In marketing, data is an incredibly valuable currency. First-party data, the data collected by your company, can tell you the IP information for a user who visits your website or information about a customer who purchased your product or requested a quote for a service.

Third-party data, which is essentially another company’s first-party data (collected from survives, subscriptions, public records, etc.), is also valuable. The key difference between the two is that, with third-party data, the customer who opted in or agreed to take a survey or completed a form never agreed to be contacted by your company, at least not explicitly.

New FCC Rules

The FCC recently announced changes that will impact your access to that third-party data (or aged data, as it’s known in advertising). The new rules require “one-to-one” written consent on lead generation.

What this means varies by industry, but the essential outcome is that a company collecting data is not allowed to resell it for the purpose of marketing. The only person who can reach out to the customer is the one they initially requested contact from.

When this ruling was first announced, I was overwhelmed by calls from panicking clients and vendors. They all wanted to know what the FCC changes meant and, most importantly, how they would impact leads.

Is This Over-regulation?

Scott Aronson, former vice president of the BBB and current owner of SunRev, made a comment that really stuck with me: “This is what happens when industries don’t self-regulate. They become over-regulated.”

You can see the evidence that this is true with the steady increase in phishing texts and requests to sell your home. The industry has gotten wildly out of step with the intended purpose of acquiring customer data. That data is supposed to tell us more about our customers’ behavior so we can provide better solutions, not launch a digital door-knocking assault.

But maybe we need to acknowledge that it does work for many industries. If customers are finding solutions to problems, then is it all bad?

The answer isn’t clear-cut. It depends on how we use the data and how invasive it is.

A Better Way to Use Data

So, is there a better way to use that same data? Can we acquire new customers in a non-intrusive way?

In digital marketing, the use of AI and programmatic advertising channels allows companies access to third-party data streams and then provides methods to target those users in their daily journey online through digital radio, CTV, pre-roll video, in-game, native ads, and traditional display.

This allows a company to build a compelling media mix and deliver the ad to someone who is highly likely to be interested in your product or solution. Instead of being forced to pay attention, they have the opportunity to click, watch, listen, and then decide whether to take action to join your first-party data on their timeline.

It’s easy to see the cost-benefit. Aged data can range from $0.10-$5 per record. Even in the best situations, a 1% conversion rate is favorable.

When you layer in customer service call centers using airtime, purchasing dialers and new phone numbers to get around customer blocking, the cost for email campaigns and text messaging, all of this outreach quickly adds up. Not to mention the negative brand impact when customers (or potential customers) feel you are hassling them.

Rewards Far Outweigh the Risks

This approach feels different because it is different. Your output is about the same regarding funds and effort to acquire new customers, but the rewards are far greater because you’re creating the opportunity for the right customer experience. You are now in control of the messaging and are generating valuable data to help you convert website traffic at a higher rate.

It’s true that not every dollar spent will directly translate into desired leads, but your investment will deliver information—valuable information. Which third-party data was superior? What was the click-through rate by media source? Of all the traffic you generated, how much stayed and for how long?

This is valuable data, worth far more than a STOP text. It means that aged data isn’t dead. It just needs a facelift.