Relevance may be the one term on which marketers from every discipline can agree. If you are sending out a communication via direct mail or email, you want to be sure it will be relevant to your targets based on what you know about them.
If you are running display ads online, they need to be served within a context that is relevant. If you are delivering content on your own web site or via social media, that has to be especially relevant to gain any attention.
If you want to buy a product or use a service, should you also accept ongoing marketing from that company? The answer is likely to depend on the context and the product or service you are considering. Consider these three examples - gaining access to free public wi-fi, getting a quote for home insurance, setting up a fundraising page for your favourite cause. Each needs your personal data in order to deliver the service. But does that service also depend on being able to market other products to you (or to share your data with third parties)? If so, are you happy with that value exchange?
It is an issue marketers are increasingly having to consider because of the growing importance of building trust with consumers. At an invitation-only roundtable discussion and dinner we ran in November, facilitated by DataIQ, the discussion rapidly moved onto the issue of how to gain and retain permission-to-market, especially when the General Data Protection Regulation makes this a formal requirement.
Brands need to build consumer trust if they are to win the right to engage beyond the initial enquiry or purchase. For example, if you want to offer a product or service which is in a category adjacent to the one just bought, you will need consent to do so. The question then arises - how well do you succeed right now at getting your customers to opt-in?
When this question was posed during the roundtable discussion, it was notable how quickly marketers shifted their responses from a professional perspective into their own personal experiences as a consumer. Personal stories about positive (and some negative) interactions with firms, the way they ask for permission and subsequently use that data were shared.
This approach provides a useful template for how best to adapt to the new regulatory regime and how to respond to changing consumer attitudes towards the sharing of personal information. Take a close look at the way your own company is handling customer data collection and consider how you would feel on the other side of that exchange?
Trusted brands have a major advantage since they have already gained won consumer confidence and gained the right to engage. So what can other brands do to build consumer trust in a similar way if they do not enjoy a similar position?
Three core elements were identified at the event - services, capabilities and security. The product or service on offer has to be credible, backed up with a positive experience of the entire customer journey and underwritten by believable promises to keep personal information secure and private.
That could lead to some changes to the current culture of marketing. For one thing, firms will need to get better at responding to consumer needs by using the customer data they already have or by enhancing it with indicators from trusted providers who, in their own right, are respected consumer brands.
Knowing an individual is planning to move house, for example, can inform an interaction in a way that feels valuable, useful and positive, thereby building trust. How better to make your brand feel part of the consumer’s life in the same way as a social network for example, than to be there for them during critical life events?
Personal information is the most valuable asset marketing possesses. Treating it with care, sensitivity and intelligence is vital in order to retain consent and build customer loyalty and trust. Brands have long been shorthand for product quality and consistency - now they need to stand for data integrity and protection, too.
Royal Mail Data Services, in conjunction with DataIQ, will be hosting another roundtable followed by a buffet dinner on 18 January 2016 at the Mondrian Hotel, London.
To request an invitation to participate in the roundtable discussion, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org