How to Get Your Customers to Share Their Personal Data With You
Everyone knows and talks about the great value of accurate customer data for businesses but a lot of digital marketers seem to be confounded by the idea of acquiring customer data. As digital business grew, companies started interacting and transacting with their consumers using digital identities. At this point, the whole affair has turned a little cold. Because of this, customers definitely need a touch of personalization and an omnichannel experience to rekindle the relationship.
Most people would say that the information age has empowered customers by providing them with knowledge at their fingertips. The truth is that it has empowered consumers and businesses alike, but in the overall plane, the former have gained an upper hand over the latter. It seems quite obvious that customers are reluctant to share their information with the businesses they interact with. So this brings us to an important question; why aren’t customers willing to share their data? A personalized experience is something that would benefit them, so sharing their personal data is for their own good, isn’t it? Even so, consumers are clearly not seeing it this way. The place to start, then, is to strategize how we can convey this idea to create a win-win.
Digital Marketing is About Give and Take
Every digital marketer who’s stuck in a conundrum needs to get back to the absolute fundamentals. Business is simply about bartering. Not one business or consumer will get into a transaction of any kind unless there something in it for them. Companies won’t sell goods to consumers for anything of unequal value to them. Consumers will only buy products they have interest in and have deemed worthy of the cost. Okay, so what does this mean for digital marketers, you ask? It means that regardless of the change in times, we cannot lose sight of the fundamentals. The illusion of bartering is of course not to be taken literally, but the age of the Web has not altered human nature, so the underlying principle holds strong. When consumers today look for products online, before even making a purchase, they are investing their time in the process. This is the most critical thing for digital marketers to understand. In the internet age, time and money are equally valuable to consumers and they don’t want to waste either.
Today, every business-customer relationship is about give and take. If the give and take balance is disturbed by companies, consumers will redistribute their loyalty instantly. And so, when companies seek Personally Identifiable Information (PII), or simple customer data from their prospects, customers are not just sharing personal information but investing time. Consumers want to see a return on this investment and so businesses must be able to use that customer data to provide a personalized and connected customer experience to acquire and retain customers.
Why Won’t Customers Share Their Information?
Getting to know your online customers is not easy because consumers do not throw around their personal data to just anyone. There are several reasons for this. In supplying a company with personal information, a customer is spending a certain amount of time, or rather, investing a certain amount of time. If the customer is unsure whether the company will make good use of his or her PII data and provide him a better and more personalized experience in making future transactions, he or she will not invest that time. A lot of experts have said that consumers are reluctant to share personal data because they fear for their privacy, but that’s not always the main influencing reason. An expansive recent research paper titled “State of the Connected Customer” by Salesforce about customer preferences found that, “Sixty-three percent of millennial consumers agree they’re willing to share data with companies that send personalized offers and discounts.” The study further explains it’s findings saying customers have now come to expect far more intelligent communications from brands rather than a “batch and blast method” of communications. Customers need tailored recommendations and offers. They will share personal information when they believe that a company can do justice to their expectations. Salesforce’s study made an important point about intelligent communications. It’s obvious that not all customers have privacy concerns. Those who don’t have privacy concerns wouldn’t still share their personal data with companies because they think that unless communications received are intelligent enough, they are just being spammed. Expectations are sky high.
How do companies get customers to share personal data?
That’s the key question although the answer to it could be pretty generic. The question is the same as we have previously answered about the need for an omnichannel experience. Customer expectations are rising high and customer data can be acquired by companies which can reach those expectations. The Salesforce study found that 63% millennial consumers are willing to share personal data for personalized offers or discounts, 61% millennial consumers for personalized experiences and 58% for personalized recommendations. Personalization is the key to acquiring customer data. Needless to say that the same builds loyalty. Customers expect to be sold products they need to purchase rather than products that companies want to sell. In short, businesses need to put in place the technological infrastructure in order to process customer data and understand what customers actually need. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said last year they had increased revenues by investing in digital technology rather than digital ads. But then, it’s a sort of a chicken and egg problem here. You can’t earn trust unless to demonstrate capabilities with customer data. But customer data is hard to acquire unless that trust is established. Another conundrum. The solution lies in taking it slowly. Progressively asking for consumer data and building on that is the clearest way forward for digital marketers.
Customer Data Collection and Integration
Customer data is of multiple types and if you’re serious (which obviously you are reading this blog post), you should only be concerned about first party data. In a nutshell, customer data you collect directly from the consumer is first party data and obviously it requires said consumers to invest time. Customer data collection strategy is like a twist at every step for digital marketers because of the challenge involved. Luckily, there is a solution.
Customer data collection should be progressive and automatic. For businesses to succeed, their marketing stack should and must have a platform which can collect customer data progressively and which can also acquire social data. Social data is classic authentic first party data and the best part is that consumers don’t have to invest time filling it out. Social data can be easily acquired from customer social profiles using a Customer Identity and Access Management (cIAM) platform. A cIAM platform not just collects first party data but also centralizes it within the marketing stack so as to ensure that every other third party marketing application can receive that data and improvise on it. Recall the importance of personalization for customers. Unless marketing applications are fed accurate customer data, they simply can’t work. Integration is the key here. A cIAM platform does this job. For the overall success of marketing and sales efforts, personalization and omnichannel marketing must go side by side and either of these requires a platform that can acquire and centralize data from multiple sources.
The point we are trying to drive home should be clear by now. But if it isn’t, just understand that you have to make sure you are giving something back to your consumers not just for the money they are going to invest but also for the time they are already investing in you.