It’s shocking but true: 91 percent of companies are not fully prepared for a cookie-free world. And that's precisely the reality we'll be facing within the next year. It’s time to catch up, says Viktor van der Wijk of Accenture Interactive. "Only tech-driven companies that are truthful and transparent about what they do with data will thrive going forward."

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In a new cookie-free world, it’ll be out of the question for companies to store data and apply personal recognition the way they have been. This is thanks to strict legislation like the GDPR, the development of Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), and—last but certainly not least—increasing criticism from consumers. Customers simply no longer accept that their data is randomly being used without their consent.

Although companies have known that this was coming for a long time, most marketers in these organizations say they are not yet prepared for a world without third-party data, as was noted in recent research by IAB Nederland conducted among Dutch C-level professionals. Why is that? “Companies don’t have enough in-house knowledge about digital marketing. Without knowledge, there’s no success. It's that simple,” Van der Wijk explains. 

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"Consumers want to trust their data is in good hands."

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Should they have had the right knowledge—coupled with a strong ability to execute, which is also a must—surveyed companies would have known they can still collect the necessary data with marketing technology, says Van der Wijk. This technology allows companies to capitalize on personalized data to ensure that consumers are shown the right information at the right time in the customer journey, based on their consent and preferences.

The result? The perfect customer experience that all companies are so eager to offer consumers. “However, the crucial difference is that this data is collected with the user’s permission. It’s also made very clear to consumers what their data is being used for, why, and when. These days, the way in which companies communicate these details to customers is what determines their success.”

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91%

of companies are not fully prepared for a cookie-free world [Source: IAB Nederland].

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Best in class: Google 

Van der Wijk calls attention to Google as a company that has passed this 'test' with flying colors. “You didn't see that one coming, did you?” he says, laughing. “Google is an example of a corporation that has adapted its business model to meet the changing needs of users, with the help of the right technology. Google set up a privacy check that consumers can use to personalize various different functionalities of the platform individually. It’s an impressive development, especially considering that, up until about three years ago, users hardly had any say in this regard.”

The company has clearly chosen to put users first by giving them full control over their own privacy settings. “Currently, if you enter 'Privacy Google' as a search term on Google, its very own Safety Center appears as a top search result. Transparency and truthfulness are at the forefront of the new Google approach. By disclosing information, Google has succeeded at realizing a highly ambitious goal: to gain the trust of the public. It’s an impressive achievement for a company that was previously so distrusted.”

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At Boldking, what you see is what you get

When it comes to data protection success stories, Dutch company Boldking also really shines. Van der Wijk praises the online razor blades store for its 'what you see is what you get' approach. "On its website, Boldking very clearly explains what it offers consumers, which data is required and for what purpose." That’s how it should be done.

Why can Boldking do what most companies struggle so much to do? The answer lies in Boldking's tech-focused organizational model. "Thanks to the company’s tech-driven design and mindset, Boldking is perfectly equipped to guarantee truthfulness and transparency, and it can respond to the market very well."

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This speaks to an important pain point that’s holding back 91 percent of companies. As Van der Wijk explains, “Unlike tech-driven companies like Boldking and Google, most businesses still operate with an outdated governance model. The problem: too many departments that completely ignore each other and leaders who maintain that way of working. As a slow mastodon, you lose out to companies that can adapt and transform quickly, and can therefore anticipate consumers’ needs and cater to them perfectly.”

What their needs are in this (almost) cookie-free world is crystal clear: consumers want to be able to trust that their data is in good hands. If they don’t have full confidence in a company, they will look elsewhere until they find a business that they fully trust. "Tech-driven companies that weave truthfulness and transparency into their DNA and culture are following the formula for future-proof prosperity."

If you have questions on how you can prepare for a cookie-free world, feel free to personally reach out to Viktor.

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Viktor van der Wijk is Managing Director at Storm Digital | Part of Accenture Interactive

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Check out the other articles in our digital marketing experience series: 

Viktor Van Der Wijk

Managing Director – Storm Digital | Part of Accenture Interactive

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