Even if you haven’t read our recent article on data-driven marketing, you’re probably aware that modern marketing is driven by consumer-related data and information.
The most successful marketers heavily rely on the customer data they’ve collected to:
- Develop large-scale, segment-wide campaigns and initiatives
- Create personalized offers and content for their individual customers
- Improve their overall approach to marketing in general
From this, we’d presume marketers would be hellbent on digging up as much information on their customers as they possibly can, but that’s not exactly happening. Many companies have begun giving their customers more control over the information being collected on them—limiting the amount of data these companies can collect, overall.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into just why this is.
More from PostFunnel on customer data:
How Stitch Fix Uses Data to Increase Sales and Engage Customers
The 2019 Guide to Customer Data Platforms
Why Customer Data Matters So Much for Your Business
GDPR and the Legality of Data Collection
For companies doing business within the EU, handing control back to the customer is required by law. GDPR makes it compulsory for companies to:
- Inform customers as to what information companies collect on them, why it’s collected, and how their data is used
- Allow customers to tailor the type and amount of data a company collects on them
- Allow customers to opt-out of companies collecting their data (or destroy data that’s already collected)
There are two options, here:
- Give customers a black-and-white choice: Opt-in completely provide “all the data,” or opt-out and provide nothing
- Allow individual customers to provide whatever information they’re comfortable with
When given the all or nothing option, consumers wary over their privacy will likely opt-out, but allowing hesitant customers to provide what they want to provide, increases the chances they’ll opt-in.
From both a legal and logical standpoint, it makes sense to give your customers control over the data they provide your company.
More Effective and Efficient Data Collection and Usage
There’s no shortage of consumer-related information for marketers to scoop up and use as they see fit, and though this sounds well and good, an infinite stream of data can become a double-edged sword, in a few different ways.
For one thing, an endless influx of data is overwhelming. Callcredit found that 71% of marketers feel intimidated by, rather than empowered by, the amount of data at their disposal.
Then, marketers must assess which data points the team should focus on before paring away at low-quality data and info. Marketing teams will also need to determine what they’re going to do with the data, an oftentimes confusing or complicated task.
This is all in a day’s work for the typical data-driven marketer. In fact, Hubspot found that marketers spend an average of 3.55 hours per week collecting, organizing, and analyzing data.
But if the information isn’t quality data (i.e., doesn’t tell them what they needed to know), they’ve wasted their time. You can never be too sure that the customer data is useful and there’s always a chance of overlooking valuable information. In either of these cases, marketers can solve this issue by reaching out to the customer. A recent study found that 61% of US consumers would share specific private information if it meant receiving a more personalized service from a brand. There’s no reason to dig for or guess which information your customers will provide. Just ask.
Once you know what they want you to know, then you can start digging deeper.
Empowering and Engaging with Your Customers
Going back to the GDPR, the entire reason the legislation was created consumer privacy concerns. In fact, 71% of U.S. consumers worry about how brands collect and use their personal data. Unfortunately, a vast majority of consumers believe they’ve “lost control” of their data to the companies they do business with:
Requesting your customers’ permission before using their personal data and information in any way is a given, but why not let your customers set their own parameters on an individual basis? Empower them to define not just what information you collect on them, but how you collect this data. And, more importantly, allow them to provide any extra information they might want you to know that you didn’t necessarily ask for.
While this sounds like a lot when you consider you’ll be doing it for every single one of your customers, it’s not impossible by any stretch. In fact, many companies have begun heading in this direction already. Look at how The BBC approaches GDPR-related permissions:
The BBC sets the parameters themselves, but created a more robust approach than simply asking visitors to click “I agree.”
Giving your customers more control over the data you collect is a giant step towards customer-centricity. By engaging with your new customers and empowering them from the start, you’ll start each new relationship on the right foot—both in terms of catering to your individual customer’s needs, and in proving to them that their success is what you’re all about.
Enhanced “Meta” Insight
So far, we’ve talked about the more surface-level benefits of giving your customers control over the data they provide your company. While these points were worth discussing, it’s worth pointing out a more underlying “meta” benefit of doing all this. By getting your customers to decide what data and information they provide your company, you’re nudging them to think more about how your brand fits into their lives.
The question for the individual customer becomes:
“What does this company need to know about me to be able to help me succeed?”
This means your new or potential customers considering your brand within the context of their own lives.
Once a customer gives their individualized consent, you’ll be able to gain even more insight into “who they are.” A customer’s preference regarding data collection is in itself information that can inform your marketing approach. For example, you might find that those who are more carefree with their private data are more receptive to highly personalized marketing initiatives (e.g., dynamic content, product recommendations, etc.), while those who keep their personal data private “want what they want” from your company—and nothing more.
The more you learn about your customers, the more you stand to learn about them in the future.
When it comes down to it, giving your customers more control over their data is a win-win scenario: customers receive highly-personalized services based on the information they want you to know about them. And, they can receive this level of service without having to worry about you taking advantage of their information. By providing this enhanced and more secure experience, your company can better satisfy your customers and keep them on board for a long time to come.