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Grace Russell, Marketing Manager, Celerity


As the physical and digital worlds become ever more intertwined through the Internet of Things (IOT), consumers are becoming more aware of their data. In particular, it’s commercial value to brands we engage with.


Within any type of conscious consumerism, be that eco-conscious, health-conscious or socially-conscious consumerism, transparency in how brands interact/ serve us is of the upmost importance. It’s a lack of transparency that fuels our sudden consciousness.


Grace Russell

When it comes to data, the same process applies as most disasters/ annoyances that occur due to our data, such as data breaches and spam advertising, drive our desire to understand: ‘how are they using my data?’; ‘how much of my data do they have?’; ‘where are they storing it?’; ‘who are they selling it on to?’.


However, being a data-conscious consumer isn’t just about understanding data security or privacy, but an awareness of what is expected in exchange for personal data. Inaccurate and evasive marketing and advertising has led to three different types of data-conscious consumers, and  the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), has defined these three groups: Data Unconcerned, Data Pragmatists and Data Fundamentalists.


Data unconcerned: These customers are generally disinterested in how their data is used. They will usually hand over their data easily and, as a result, end up on a lot of subscriber lists. According to the DMA, these customers make up around 25% of the population.It can appear great to a brand that these consumers want to hand over vital data, however this group is less likely to be affected by re-marketing, limiting any cross-sell/ up-sell or purchase acceleration opportunities.


Data pragmatists: These customers are willing to hand over their data, but only if they can see a benefit in doing so (e.g. a personalised discount or product recommendations), we call this a ‘value exchange’. Per the DMA, these customers make up 50% of the population. These customers may appear annoying for marketers because they demand a certain level of personalised, convenient services, but unlike the group above if you deliver the value exchange promised there can be huge opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell, as well as long term advocacy.


Data fundamentalists: These customers are tough nuts to crack – they’re ardent about protecting their data and are unlikely to share it, no matter how you tempt them. The DMA research suggests this group makes up 25% of the population. This group of consumers cause further challenges too, as they may input incorrect data to avoid the exchange and still get the product/ service. In a data-driven world this can be worrisome. As a marketer you may conclude that your main demographic are 25-year old females, when in fact it’s made up of 45+ year old men.


As time goes on with maybe data breaches continuing and the dream of personalised real-time experiences still not advancing, these numbers could change. But, at the moment, three quarters of the population are still open to personalised, data-driven marketing communications. So, if you can make your offering compelling enough, you’ve got a good chance of securing more sales for your company.


Here are three ways you can start to deliver a promising value exchange for your customer’s data:

  1. Use preference data

Preference centres are a great way of improving relevancy (with the ultimate aim of improving engagement). In practice, this means using data that a customer has already given about their different preferences, and putting it to good use. If a brand starts providing hyper-relevant information and offers, the idea is that consumers will interact with your platform more and might even switch back on their push notifications (if they’ve turned them off).


One company that does this well is Thread, a clothing manufacturer that asks customers what their favourite types of clothing, colours and fabrics are. They will then pair customers with a stylist, who will email their personal recommendations. This is useful for the consumer as they’ll already be aware that the choices aren’t generic, but have been specifically chosen for them, which helps move them down the sales funnel.

  1. Make it personal

Personalisation in marketing isn’t new, but it’s more sophisticated and potentially more powerful than ever before. Coinciding with the large proportion of consumers that are now more conscious of how much data companies are collecting on them, companies must be smarter about how they do it.


One of the most popular and effective elements of a value exchange is personalisation: from personalising the journey the customer takes, to the conversation we have with them.


Spotify is a great example of a brand that uses personalisation; it reports data-driven content back to the consumer: ‘Most played song of the year’, ‘Latest new artist you’ve discovered’, ‘New genres you’ve listened to’. Spotify create an air of transparency – openly showing how much data they have collected and in between the lines the awesome experience you’ve had in exchange.


Abercrombie and Fitch do a similar personalisation strategy to fuel transparency. It provides a single customer view within your ‘my account’ section. Whenever you have supplied a piece of data it’s added to a timeline you can see.  Also, consumers are still less comfortable with marketers tracking and reporting on their engagement and digital movement, but A&F try to ease this concern by rewarding interactions as well as physical data input and purchases. For merely downloading the app after creating an account via the website you earn 100 points and even more points for completing your whole profile.


  1. Make it easy

Convenience in marketing is about removing friction for the consumer by making the buying journey easier, and you can do this in exchange for data.  For example, pub retailer and brewer Greene King recently personalised and shortened the customer journey through social sign-which allows customers to like, share and comment more easily on content, and be surfaced more relevant advertising that actually benefits you. Tactics like these benefit all parties involved – they give customers a better experience and provide businesses with a better insight into customer behaviour via social channels.

Another popular option for hyper-convenience in exchange for data, is replenishment campaigns. This is where a consumer will input their product usage and frequency, letting the brand deliver this product to their schedule and skipping the re-order journey. Lancome provide this service for makeup foundation and it includes free shipping and the latest samples. For the consumer, they get the product they need, when they need it, and a few extra nice to haves; for Lancome, the customer is stickier. Achieving hyper-convenience using data can even remove the consumer’s ‘consideration phase’ entirely.


So what next? Today’s consumers are generally more conscious of how brands use their data, but that doesn’t mean that data needs to take a backseat in your marketing strategy. Use it wisely and with care – and most importantly USE IT during the customer experience – and you’ll stand a good chance of maximising your customers who remain data pragmatists, whilst winning over some consumers that fall into the data-unconcerned and data pragmatists pools.



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