It's tougher than ever for marketers today to provide the premium customer experiences that people have come to take for granted. According to a global survey of 7,000 global consumers by Selligent Marketing Cloud, the results further validate the growing disconnect: people want more from brands but are hesitant to give access to the personal information that could improve their brand experiences.

Of those surveyed, over a third report that they expect brands to "anticipate their needs before they arise". A whopping 70 percent agreed that it’s important that brands understand a consumer’s individual situation during touchpoints –  and not just use every communication as a means to sell them something. However, more than three-quarters of those polled were concerned with a brand’s ability to track their behavior – even while interacting with them directly through a brand’s app or website.

When it comes to brand engagement, consumers want to be treated as individuals, with tailored preferences that are anticipated and met by brands. And that includes everything from communication content type, their preferred channel, personal interests, or purchase patterns – but they are also wary of sharing the very information that allows for personalized communication.

What’s a marketer to do?

The short answer: marketers need to get creative when it comes to identifying and gathering the important data points a campaign needs for personal and impactful engagement.

The Selligent Marketing Cloud study shows that consumers are willing to share more data if they trust a brand or see an explicit benefit from the outcome. Keeping that in mind, marketers need to be clearer to consumers about the ‘what’s in it for them’ and be transparent about why their personal information is being requested in the first place.

Here are other tips to consider:

  1. Don’t gather data for data’s sake. Perform an audit of your marketing data to determine what’s of actual value and what falls into the bucket of ‘data for data’s sake.’ Marketers that pare down data requests are preferable in the consumers’ eyes to those that opt to capture any and all marketing data possible without a justified need.

  2. Evolve strategies with consumers in mind. Marketers need to understand that consumers evolve. Be prepared to be nimble and adjust marketing strategies to changing market conditions, expectations and preferences. Have a consumer-first mindset and truly use the data you have to personalize and change strategies.

  3. Focus on value. Work backward from your marketing team's end goal(s) to determine which data points matter the most to your brand. For example, does capturing location, age and household income make a measurable impact on your campaigns? Relevant data points will always be unique for every campaign; if it does not add value, don’t ask for it.

Always remember that as a great marketer, your goal is to create a unique experience for customers that will reinforce trust. In the longer-term, this interaction makes the relationship even more valuable for both parties.

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