Monday, February 13, 2017

CMOs: 3 Things to Know About Collecting Consumer Data in a Disruptive Marketplace

As a CMO, you are increasingly involved with matters of data security and privacy, with a growing number of consumers questioning how companies are using their personal information. As a graduate student of Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University’s Medill School who is interested in the role data plays in identifying and meeting customer needs, I have found two articles that address the subject of what you should know when it comes to collecting customers’ data in today's disruptive marketplace.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Personalized Marketing and Sales, is written by Bain & Company consultants Melanie Bockemuehl, Genia Kudryasheva and Huy Nguyen-Tuong. It shares examples of how companies in many industries are tapping on customer data and technology to improve both the end-user experience as well as the company’s bottom line. Touching on common blunders made in personalized marketing, the article elaborates on the steps marketers can take for effective “segment-of-one marketing”, to identify elements of your products or services valued most by customers and successfully create a sustainable competitive advantage.

Photographer: Jack Moreh. Taken from Freerange Stock Photos
Does Your Social Media App Know Too Much About You?, is written by Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers. Examining the value of personal data for marketers, particularly for those turning to social media sites to gather customer data, it identifies some key trends in user data collection over the years. It makes the case for why user privacy concerns matter and provides suggestions on what marketers can do to alleviate these concerns in a way that benefits both parties. 
Based on my analysis of these two articles as well as my observations as a marketing student, I have developed three action items you should consider implementing – there is no better time than right now! These are:

  • Transparency Establishes Trust. Be transparent and explain what data you’re collecting and why, to build relationships with your customers that are based on trust.
  • Personalization Creates Value. Get to know your customers on a deeper level to capture the bigger picture of what matters to them – their needs, frustrations, points of enchantment – so you can interact with them in a personalized manner instead of bombarding them with what they perceive as intrusive spam.
  • Reliability Drives Reciprocity. Finally, focus on building your brand reputation in a way that convinces consumers that your solution best meets their needs, so they voluntarily come to you and share their data instead of the other way around.

So, the next time you encounter a surplus of customer data and need to decide what to do with it, recall these three action items – they can make a world of difference.

Aneesha Subramaniam
I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill School, Northwestern University (graduating in December 2017). I have three years of work experience in public relations and am keen to build expertise in marketing analytics and brand strategy. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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