data pulse #17
It’s tempting to think of customer data as the new oil.
Combined with advanced analytics, it offers the promise of marketing nirvana. By perfectly profiling an individual customer, marketing can be truly personalized, improving a customer’s experience, and eliminating waste.
But customer data isn’t a natural resource. It’s generated by people. And as our connectivity increases, so does our awareness of the data being collected and the erosion of our privacy.
With customers increasingly seeking more control over the data they share and with whom, access to customer data will become increasingly valuable, a source of competitive advantage, and a privilege to be earned. Brands will need to demonstrate to customers that they can be trusted with their data.
There are a number of practical steps that should be taken now:
- Make sure you are using the data you already have to improve the customer experience, so it’s clear to customers what value they are receiving in return. This may seem obvious, yet I’m still struck by how infrequently the data I’ve shared is used to improve my experience. My inbox, for example, is still full of mass rather than personalized emails. Why not let customers feel the benefit of their data?
- Sainsbury’s email programme highlights which of their promotions and which manufacturer coupons a customer might be interested in, based on their purchase history.
- Coop emails are linked to promotions in your favourite store on things we think you would like to buy based on previous shopping.
- Starbucks use location data to prompt offers on the phone when you are near a starbucks
- Only collect the data that’s essential to deliver the benefit to customers, rather than everything you can. And be clear about what data you need to collect, the reason why you need it, and what benefit they will get in return.
While data security is certainly a complex technical and legal challenge, it’s underpinned by a question of brand mind set.
If customer data is viewed internally as a commodity, then it’s something to be extracted from customers and traded…and customers will be wary, as behaviours will give the brand away.
But if access to customer data is viewed internally as a privilege, where we don’t own a customers data it’s their data we are only curating it and looking after it to improve our customers experience then it’s something precious that has to be protected…and the resulting behaviours will inspire more trust among customers.