Businesses need data, but if they want it, they to make customers feel safe sharing it.
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In April, a report by Gigya revealed that more than two-thirds of consumers do not trust brands with their data. The WannaCry ransomware attack soon followed, highlighting how real the threat of cybercrime is.
The breach affected over 200,000 businesses globally, resulting in consumers now questioning how safe their data really is. Without data however, businesses cannot truly understand their customer’s wants and needs.
Therefore it is so important that businesses now reassess how they safeguard customer data as a first port of call.
It is not necessarily down to marketing departments to protect customer data, but they will certainly suffer if customers lack trust in brands’ ability to protect their data.
In fact come May 2018, marketers will have to ensure they are in-line with GDPR – a regulation that will allow consumers to ‘opt out’ of sharing their data with businesses, meaning the way marketers have connected with customers is set to potentially change significantly.
Marketers will struggle to gain access to the insights needed to deliver the right campaigns to the appropriate audiences, simply because they do not know enough about who that audience is, what they want and ultimately how to reach them.
Therefore, what can businesses do to ensure their customers trust them enough to not only share their data, but also share honest, accurate data? Taking it one step further, what other means can marketers take when trying to paint a picture of their customer and what they want, without relying on data they share?
Impact of an attack
Many high-profile brands from a range of different sectors such as LinkedIn, TalkTalk and Wonga have fallen victim to cyber attacks in recent years and it has not gone unnoticed by customers.
Many victims or onlookers point to the financial implications of being caught up in a breach. For example, TalkTalk’s cyber security attack reached a total of £80 million in damages, but what about its cost on their reputation?
Recovering from a data breach takes time and so does rebuilding the rapport with customers, who are in turn becoming more reluctant to receiving marketing messages and content.
Consumers could react to this by refusing to share details with businesses, or including incorrect information when signing up or purchasing online. For example, data collected through email newsletters could actually provide incorrect insights into audiences.
If customers lie about who they are, marketers could think their audience consists of males in their 20s, when in reality that could be completely different, ultimately affecting their campaign strategies and outreach.
Preventing consumer mistrust
Thankfully, there are many tools marketers can use to build a better picture of customers, without having to rely solely on the data users choose to provide. Whether they realise it or not, marketers have a huge amount of data readily available.
If they know how to analyse it, they can gain rich data insights on customers without concerning them about what their data is being used for.
The reality is data analysis can be intimidating for marketers. A simple first step to easily pull insights from the masses of information could be to tag display campaigns and extract richer observations about who their users are, better identifying which consumers are just clicking on ads and who actually follows the path and completes a purchase.
Here are a few sure-fire tips for businesses to ensure they are getting the most out of data in a volatile environment:
· Make the most out of various characteristics to build campaigns: do not pin everything on assuming that the audience is a specific demographic. Think of other threads that link the customers together, such as their location and interests, which can give just as much useful insight
· Buying habits: if a customer has bought a sofa or some curtains recently, they may not want to buy another but it is likely they are redoing their living room or home. It will then be possible to build related ads that communicate to them directly
· Divide and conquer: it’s important to be open to sharing and trading information with other companies to get the information needed to take a holistic approach and fill in any knowledge gaps
· Introduce different tools: consumers may not always interact in the same way, so marketers need to ensure they do not become too comfortable in what they think they know.
They must build campaigns using tools such as cookies, in order to make the most out of browsing history to build a better picture of online activity and interests
· Get advice from others: data management services are fast becoming a go-to resource to analyse crucial data.
Brands can make use of a number of data types, such as affinities and attitudinal behaviour, which can then be analysed by a dedicated team or agency to create a clearer picture of relevant audiences
It may seem that difficult times are ahead for businesses, as cyber attacks are only going to become more commonplace and the GDPR becomes a reality next year.
However, there are many things marketers can put in place to ensure they are still able to use the data they can source effectively, resulting in campaigns reaching and targeting the right people most effectively.