We have all sort of gotten used to the fact that a lot of data is collected about us. It's really not anything new, but in the digital world the tools have been more sophisticated compared to what happened in the traditional marketing world of paper and phone surveys.
But as Europe just showed us with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), consumers are now going to be in the driver's seat when it comes to sharing data.
GDPR basically makes it a requirement companies must ask European citizens for their consent before collecting personal information. The data collected can only be used for specific jobs and when they're done with it they must delete it. And the fine for screwing this up can be hefty. Up to 4% of a business's world-wide revenue or about $23 million, whichever is higher.
At first glance this may seem to put a chilling effect on the ways marketers can now gather information in order to best target their ads. But, good marketers see this is an opportunity. In fact, it can be a chance to increase the level of trust and connection between you and your customers.
" ...further build relationships with customers because you're giving them rewards in exchange for personal information."
For many marketers, the first step in the process was to simply let you know a change to data privacy was occurring. You may have been barraged with emails over the past month from brands you don't even recall. But, they had your data for some reason. Part of this information update may have also included opt-in messages encouraging you to receive further information from the brand. Offers like prize drawings, discount codes and freebies may have been some of the incentives used.
And it's those things that Screaming Garlic marketing believes are the kinds of things that will further build relationships with customers because you're giving them rewards in exchange for personal information.
While the GDPR is not in effect in the USA, there has been an influx of proposed data-protection bills here, so it's never too late to start re-thinking your strategy now. It's inevitable that customer privacy will be a core value and not something added on.
And now for the digital hack ...
You can try this next time you want to buy from an online retailer. I recently went to a site where I wanted to buy some pants and shirts. None of the items were on sale and free shipping only kicked in if I spent a certain amount. I put the items in the shopping cart, filled out the contact information (you have to be willing to share), and then I left the site without completing the transaction. Within the hour, I received an email from the retailer reminding me I left something in the cart. I ignored it and waited a few more days. I began to receive further solicitations from the site showing me items similar to what I had in the cart originally. Early into the next week, I received an email announcing free shipping if I bought that weekend. I even received an email offering a 25% discount on certain items, but not the exact one I wanted. I went ahead and bought one of the items I wanted but left another one behind. A fews days after that purchase I received a customer loyalty email offering me 30% off any item, which I went back and used.
The key here is first having patience. The second thing is working with a retailer who has a good abandoned cart process so they can aggressively track my shopping interests and then try to tease me back into a purchase. I fortunately had time on my hands and did not need to make an impulse buy. A good marketer will be patient, too, but in the end the consumer can win out with some better than expected discounts.
Let me know if this works for you.