Using the Power of 1 to Pave the Way in a Cookieless World

Epsilon has been preparing for a world without third-party identifiers. Learn how their parent company’s Power of One strategy is helping them scale for a first-party data future.

Written by Eva Roethler
Published on Jul. 19, 2021
Using the Power of 1 to Pave the Way in a Cookieless World
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The cookiepocolypse is coming. It's just a matter of when.

After years of relying on third-party cookies for insights on consumer behaviors, the marketing and advertising industries are being forced to pivot due to new concerns over privacy. Browsers, including Google Chrome, are proactively phasing out third-party cookies that collect individual user data — though Google recently delayed third-party cookie deprecation by a year. International and state-level legislatures are enacting new data privacy rules. And frankly, many consumers have been creeped out by the clairvoyant nature of digital ads following them around the internet without permission. Yet, in contradiction, those same consumers are expecting increasingly personal brand journeys. 

Epsilon Chief Product Officer Joe Doran calls it the age of personalization in advertising. “People want to have intimate experiences with a brand. They want to make sure the brand knows who they are, and the brand can actually react to them,” he said. Meanwhile, marketers are challenged to collect information to create those experiences only after getting the right permissions from consumers. 

“There’s not a lack of challenges,” said Doran. “The industry is changing all the time; privacy laws are changing all the time. There are new competitors that disrupt the industry every day. Every day, I am tackling very tough, strategic and intellectually challenging problems.”

There’s not a lack of challenges. The industry is changing all the time; privacy laws are changing all the time. There are new competitors that disrupt the industry every day. Every day, I am tackling very tough, strategic and intellectually challenging problems.”


Brands need a direct relationship with the consumer and permission to market to them. The pivot to first-party data has some marketers scrambling to scale this new strategy. But Epsilon, an outcome-based marketing company with martech and adtech solutions, has been preparing for a world without third-party identifiers for years with its first-party, privacy-by-design products.


Tapping Into the Power of One

Attracted by these technology and data capabilities, French marketing firm Publicis Groupe acquired Epsilon in 2019. As one of the biggest and oldest communications groups in the world, Publicis Groupe has agencies around the world, including Epsilon, all of which are unified by the “Power of One” strategy. 

This blueprint has transformed the holding company into a modular platform, organizing agencies into solutions hubs that work together seamlessly to create custom products for each client. Now that the dust has settled on the acquisition, Epsilon is positioned at the center of Publicis Groupe’s growth strategy, fueling operations with its data. 

When Publicis Groupe acquired Epsilon, the pieces for the strategy were already in place. Today, the technology is more robust, the teams are collaborating, leadership is coming together, and ultimately, the organization is stronger. Epsilon is already embedded in more than half of Publicis Groupe’s top 30 accounts, and is “a key strategic partner with Adobe for success in a cookieless world” according to a recent press release. 

2019 photo of Epsilon team.
Epsilon team in 2019.

Data’s First-Party Future

Personalization is everything, according to Doran. But often, clients might have one dataset for a consumer in one channel and a different data set in another channel, making customization a challenge and requiring marketers to do a lot of reconfiguration. Epsilon, in conjunction with Publicis Groupe, aims to soothe those paint points for clients while also prioritizing privacy.

“This is a great place to work on cutting-edge technology and solve the industry’s problems. That’s what gets me excited to come to work every day,” said Doran.

Launched on the heels of the Publicis Groupe acquisition, Epsilon’s PeopleCloud is an integrated suite of products that enables brands to personalize consumer journeys and build strong relationships with customers through data. It offers a central point of truth by creating a unified profile of every consumer at any point in their journey with a brand, whether it’s online or offline. The data comes together to inform loyalty programs, email solutions and more. A universal profile gives a clear picture of customer behavior, while also letting consumers know that their data is privacy-protected, secured and valued.


Related ReadingHow Epsilon Built a ‘Central Point of Truth’ for Customers in Less Than 90 Days


The move didn’t go unnoticed. Forrester Research ranked Epsilon highest in the Current Offering category of its first quarter evaluation of customer database and engagement agencies, noting that the company’s “considerable data assets and tech strategy and integration chops form the backbone of the holding company's 'Power of One' strategy.” The report further characterized the new offering as “modular, scalable and better integrated with CORE ID, Epsilon's ID resolution product. That means better reach and scale across the digital media ecosystem.”


It Takes a Village

Cross-functional and -organizational teams are part of the value proposition Epsilon offers. “We bring the power of all the core companies to bear against the client opportunity. We build the right solution that fits what the client is asking for. We operate as one,” said Doran.

These teams come together around specific opportunities, usually under a global client lead who orchestrates the symphony. The lead will bring in vertical experts and leaders in core capabilities, such as Doran who leads product management for Epsilon PeopleCloud.

“There’s a lot of high-pressure work that happens over a short period of time to bring in the Power of One concept and help the client understand what we can actually do for them, and how we differ from the competition or what they are using today,” said Doran.

Ultimately the team’s goal is to answer the question, “How do we help this client build better, deeper relationships with their consumers?” To build solutions with Epsilon PeopleCloud, Doran coordinates across teams, looping in every department to work together. “It takes a village,” said Doran.


An Intellectual Group

Epsilon might be part of a global group, but every agency and associate brings a unique perspective to the table, like a collective. “We don’t just follow one single voice,” said Doran. The teams tackle challenges collaboratively, and every idea is considered.

Doran said the team is very transparent about those concepts. “If your idea is at 40 percent, people are going to tell you that you need to go back and do more homework, which is great,” he said. 

That feedback can help someone take their idea from 40 percent to 80 percent and drive it forward. “I appreciate those types of environments because that’s how we all get better. If nobody gave me feedback, I would never know until it’s too late that I went down the wrong path. That’s all a part of how you get to the right solution,” said Doran.

You’re going to get battle-tested on tough problems, be intellectually challenged, do hard work and deliver.”


It’s intellectual work with high rewards. Doran says that working at Epsilon, “you’re going to get battle-tested on tough problems, be intellectually challenged, do hard work and deliver.” 

Epsilon will continue driving the Publicis Groupe and its clients through the shifting adtech and martech industry landscapes. The hard work is not without its benefits.

“Not only do you get all of that, but you get a culture that’s going to reward all of that work,” said Doran. “There are great people, there is a great culture and there are great challenges that we get to work on.”


Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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