Despite the fact that 86% of consumers want more control over the data companies collect about them, a recent study by Aimia Institute found that consumers are prepared to share their personal data with brands. They just want something in return.
80% said they would share their name, email address, and nationality in exchange for rewards, while 70% would share their birthday, hobbies, and occupation. But only 8% of these consumers feel like they’ve actually received better service and benefits for sharing that information.With the willingness to share data increasing, companies have an opportunity to build stronger customer relationships and tap into the emerging consumer-led economy. But that opportunity will quickly disappear unless they can cater to what the consumer wants.

So what do consumers expect in exchange for their data?

It’s All About the Money

Consumers won’t just give you personal information out of the kindness of their hearts. They know their information has value and they expect there to be rewards when they share it.

Most of the rewards consumers indicated they would share data for are money based:

  1. Rewards — 80%
  2. Cash back — 79%
  3. Coupons — 77%
  4. Location based discounts — 69%

Offer an Experience

Consumers are also open to experience based rewards.

63% said they would share information in exchange for special event invites.

Gamification can also make your marketing an experience in of itself, providing an extra incentive for consumers to share their personal information. But even the best games benefit from an added external incentive: whether it’s monetary or experience based, prizes are great motivators to get consumers to give you their personal data.

Rewarding consumers for sharing their data is the first step in developing stronger consumer relationships. But once you have that information, what you do with it will decide whether those customers stay for the long haul or break things off.

Make it Personal

You have their information. Now what?

A recent survey by Accenture indicated that there is a fine line between personal and creepy. And with Irrelevant Messaging being one of the top two reasons people disengage with brands, you want to make sure you’re providing your consumer with information they actually want.
So what’s welcome?
Automatic discounts at checkout for

  1. Loyalty points/coupons — 82%
  2. Promotions for items they consider — 59%
  3. Real time promotions — 57%
  4. Complementary item suggestions — 54%
  5. One-click checkout online — 51%
  6. Reminders about products they might have run out of — 48%

Don’t be Creepy

Consumers want their personalized experiences to be relevant and efficient. But they aren’t interested in things getting too personal or specific — feeling like Big Brother is watching gets creepy pretty fast. And if consumers have concerns about their data, they’ll leave.

1 in 6 have closed accounts/subscriptions over personal data concerns

54% are taking steps to limit online tracking/advertising

So how do you personalize without being creepy? It comes down to keeping information relevant and giving consumers information they want — without coming across like you’re watching their every move. Usually that’s accomplished by tailoring marketing to needs and interests not specific actions. For example:

Imagine I browse a retailers website and spend considerable time looking at one pair of women’s jeans.

Personalization Attempt #1: You target me with an ad on Facebook for the jeans I was just looking at.
My Reaction: “Woah, how do they know I was just looking at these!” followed by an attempt to turn off ad tracking. This attempt comes off as creepy because it makes it blatantly obvious you’ve been tracking what I do online, and it targets a specific action: buy these jeans!
Personalization Attempt #2: You personalize the home page of your site to show me women’s clothing and move jeans up to the top of the navigation menu.

My Reaction: I probably wouldn’t even notice that you used my data to do this – I’d just be happy my shopping experience was more efficient and I saw some cool products I’m actually interested in. This attempt works because the personalization is subtle and helpful. Plus it doesn’t push me to buy anything. Instead it targets my specific need/interest: women’s jeans.

It’s a fine line, but keeping the customer’s needs — not the company’s goals —at the centre of interactions, goes a long way to avoid being creepy.

The Bottom Line

The willingness to share data is increasing, and consumers have clear expectations about the type of rewards and experiences they want in exchange for that data. But capitalizing on the consumer driven market is about more than providing rewards for information. It’s a combination of both enticing rewards and relevant personalization that will attract consumers to your brand and keep them around for the long haul.

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