategies at Sticky Digital for email and SMS are:

1. Targeting people who get samples with relevant upsell flows

2. Reminding people how many points, dollars etc... that they have available to them in their membership programs

3. Creating welcome flow content based on landing page

4. Pulling in reviews specifically about an abandoned product in abandonment messaging

5. Crafting flows or updating legacy flows based on survey data

Leveraging Horoscopes for Engagement Are Underrated! | Caitlin Elgin - Head of CRM & Lifecycle at Fluency Firm

One of my favorite high-engagement tactics is leveraging messaging about horoscopes to not only create a tailored experience, but also get birthday/seasonality info from a customer. For example, we'll send an SMS asking a customer "what's your sign" and offer a personalized recommendation in return. Customers are often at the very least intrigued to find out with the mystery recommendation is, and even if they do not convert on this message, you'll be able to target them with "Aquarius season" messages in the future.

Digioh’s Takeaway:

Leveraging high-intent moments like quiz-completed flows on email and SMS can be a goldmine for highly-personalized emails that can increase engagement and conversions. If you don’t have one set up for your brand, you are missing out! 

Additionally, breaking the mold is a surefire way to stand-out and win the inbox. Leverage data that you have at your disposal like zero party data about their preferences and interests or browsing history, purchase history, location, etc… to serve up messages that speak to what the shopper has expressed interest in!

🧠 Learn more about the easy button to email and SMS personalization here

5. Why are guided selling quizzes so important in an eCommerce marketing funnel?

The best DTC brands build their quizzes with Digioh!

Gudied Selling Quizzes Are The Biggest Win-Win For Brands and Consumers | Mariel Bacci Kilroy - Co-Founder at Sticky Digital

Guided selling quizzes make online more personal and fun.  They are like a helpful salesperson mixed with your favorite personality quiz, with something fun to buy at the end.  They cut through the clutter of too many choices, making it easier for customers to make decisions.

Beyond keeping customers happy and engaged, quizzes offer brands insights into what their customers truly want, enabling them to craft personalized marketing efforts.  Additionally, when recommendations hit the mark, customers are less likely to return their buys, benefitting both shoppers and brands. 

Guided selling quizzes are a win-win, enhancing the shopping experience for customers while boosting performance for brands.

Guided Selling is a Major Funnel Boost for Frictionless Shopping| Justin Buckley - Co-Founder at ATTN Agency

Quizzes offer us a way to create logic trees wherein each question answered cements a problem deeper in the customer's mind. Once they complete the quiz the customer can hit a specific landing page that directly addresses their concerns, reducing purchase friction, and improving conversion rates. When done right they can become a major funnel boost. - Justin Buckley, Co-Founder @  ATTN Agency

Using Quizzes for Customer Insight | Caitlin Elgin - Head of CRM & Lifecycle at Fluency Firm

Quizzes are so critical because they not only guide your customer to their ideal shopping experience, but also give your brand valuable data points that you can use to create highly personalized and targeted messages for your customers. With quizzes you can generate specific product recommendations and make it simpler for the customer to choose the right item, or you can leverage the info to send them personalized recommendations or replenishment reminders.

Boosting Conversions with Tailored Quizzes | Wiehan Britz - CEO at Magnet Monster

Guided selling quizzes have personalizde the eCommerce experience for our skincare brand partners, boosting customer satisfaction and increasing conversion rates by up to 30%. They provide valuable data for refining marketing strategies and improving segmentation, making messaging 10X more impactful. For us it's a total win-win for both brand and consumer.

Personalizing Shopping with Guided Quizzes | Joshua Behr - CEO at AMB Interactive

Guided selling quizzes are crucial in a marketing funnel because they enhance customer engagement and personalize the shopping experience. These quizzes help pinpoint customer preferences and needs by asking a series of tailored questions, effectively narrowing down product options to those most relevant to the shopper. This not only simplifies the decision-making process for customers but also increases the likelihood of a purchase by presenting the ideal products. Additionally, the data collected from these interactions provides valuable insights into consumer behavior, enabling more accurate targeting and segmentation in future marketing efforts. Ultimately, guided selling quizzes transform passive browsing into active buying, boosting conversion rates.

Digoh’s Takeaway:

We might be a little biased but guided selling quizzes are becoming a must-have for DTC brands for: 

  • Improving conversion rates by up to 300%
  • Capturing invaluable zero and first party data (Digioh customers capture over 50+ data points) that make email/SMS/ads remarketing a breeze
  • Creating confident purchases

If you haven’t tried a quiz for your DTC store yet — you are missing out! 

💡 Browse 61+ eCommerce quiz examples that convert here

6. Compared to 3rd party identity solutions which rely on implicit opt-in (meaning consumers did not fill out a form with explicit consent) Digioh's owned identity solution helps grow email and SMS lists with only explicit opt-in and enriching it with robust zero and first party data. 

In your opinion, how valuable is it for a brand to have zero-party and first-party data about a consumer from the moment they opt-in? 

The Importance of Compliant Data Practices | Wiehan Britz - CEO at Magnet Monster

Collecting zero-party and first-party data from opt-in is crucial. It ensures reliable, compliant data, enabling precise personalization and boosting retention. For instance, French Florist (a former client of Magnet Monster) found that 85% of their newsletter subscribers buy gifts, aiding targeted campaigns to encourage self-purchases later in their journey.

Building Relationships Through Data Insights | Caitlin Elgin - Head of CRM & Lifecycle at Fluency Firm

It's incredibly important to start capturing zero- and first-party data from the moment a customer opts in so you can build an engaging relationship with them right from the start. The more personalized a customer's experience is, the more likely they are to find the product that's right for them and return as you target them with messages tailored explicitly for their wants or needs. 

Starting Strong with Early Data Collection | Mariel Bacci Kilroy - Co-Founder at Sticky Digital

By collecting data directly from consumers with their consent, brands demonstrate a commitment to privacy and trust, setting themselves apart. Additionally, first-hand data is more accurate and relevant, providing insights that inform effective decision-making and strategy development. Overall, leveraging zero-party and first-party data drives competitive advantage, future-proofing against regulatory changes, creating deeper relationships with customers and in turn, business growth.

This is the business we are in at Sticky Digital and we believe collecting zero-party and first-party data about a consumer from the moment they opt-in is not an option.  It is this data collection that starts the wheel of successful lifecycle and retention marketing.

Trust and Personalization in Data Use | Joshua Behr - CEO at AMB Interactive

Having zero-party and first-party data from the moment a consumer opts in is extremely valuable for a brand. Zero-party data, which is provided intentionally and proactively by consumers, along with first-party data collected directly through interactions, offers a high level of accuracy and relevance. 

This depth of data enables brands to tailor their onsite and email marketing efforts precisely, improving personalization and enhancing the overall customer experience. It also fosters trust, as consumers know exactly what information they are sharing and how it will be used. 

Ultimately, this approach can lead to increased customer loyalty and higher conversion rates as communications are based on solid, consented-to data foundations.

The Necessity of Proactive Data Collection | Justin Buckley - Co-Founder at ATTN Agency

Privacy is not going to get any less restrictive. Pixels and tracking codes are not going to get more transparency. It's not only valuable, it's necessary if brands want to succeed in 2024 and the years to come. If you aren’t thinking about this now you are going to miss out big.

Digioh’s Takeaway:

Zero and first-party data collection from opt-in builds trust, enhances personalization, and drives business growth. By capturing data directly with explicit consent, brands ensure compliance, improve customer engagement, and gain valuable insights for decision-making. This data is crucial in a world of stricter privacy regulations and evolving customer expectations, enabling accurate, tailored marketing strategies and deeper relationships that boost loyalty and conversions.

🧠 Learn more about how why owned identification is critical to a zero and first party data capture strategy

Looking forward to the rest of 2024 and beyond for marketing efficiency

As we conclude this journey through our first 'DTC Insiders Series Report,' it's clear that the future of marketing is about efficiency—understanding and utilizing customer data to its fullest potential. This report has covered everything from the strategic collection of zero-party data to the nuanced challenges of personalization without reliance on third-party cookies. Our partners have provided actionable insights that not only predict the future of marketing but also demonstrate how to excel in it.

As the cookie-less era unfolds, Digioh stands ready to help you adapt and thrive, ensuring that every piece of data enhances your customer's journey. Ready to see how Digioh can transform your approach to marketing efficiency? Book a demo and explore how we can empower your brand to connect deeply and personally with every customer.

👉 Book a Demo and Discover More

Blake Imperl
VP of Growth Marketing
Blake Imperl is the VP of Growth Marketing at Digioh and host of 2% the Podcast. He is a D2C marketer turned SaaS marketing leader having served at companies like Attentive, Wonderment, Tone, and Carro.

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