Things about data that are true: it’s important to collect it, it’s vital that it be accurate, and it’s crucial that data be collected and given with consent.
But why should people willingly give over their data? What do they get out of it that makes it feel worthwhile instead of creepy? Consumers are growing increasingly aware of their data’s power and expect something of equal value in return. For brands, customer data allows them to drive revenue by understanding what their customers want, targeting more accurately, and building more successful campaigns. For customers, the data exchange has to be something more than just access to the convenience of digital commerce.
The give and take of data and value
As the disappearance of third-party cookies edges closer, companies must prioritize collecting first-party data, which means that it’s given with consent directly from the customer to the brand. The first step in encouraging customers to share that data is clearly articulating how, when, and in what ways it will be used — for example, website pop-ups that allow customers to consent to their cookies being tracked, and that it will never be sold to third parties. Being transparent is a key first step to building trust with your consumers. But it’s not enough.
Companies have to prove to customers that there is value in them sharing their data, and to do that, they must understand what matters to their customers. This varies from industry to industry — a clothing brand’s customers want quick, simple returns, while a travel company’s clients want to be notified of the best deals and have their plans handled smoothly.
Let’s explore ways for brands to offer value to their customers:
1. Discounts & gifts: You can demonstrate value in a tangible way by presenting a customer with a special offer or a small freebie when they opt-in with additional information. For example, brands can offer shoppers 20% off on a first order if they create an account and log their data in their system, or encourage customers to sign up for newsletters by gifting thoughtful swag when they sign up. Then they can use this additional data about customers to personalize further interactions, making it more enjoyable for the customer and encouraging them to come back.
2. Curated experiences: Businesses can prompt consumers to take quizzes about their purchasing preferences or sizing choices on their websites. This information allows companies to deliver relevant, timely content and make tailored promotions. If your brand is able to offer customers highly personalized journeys at every step, be it via an app, website, or in-person, customers will be happy to give you data — “Why do they need my data?” turns into “They always know what I want.”
3. Make them feel seen: This is the most fundamental way to build trust: treat your customers with basic courtesy by getting their names and preferences right. Your customers remember what they’ve done with your brand, and there’s no excuse for you not to return the favor. They shouldn’t get promotions for things they just purchased. They shouldn’t have to explain who they are and what they bought on a service call. And they shouldn’t get emails addressed to “Hey.” Another way to think of it is like this: You’ve met Mr. Cool several times, and every time you say hi to him, he reintroduces himself and says nice to meet you like it’s the first time. How would that make you feel about Mr. Cool? Maybe he’s not so cool after all.
Transparency + value = trust
A value exchange works best when customers feel like their privacy is respected and their needs are understood. To show their customers they understand, companies must know what offers appeal to their audience, and the personalization and timeliness of offers must be accurate. This is why companies need to start with a solid foundation of accurate customer data and reliable customer profiles to build trust. This is where customer data tools come in — the right tools will organize messy data into neat profiles to help you show your customers you know them and help them feel good about sharing their data.
A big part of making data exchange worthwhile is personalizing customer experience. Dig deeper in This Time It’s Personal: The Enterprise Guide to Personalization at Scale.