Five Ways to Get Customers to Share Data

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Incentives are one of the top methods marketers use to encourage customers to volunteer information.

 

Without question, personal details about customers are crucial for marketing success and brand growth. But gaining access to that personal information—well, that can be a challenge. Customer concern over privacy and security can make those much-needed, intimate facts difficult for marketers to collect, even if they simply want to send more relevant messages.

“The more personal data that marketers can collect, the more we can better market products and services and the better we can communicate with customers,” says James Rogers, CMO of Avention, a company that provides and analyzes B2B data. “It's important to market in a way that understands and is relevant to the needs, the benefits, and the value of the customer. With this information, we can even provide thought leadership through channels such as blogs, webinars, email, and social.”

With the right strategies marketers not only can quell worry over privacy and security, but also can build trust with consumers. Ultimately, trust is the way to a customer's heart—and data.

Rogers, along with Clarence Hempfield, director and principal product manager at mailing technology company Pitney Bowes, reveals five ways that marketers can encourage customers to volunteer their personal data.

Provide positive experiences
People don't always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel. The well-spoken adage from famed poet and activist Maya Angelou certainly holds true today for brand marketers in their efforts to collect customer information. Hempfield says it's these repeated positive feelings and experiences that will prompt consumers to share their personal information. “Positive experiences are important; they're inextricably linked to relevance and effective messages. But just as important are consistent positive experiences for customers across various channels,” Hempfield explains. He says those positive, cross-channel experiences encourage customers to share information, as well as enable marketers to continuously provide excellent customer experiences. “Being able to capitalize on information that customers share with [marketers] across all of the various channels will allow you to improve in-store communications. That's when you can reflect your knowledge of them as a person.”

Promote brand loyalty
In a recent survey from data insight company ClickFox, about 32% of consumers said they're most willing to share personal data if they feel loyal to a brand. Rogers says one of the best ways to boost brand loyalty is by promoting company culture that connects with customers' personal beliefs. He says when marketers make that connection, customers are more than willing to share their data. “The more that [marketers] promote company culture and brand beliefs, the more confidence customers are going to have in providing [personal] data to you,” Rogers says. “Your brand is your personification of your culture and what your company stands for. And brand loyalty is when customers come to know, respect, and trust that company culture and beliefs.”

Offer incentives
According to Hempfield, perhaps the best way to get customers to share information is to provide incentives, such as free shipping, reward points, or limited-time offers. “Incentives are probably the easiest way to get [consumers] to give marketers their data. That's because the audience sees a direct, obvious benefit for giving up this information,” Hempfield explains. “By having an incentive program, it's also a great way to build on top of the data that you already have about customers.” He says incentives encourage customers to provide information that can help marketers to gain understanding of their customers and provide insights into customer spending habits.

Recommend new products or services
Generally, customers understand that by giving up personal information, brands will be able to suggest new products and services that, ostensibly, are appealing. Customers, Hempfield says, are willing to provide personal data just to be privy to the latest products and services on the market. “Customers already understand [that marketers] will use this information to market additional products and services,” Hempfield explains. “Rather than getting a static mailer, maybe the company can send personalized coupons or flyers that are tailored to past purchasing behavior, or even make some predictive assumptions around purchases made in the past. Ideally, that's what [customers] are hoping for when they volunteer their information.”

Craft location-specific offers

With the proliferation of digital and mobile devices, the focus for marketers continues to be location, location, location. Rogers says location-specific offers can persuade customers to give up more personal data. “With more location information, the more brands can craft and position their campaigns to engage customers,” Rogers says. “Customers—even from a B2B perspective—consider location-based offerings more relative, important, and meaningful, and are willing to provide their location-data to get those specific offers.”

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