Podcast: The rise (and necessity) of primary research in a cookieless world with Johann Bittner

Johann Bittner of Loyalty Research Center comes on our podcast to discuss a new study on how organizations are pivoting to prepare for a cookieless future, including prioritizing primary research initiatives.

We hosted Johann Bittner Private Equity Consulting Lead of Loyalty Research Center (LRC) on our market research podcast. The consultancy specializes in the collection and analysis of primary data across distribution channels, customers, prospects and competitors to support strategic planning and value creation for the lower middle market. Johann's background in the MarTech and analytics space led him to see how primary data can help unlock new value for businesses. Most recently, LRC conducted an in-depth study with data collection firm, Rep Data, to understand how the loss of cookies is affecting marketers. 


Johann talked about how LRC has been closely monitoring recent trends toward privacy, such as the removal of cookies, anticipating impacts on the course of market research. He said that several Private Equity organizations that they work with had recently reached out about implications of these trends as they planned budgets. "What we uncovered was that leading organizations are making significant changes to both their campaign strategies and technology stack, but one thread was consistent: a heightened importance of primary data and resurgence of traditional market research."

He gave a bit of background on Loyalty Research Center, which has served clients across associations, B2B/B2C and private equity over the past 25 years in member engagement, Voice of Customer, and marketing analytics. LRC focuses on measuring the strength of relationships and prioritizing experiences based on what will have the strongest impact - be it member engagement or customer loyalty. On the B2B side, they have found that loyal customers which account for 60% of enterprise value, exhibit higher retention, greater referral patterns, increased share of spend, and less price sensitivity. Identifying those customers and what drives their evaluation is a critical component of what LRC does.

After explaining more about cookies and what they do, Johann spoke with us about how their loss is impacting clients. He said, "At many of our Private Equity clients, we are seeing the downstream impact of how recent trends toward privacy are impacting marketing effectiveness by channel across their portfolio. We wanted to find out directly from leaders what approaches have been most successful." This led to the study with Rep Data, a full service, bespoke data collection business for quantitative primary research. The two companies interviewed hundreds of marketers and industry experts to understand how the loss of cookies was impacting the industry.  

We covered some key findings that were published in an eBook, including the fact that marketers are making an average of five changes to their technology stack to address cookieless gaps in identity, with more than 75% turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Identity Resolution use cases. Leaders are investing in technology to combat pressures on social media and search brought on by the loss of cookies, and marketers are reprioritizing market research, such as panels, surveys, and Voice of Customer (VOC) initiatives to identify contextual segments. There was significant differentiation in the highest performing B2B organizations that leaned in on these trends and prioritized initiatives within their overall campaign strategy.

He covers how privacy trends are impacting marketing effectiveness by channel, and also how the highest performing organizations are shifting focus and prioritizing specific activities to future-proof their marketing efforts. We talked about specific technology and actions, most interestingly a rise in primary research initiatives. Johann gave examples of how top companies are using direct customer feedback and market research to help define audience segments,  contextual cohorts and form deeper understanding of customer needs.

Proper data collection is key for primary research initiatives, Johann says: "We’re going to start to see the need for more refined niche audiences so that companies can build target audience understanding. Even for this study, we needed a very specific audience: 175 director-level, executive and C-level marketers at leading B2B, B2C and B2B2C companies in more than 15 vertical industries, ranging from financial services to technology and from manufacturing to consumer goods. This type of very specific audience can be hard to find with traditional recruitment methods." LRC partnered with Rep Data, which has a more customized approach to finding respondents, which sped up the research process and delivered higher data quality. 

We concluded our discussion by talking about what's next for organizations who get marketing effectiveness right in the face of new privacy regulations. You can listen to our full discussion here

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