State Of Database Strategies In 2024: Practitioners Restructuring Data Collection To Prioritize ‘Opt-In’ Methods

Published: February 20, 2024

Data serves as the foundational pillar for all sales and marketing endeavors, and the absence of first- and third-party insights would leave practitioners formulating campaigns and devising strategies with nothing more than hope. Recognizing the critical importance of data management, activation and quality, professionals are redirecting their attention to refining database strategies throughout 2024.

But before practitioners can start executing their 2024 strategies, they need to understand the data that’ll most benefit their business, as well the results they want to see from each dataset.

“There are so many different pieces of intent data — there’s first-party, there’s data from pools and there’s your own data,” said Sarah Sehgal, Director of Growth Marketing at business training platform OpenSesame. “Marketers first need to define what they want their data to look like, and then understand why they want their data to look that way. It’s easy to get distracted and overwhelmed, so you need to focus on your KPIs, what you’re trying to do with your business and pull in the data that will help drive that.”

This report will analyze the current trends in database and contact acquisition strategies, with a specific focus on the increasing role first-party data plays in the current climate. Leveraging new research, specific topics of discussion will include:

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  • The steps organizations are taking to get ahead of the third-party cookie “apocalypse;”
  • How practitioners are bridging the gaps in their database strategies to ensure more accurate and actionable intel;
  • The most popular places to store data and the departments that (should) have access to it;
  • The top challenges marketers face with all aspects of data, with commentary on the factors impeding data strategies; and
  • The specific areas where practitioners are investing to improve their database strategies and contact acquisition.

Preparing For The Upcoming Cookie Demise

With about five months until the privacy hourglass runs out of sand, just 17% of marketers no longer rely on third-party cookies — meaning that the 83% still leveraging that data source are in for a rude awakening. Despite the complexities associated with third-party alternatives, the shift toward opt-in collection processes will ultimately benefit both sides of the buying journey.

Manu Mathew, CEO and Co-founder of brand customer network and engagement platform Cohora, explained that third-party data often restricts brands from interacting with customers meaningfully, because that data is often given to marketers in segments instead of at the individual level.

{loadposition GIAA}“By and large, when a consumer allows third-party data gathering through cookies, they don’t know what they’re consenting to or how their data might be used,” said Mathew “Eighty-six percent of consumers care about data privacy, demanding transparency and control over how businesses use their data, and 47% of the respondents have switched companies due to poor data policies and practices. Because of this, brands are now pushed to find ways to access zero- and first-party data sources that foster a transparent relationship between brands and consumers.”

With that in mind, 61% of practitioners plan on slightly to greatly increasing their budget allotment toward database strategies to onboard more first- and zero-party sources. When asked their top reasons for investing in better data collection processes, survey respondents pointed to:

  • Better insights to personalize content and messaging;
  • Better data coverage of target accounts for ABM initiatives;
  • Deeper intelligence to tie intent signals to specific contacts; and
  • Better data to expand total addressable markets and identify new prospects.

Using Alternatives To Generate Better Data

In the current tumultuous work environment, data is at high risk of decaying or growing stale — specifically, 64% of respondents said their No. 1 data challenge in maintaining database quality is old or outdated data.

Other challenges included lack of time and resources to implement an effective process, no standard operating procedure for marketing/sales to keep data up-to-date and not enough data on current customers. To help remedy struggle No. 3, the most effective tactics for acquiring prospect and customer data included:

  • Website-based registration forms;
  • In-person events and trade shows;
  • Content download/offer forms on dedicated landing pages; and
  • Subscription databases.

With opt-in information becoming the new currency for marketers, zero- and first-party data will be the cashflow that supports practitioners’ initiatives. Although these data sources might be more difficult to collect — as they require more cooperation from the buyers themselves — it’s ultimately more valuable.

“Direct ownership of zero- and first-party data allows a company to have a much more personalized and intimate relationship with their customers, since they have insight into an individual customer’s interests and preferences,” said Mathew. “In turn, this enhances the overall customer experience by personalizing every step of the journey, not just the initial offer.”

Arguably, the most structurally sound method of ensuring data is easily accessible and useful is to create a single source of truth that both sales and marketing teams can access.

“You need to create a culture of open and honest communication,” said OpenSesame’s Sehgal. “When there are issues with data, you want everyone to feel comfortable to ask those questions and create the space where you can acknowledge, ‘Hey, it’s not all perfect — how do we work together to figure out the nuances and work this out?’”


By exploring these innovative approaches, organizations can harness the power of willingly shared information to build more personalized and ethical customer relationships. Establishing cohesive communication and collaboration among different departments ensures a unified approach to data management, maximizing the effectiveness of database strategies. The integration of alternative sources and internal alignment will remain foundational for success in leveraging databases for sustainable growth and enhanced customer experiences.

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