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Marketing Challenges – And Solutions – for 2021

Last year was a bumpy ride for marketers, forcing businesses in nearly every sector to pivot or even replace entire strategies in the face of unfathomable circumstances. For many, the most notable change was the impact of social distancing and sheltering in place, which created a huge spike in online shopping activity, even in industries where e-commerce was not previously as pronounced. This shift resulted in a crowded digital landscape, with more organizations vying for consumer attention than ever before. 

It’s unlikely this shift will reverse itself. The challenge for 2021 is to figure out how to cut through the noise and deliver the sort of meaningful and personal experiences that can compete with face-to-face interactions.

Prioritizing Personalization 

One of the most effective ways to drive marketing personalization is with a holistic view of the individualconsumer’s shopping journey. Third-party data makes it possible. 

While cookies and lead forms can be useful, digital marketers can take a step further with third-party behavioral data to uncover even more insight into the customer journey, including real-time shopping activity, page views, email sign-ups, time spent on site, and more. 

The use of third-party data will become increasingly important as we continue to see changes to consumer behavior driven by the pandemic. For example, aggregate data compiled by Jornaya revealed a significant year-over-year change in online shopping trends related to home insurance. After comparing the first two weeks of home insurance shopping activity in May 2020 to the first two weeks of May 2019, Jornaya measured  a 200% increase in the number of online shoppers and a 191% increase in their  shopping activity. This could coincide with the mortgage industry’s historically low-rate environment, which also drove an increase in online mortgage shopping. 

To extend the example, for home insurance businesses, the question becomes which of these new consumers are shopping for policies with the intent to buy and which are keeping themselves busy while they’re stuck at home or simply digital window shopping because they heard a news report that rates are low? 

Combining first and third-party behavioral data enables marketers to identify trends that differentiate levels of intent, segment their audience, and deliver messages that align with a customer’s mindset, and perhaps most importantly, prioritize efforts not on demographic assumptions but on actionable individual data. For the past decade or more, many leading marketing teams have invested heavily in marketing to personas—segmenting campaigns and messaging based upon groups of similar customers or prospects. However, this is still marketing to averages not individuals. 

The next logical step in marketing evolution is marketing to the person based upon their exhibited behavior not upon the expected average behavior of the group or persona the marketing team or data scientists have lumped them in with. Behavioral data offers an unmatched level of insight that—and here’s the important part—used effectively and with consumer privacy safeguards, offers a huge value add to marketers and consumers by enhancing the shopping experience. It’s crucial that we remember that protecting consumer privacy is as important as collecting their data. Break their trust and customers will take their business elsewhere. 

Putting Data Privacy First  

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: data privacy should be a consideration in every marketer’s digital strategy. Not only do organizations face significant financial penalties for not complying with data regulations, unsafe data practices can breed a sense of distrust among would-be buyers and  have a devastating impact on long-term brand loyalty. In fact, studies have shown that consumers who feel their data is being mishandled will stop doing business with you

Privacy Regulation Timeline


U.S. privacy regulation affected our industry in 1991 with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which is currently under review by  the Supreme Court.


Jumping forward to 2018, the European Union introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


GDPR was quickly followed by a landmark data privacy protection law in the United States, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which became enforceable in July 2020. 


This past November, California went even further than the CCPA by passing Proposition 24—also known as the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement. It expanded the CCPA and make it more difficult for marketers to target consumers based on their online activity. 

California may have led the way, but 30 states are currently considering data privacy regulations, and experts predict that the Biden Administration may pursue similar laws at the national level. The point being that all marketers must be ready to keep up with shifting regulations as voters—consumers—and government officials continue to demand a privacy-first  digital landscape. 

Balancing Personalization & Privacy 

On the surface, these two challenges may seem at odds. How can marketers leverage individual data to deliver hyper-personalized experiences while ensuring that data is handled ethically and in compliance with rapidly changing privacy regulations? While behavioral data is the best way to know a customer on an individual level, adding behavioral data—particularly data collected by a third party—to a martech stack could easily backfire. 

Partnering with a behavioral data and intelligence provider is an efficient way to gain access to third-party behavioral insights, assuming the solution provider also prioritizes data privacy and can provide deterministic data as opposed to simply predictions or average data for groups of consumers. 

Jornaya recently launched Activate 3.0, an update to our behavioral data platform first launched in 2018, that gives marketers a new and unmatched level of data transparency. By integrating  Activate 3.0 and their CRM, marketers can identify who, when, and how often their customers and prospects  are shopping for their products. 

Jornaya also added Privacy Guardian  to its technology offerings in 2019, an update to its  popular TCPA Guardian solution that can demonstrate whether third-party data is collected in compliance with TCPA as well as CCPA. 

Partnering with a data provider with privacy in its DNA gives marketers invaluable peace of mind. They can be confident their organizations are protected while they focus their energy on marketing strategy and execution to create exceptional consumer experiences. 

About Jornaya

Jornaya is a data-as-a-service provider for marketers in industries where customers invest significant time researching their options for major life purchases. Jornaya Activate collects third-party data from a network of 35,000 websites to identify emerging consumer shopping trends and detect when individual customers are exhibiting in-market behavior, while Jornaya’s Privacy Guardian ensures all marketing data is collected in compliance with TCPA, CCPA, and other privacy regulations.

Visit Jornaya

Rich Smith

Rich Smith is CMO of Jornaya, a leading behavioral data intelligence company that helps companies attract and retain customers using a proprietary network of more than 35,000 comparison shopping and lead generation sites.

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