The latest hot topic and important marketing trend that will likely never go away, is the converging of technology and tools to collect and access consumer data. Marketers can now learn more about their customers than they ever could previously. It’s becoming increasingly easier to identify where exactly a customer is in the buyer’s journey and tailor messaging to help move them along the path to conversion. But, we can’t forget that intimate details about the customer’s interests cannot be accessed unless he/she willingly gives you access, and truth be told, obtaining that level of permission from customers, especially new customers, is becoming more difficult as questions of data protection and privacy are being raised.
According to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, “Trust in businesses, media and non-government organizations has suffered over the last year. From a disappearing aircraft to a seemingly unstoppable pandemic to a rash of privacy and security breaches, the consequence was the dissolution of confidence, and the end of an era in which trust in business had been on a steady and upward trajectory since the end of The Great Recession.”1
Furthermore, the Chief Commissioner of the DMC, George Kidd, stated, “All the evidence suggests that there is a lack of trust and a lot of frustration. We could get to the point where consumers’ willingness to give up data, or leave the box unticked, will depend on how businesses go about their relationships.”2
While there are many areas that businesses should focus on to gain the trust of their consumers, the top priority should center on security and privacy. Only 35 percent of American adults across a variety of industries feel confident that their records will remain private and secure.3 This suggests that consumers will start to migrate towards those businesses they feel are the safest, and a recent Forrester report provided a variety of tips on how to not chase your customers away by coming off as “digitally creepy.”4
1. Cover all your bases
If you are implementing a marketing automation and business intelligence platform, make sure you’ve done your research on current privacy laws. Customers want to know that you are going to protect their information and do so based on the guidelines that have been created with their best interests in mind. This goes further than marketing automation and business intelligence platforms. There are a variety of laws surrounding the collection of email addresses, which cannot fall beside the wayside.
2. Let Your Customers Decide
Because there is so much information and data that is out there and available, let your customers decide how much they want to give you. You don’t want to scare off a customer, because you, all of the sudden, know too much about him/her and he/she doesn’t even remember giving you access to that kind of information. Customers want a personalized experience, but for some, there is a line where it’s too much. Give them that option and keep them happy.
3. Testing Is Always a Good Idea
In marketing, we always say test, test and test again. Then, once you think you have it figured out, test it once more. Send some design options to a controlled group and measure engagement. Take note when customers are leaving the page or monitor if links are being clicked, forms are being completed, etc. While it’s clear that each customer’s level of comfort is different, start by deciding what your expectations are on a basic level and go from there. This simply means identifying what your objective is and what steps are expected from your customers to reach your end goal. You can always adjust the experience based on the insights you gather and retest.
4. Be Transparent
Using data, businesses can better understand how to interact with their customers. Businesses need to create relationships with their customers, but it’s more than focusing on creating personalized and targeted communications and creating strategies to improve engagement. Customers want to know that their data is safe and secure, and your intentions are to only use that information to better enhance their experience with you and no one else. If privacy and security are not a main focus, you could lose current and potential customers, and your brand’s reputation could be tarnished.