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What Do Your Customers Want in Exchange for Their Data? Opinion

By Pratik Dholakiya on July 7th 2017

As identify theft and other forms of cyber-crime continue to capture headlines, digital media audience members are increasingly vigilant about their privacy, which represents new challenges for brand marketers.

Acquiring email addresses and building a list of opt-ins represents the ultimate goal of just about any web-based business; however, the struggle to acquire these data points from site visitor is perhaps more contentious than ever.

According to a recent study by Aimia, modern consumers are rethinking just how much their personal details are worth – and how willing they are to share it with brands. Some key points from the study include the following:

  • Some 41% of people regard their personal data as “highly valuable,” up from 31% three years ago.
  • Over half of consumers (56%) are taking action to limit brands from tracking their online presence and advertising to them.
  • Approximately 77% of consumers would prefer to have “more control” over which data marketers have about them.

The writing is on the wall – customers are fed up with the pervasive nature of modern marketing. And people are starting to realize just how valuable their personal data actually is. In fact, consumers from the Aimia study put a literal price tag between $13 and $91 dollars on their data.

Therein lies the problem. Brand marketers have come to depend on access to email addresses and other identity-related data points to vet and nurture valuable leads effectively. But if consumers are becoming more and more protective of their information, how can marketers optimize and personalize messaging?

Permission matters, but is it enough?

While the numbers from this study may seem discouraging to some marketers, it’s important to note that respondents are still happy to give access to their information on one condition.

Reciprocity.

Today’s consumers are digitally savvy. They know that their data is valuable to brands and when they share it they expect an improved service or benefit in return – Aimia COO, David Johnston

Image source: https://www.aimia.com/en/loyalty-lens/2016-loyalty-lens-global.html

In other words, permission marketing still works.

The principles of permission marketing have been a cornerstone of B2B commerce since Seth Godin coined the concept in nearly two decades ago. The rise of opt-in newsletters, lead magnet offers and other freebies as means of list-building and nurturing leads. In fact, 71% of consumers believe that their preferred brands do use their data for good, providing relevant offers and information to improve online experiences.

Yet this doesn’t explain why consumers are clutching to their data, leaving fewer opportunities for marketers to effectively build their lists.

Bear in mind that modern marketing data capture and targeting solutions such as cookies, retargeting and tracking pixels have become goldmines for today’s brands. And yet, consumers are less than thrilled by such tactics. After all, it’s clear from Aimia’s study that leads want to be spoken to and nurtured by marketers, not stalked.

What ultimately sets businesses apart in a market shrouded by security concerns is clear: trust.

Customers’ fears and marketers’ responses

By understanding the fears, concerns and needs of their audiences, marketers have the opportunity to establish a safe environment to break down the trust barrier with their traffic and encourage more leads.

As opposed to the aforementioned “stalker” tactics, it’s now possible for marketers learn more about leads without interrupting them in any way, shape or form. That’s why we’re seeing the emergence of exit intent pop-ups, which work to gather personal information from traffic that may have otherwise bounced.

These pop-ups serve as a sort of “last ditch effort” to keep prospects engaged on the page – or via the inbox.

“Your visitors are already on their way out, they have signaled their intent to leave and their attention is quickly being focused elsewhere,” notes customer engagement consultant Sid Bharath on the Crazy Egg blog. “Your options are to do nothing, and perhaps never be able to count them as a returning visitor, or take your best shot, display a pop-up, and try to convince them you are worthy of their time.”

It’s also possible learn from visitors who choose to withhold their information and don’t opt-in. That’s exactly what Leadfeeder is doing by circumventing the lead capture process altogether. Instead, Leadfeeder’s visitor tracking tool allows marketers to capture essential information, such as what content pages one’s audience members are most interested in and their relevance as potential customers, without requiring an opt-in.

According to Aimia’s study, the behavior of a site’s traffic sheds light on the circumstances where people are willing to provide marketers with private information. By integrating with Google Analytics and CRM platforms, Leadfeeder operates in a sort of post-lead capture world.

By exempting sellers from the need to capture prospects’ information, marketers can focus on the leads that matter most and reach out to them accordingly. Likewise, this approach encourages legitimate conversation between marketers and leads.

“It’s so important to engage in conversations with prospects who visit your site,” Leadfeeder CEO Pekka Koskishen recently told Entrepreneur. “While there’s certainly a place for automated nurturing, nothing compares to the power of two humans actually having a discussion.”

In addition to solutions such as Leadfeeder’s tool and exit pops, there’s always the old-fashioned psychological trigger of social proof. Through trust badges, partner logos, and testimonials, for example, marketers can help fight the skepticism of their traffic by ensuring visitors that they are indeed the real deal.

While each of these tactics is fair game for marketers, it should be noticed that not all of our audiences are equal in terms of how they treat their data. While millennials loathe traditional marketing, for example, they’re much freer with their dataif an offer speaks to them. Companies must, therefore, take special care to build an environment of trust. In addition to asking buyers for permission, marketers can further incentive their prospects by knowing exactly what they want through careful research.

The more things change…

Aimia’s study sends a clear message to marketers: keep asking for opt-ins, but don’t expect much traction without providing some serious value.

Buyer behavior will inevitably continue to evolve. However, it’s clear that we’ve entered an era where customers are especially careful with their information.


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