A new report is out from SDL that studies how much consumers trust marketers with their personal data. They found that, unfortunately, consumers don’t have much trust for marketers at all. 65% of people in the US worry about their information being used in marketing.
Considering recent data breaches, the prevalence of identity theft, and the general creepiness consumers feel when they realize how much brands know about them, it’s difficult to blame anyone for being nervous about sharing their information. Still, that information is vital if you want to create personalized, useful marketing campaigns. Here are some interesting findings from the study, and ways you should use that information to guide your data collection efforts.
1. People are uninformed about privacy.
The research found that few people read privacy statements on websites, or understand why companies want their data. That lack of understanding leads to distrust. What can you do about it? Explain, in easy to understand words, why you are asking for the data. Even if laws require you to explain privacy in words no one but a lawyer would understand, try to deliver that information to consumers in simplified ways too. Be ready to answer questions in person, and online. Open up a conversation about data collection so consumers know what to expect.
2. Consumers demand service no matter what.
Lots of marketers want to tell consumers that by collecting their data, they can offer a better experience. That’s fine, but that experience must be truly stellar. Customers demand great service from companies, regardless of how much data they have. Use data in ways that actually help consumers in relevant ways, in the right moment. An email for a spring sale is fine. An email to a specific part of the country about a rain boot sale just before a storm hits is even better.
3. Consumers will be much quicker to give you data if they trust you.
You have to build a relationship with customers before you deserve their data. The study sites Amazon as an excellent example of this. They have great customer service, customers have a relationship with the store because they can write reviews, get recommendations and make wish lists, and they are known for being a reliable place to shop. Because of this, people are willing to give Amazon their information. You should look to Amazon as an example. When people interact with you, make sure they have a good experience. Look for touch points where you can make someone get to know your brand. If they are willing to give you an email, can you communicate great information? Is there a portal or login on your website that people can join without offering too much, but get lots of benefits? How do you interact with customers when you don’t know anything about them? Can they see your success stories, your social interactions with others, or your customer reviews? Never barge into an interaction asking for a name, email address, phone number, physical address, and credit card information. No one will offer it to a company they don’t feel good about yet.
4. Consumers are willing to give some information, but not all.
In the study, SDL found that customers are reasonably willing to offer data like gender, date of birth, hobbies, and marital status. When it comes to information about their friends and family, their spouse’s name, and social security numbers however, they became far less willing to share. Consider this when you are gathering information. Knowing that someone is married is generally much more valuable information then knowing that a husband’s name is Steve. Likewise, you can make significant assumptions about the relationships a person has based on their gender, age and even hobbies. Don’t create a basic form that asks for all information and expect it to work. Only ask about what you absolutely need, and you know consumers are more willing to share.
While data use, data sharing and data protection are going to be issues that continue to be widely talked about in the future, there are some efforts you can make now to help grow consumers’ trust. Be smart about how, when and why you ask for information, and be sure you deserve the trust your customers have in you.