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Content Production in a Cookie-less World

This Gramercy Institute interview features Carolyn Caserta, Senior Director of Creative at Tag, a creative production agency, and Andy O'Rourke, Chief Marketing Officer at Direxion, an EFT provider. In a panel discussion facilitated by Gramercy President Bill Wreaks, these two marketing experts represented the agency and brand perspectives, providing insight into how financial brands can generate content and creative that earns consumers’ trust and loyalty as marketers lose access to third-party data targeting.

The Landscape


With the iOS 15 update’s privacy-related measures that give consumers greater power to reject cookies and Google’s announcement that it will end its support of third-party cookies in 2023, marketers are losing access to data that enable them to target consumers. As a result, financial services marketers’ content production strategies must evolve now.

 Prioritize compelling creative production in a cookie-less world


According to Caroyln, without the ability to target through cookies, creative assets need to work even harder to engage and retain consumers. Brands have fewer chances to make an impression, which makes those impressions more valuable.

“High-quality content will be a prerequisite,” she says.


Compelling creative provides a strong emotional connection and positive brand experience that stands out within the “sea of the same.”


Beyond the differentiation of brand colors and logos, much of the imagery and campaign messaging in the financial services industry is similar, Carolyn notes. In her work with clients at Tag, she emphasizes the importance of evaluating a brand’s competitive edge to develop a unique brand thumbprint. This articulates the distinctives of a brand’s visuals and voice that bring it to life and facilitate unique connection.


Establish trust and human connection to gather first-party data


According to Andy, when a brand’s content piques consumers’ interest, delivers value, and makes a human connection, it facilitates the development of a digital relationship. Ultimately, when there’s enough trust, people are willing provide first-party data, like email addresses, by signing up for content like newsletters and webinars. This first-party data becomes increasingly valuable as marketers lose cookies.


Gather meaningful consumer data without cookies


Andy notes that, to create content that makes a trustworthy connection without third-party data, marketers must lean on other tracking and monitoring methods discern consumers’ interests and needs.


Carolyn agrees, noting that “understanding the shift in evolving consumer insights will be critical to establish emotional connection.” That could take the form of focus groups, social media engagement, and data analytics.


At Direxion, Andy relies on surveys, data analytics, and news sources to identify consumer interests and build an accurate target audience profile. He also notes the value of paying attention to the conversations people are having online.


Overall, he emphasizes the importance of marrying all the data collected from various sources.


Use social media to inform content development


Carolyn highlights the value of social media to gather consumer feedback. You can test creative to quickly determine which content sticks based on engagement, learn from polls, and monitor shifting trends that often emerge in that space. This heightens the

importance of a brand’s social strategy.


Moreover, Andy notes, social media platforms are their own walled gardens, meaning they have profile data that marketers can leverage with paid advertising to target

consumers based on specific parameters.


Target consumers’ deep desires and core values


After gathering consumer insights, marketers will need to find strategic application. According to Carolyn, more than ever, effective brand campaigns will target people’s

core desires, motivations, and priorities.


Drawing an example from the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) space, she describes the effectiveness of a Gillette body positivity campaign that taps the desire to feel comfortable in one’s own skin. It includes imagery that celebrates the uniqueness of women’s skin in its many forms, including scars, tattoos, and birth marks. The affirmation of worth demonstrates the brand’s values, which resonate on a deeper level than the mere function and

quality of the product. 


Provide content in the right form


To plan an effective campaign, Andy highlights the importance of identifying the right type of content. He says that shorter form, snackable content is the way of the future, with video playing a prominent role. Although videos have been important for years, people are consuming them in an increasing number of platforms, making them increasingly valuable. In financial services, educational videos are a natural way to engage with current and potential clients. Tapping another type of short-form content, Direxion has been leveraging cartoon-like illustrations to communicate product information.


Tap future-leaning technology to differentiate your brand


Carolyn emphasizes the importance of taking risks to stand out in a crowded space by leveraging technology such as virtual reality. She gives current examples, including companies creating stock portfolios that turn into a virtual three-dimensional city where investors can immerse themselves in the data and providing a holographic workstation to trade virtually. Also, think virtual branches.


Andy notes that, when considering new technology, marketers should listen to Millennials and Gen Z, as those groups’ preferences will pave the way for the future.


In short, the disappearance of cookies requires brands to forge new paths to stay ahead.


Identify agency readiness to respond to third-party data loss


To gauge your agency’s’ ability to meet the demands of creative production in a cookie-less world, Carolyn recommends asking the following questions:


  • How does the agency capture campaign analytics and translate consumer insights into impactful content that engages?


  • What tools and strategies does the agency use to help brands differentiate from competitors in a way that connects with the target audience?


  • What case studies and success stories can the agency provide to demonstrate its capabilities?

  • How willing is the agency to take risks with forward-thinking strategies and new technologies, like virtual reality?


These questions will steer the conversation toward content production strategies that will be effective in the current market.


Continue the conversation


Would you like to further explore how to create captivating and relevant content that compensates for the challenges associated with the loss of third-party cookies? Both panelists would love to hear from you.


Carolyn Caserta

Andy O'Rourke

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