Today’s marketer is drowning in a deluge of consumer data, with experts claiming a rise in "infobesity" or the overabundance of information.
The view of some analysts is that just as fast food enables us to consume lots of low-quality food cheaply, brands too can now have access to vast amounts of consumer information of varying quality and relevance. But as with fast food, too much of this "low quality, high quantity" information can actually prove to be a health hazard for brands.
In this cross-channel world, marketers are reaching out to consumers using a variety of channels including email, social, mobile and display – with the aim of building long-lasting, personal relationships that are beneficial to both the brand and the consumer.
A cross-channel approach has the ability to generate a mountain of data, but with marketers often unsure of how to use this to their advantage, they should not automatically assume that more data is always better. How much of this information is truly useful? Do they actually need all of this information, or should marketers be put on a strict "data diet"?
Data is crucial for brands to speak to their consumers at a personal level. Marketers need to know a consumer’s likes and dislikes, product preferences, age and much more to be able to build effective relationships.
Building these relationships does not rely solely on the amount of data captured, but rather how carefully chosen information is harnessed and used. Analysis is much easier and the results much more valuable once brands identify the data that is most important to them and focus on those metrics.
So, how can marketers benefit from undertaking a data diet?
1.Take a progressive approach to building consumer profiles
When asking consumers to supply their information, the best approach is to collect basic information from a broad range of consumers, before honing in on select consumer segments to gather additional data and create more robust consumer profiles. By doing so, brands can avoid being swamped by masses of data at the outset and can obtain the data that really adds value.
2. Conduct a data collection audit
Brands need to review what data is being collected, and contrast this with what data should be collected to ensure that they are only gathering actionable information. When locating the relevant data, it is important for brands to consider what information can really be used to improve revenue-generating programs. For example, an estate agent might want to know your age, income and family set-up, but they don’t need to know where you go on holiday because it would be difficult for them to act on that information.
3.Follow your consumers onto social media
Successful marketers must consider where consumers are: for example, Facebook boasts one billion users. With consumers sharing massive amounts of data every day, social media sites are a data mine for marketers, enabling them to access rich consumer profile data. One way brands can access this data is by enabling social sign-in on websites, which means consumers can sign in using their Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social log-in details. This is faster and simpler for consumers than setting up a dedicated account and password for each website, and it also provides brands access to consumers’ social profile information at the point of first sign-in.
4. Incentivise consumers to share their data
Consumers will be far more accepting of data collection if brands are transparent about the information they are collecting and how it can improve the experience for both the business and the consumer. Consumers need to be persuaded by clear incentives, such as the offer of unique content or deals for signing up, as well as informed of the opportunity to receive more relevant offers in the future.
The era of mass marketing is coming to an end. In this relationship era of marketing, consumers expect targeted communications that are personal to them, and data is key to this approach. In a competitive market, it is important for brands to stand out from the crowd and those companies which capitalise on the most useful data insights will be able to deliver the most targeted, relevant and efficient email, mobile, social and display campaigns.
By embarking on a "data diet", marketers can utilise the most important consumer data and create more personal marketing campaigns that develop long-term, meaningful relationships between brands and consumers. The most successful companies will not be those who collect the most data, but rather the ones who collect the right data and use it most effectively.