With all the recent attention on the misuse of data by behemoth Facebook, it’s easy to understand the concerns about data. In fact, almost three-quarters of consumers in a 2018 SAS survey indicate increased apprehension over the safety of their personal data in the past few years. Many fear these escalating privacy concerns could lead to a massive push-back in data-driven marketing.
While there are many examples of how mistrust in the marketing space, the reality is access and use of data is only going to grow. You might even say the future of data is bright.
Need proof? “Look no further than Amazon, Netflix and Google—all of whom have built their entire respective empires around a nucleus of customer behavior data and analytics,” wrote Gwrites Gary DeAsi, Director of Demand Generation at Pointillist.
These practitioners share a common trait: They recognize that consumers have the power to make smart decisions choosing to engage with companies when and how they want. Consider recent Salesforce research where 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services; 95% say they are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust; and 67% say their standard for good experiences are higher than ever.
With data being the fuel for these engagements, what does the future hold? Jeff Beard, COO of Infutor, and I tackled this question during our panel discussion “The Future of Data for People-Based Marketing: A Return to the Golden Rule” at LeadsCon earlier this week.
Evolution & Power of Data
Jeff and I have known each other for more than 20 years. We’ve seen firsthand how data has changed the way consumers go about making their purchase decisions. Jeff recalled the countless thick catalogs and unwanted mail solicitations delivered to U.S. mailboxes: “How many trees had to sacrifice their lives in vain only for the majority of the pieces to go straight into the trash can then to the landfill.”
We agree data can be a very powerful tool. Data increases efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. Just consider research cited by McKinsey where organizations that leverage customer behavior data to generate behavioral insights outperform peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin.
Data has advanced marketing strategies as well. We’ve seen mass marketing evolve to targeted marketing and 1-to-1 marketing. And now we’re focusing specifically on the individual and their preferences rather than broad audiences (people-based marketing).
But with anything that is powerful, it can also be used in nefarious ways. As champions of data, Jeff and I agreed that we need to recognize and make the adjustments necessary to keep a good trusting relationship with the consumer. At Jornaya, we utilize data about consumer preferences and behaviors to help marketers know when and how to best engage with relevant content to help customers make the best decisions. Similarly, Infutor is helping brands and value added resellers with data activation.
What’s Next for Data
We’re entering an era where brands will utilize data properly—in order to communicate more effectively and when the consumer desires—or risk losing business. Smart companies realize that while they can make a quick buck with misuse, they won’t last in the long term. Companies that cultivate customer lifetime value as part of their organizational DNA will only get stronger as technology gets stronger and data becomes more readily available.
Further, we see the highest performing companies adhering to the “Golden Rule of Data.” In other words: Treating data like you’d want your own data used. The days of spamming customers that lead to bad experiences are coming to an end. The days of the marketer’s voice being at the center are also coming to an end. It’s now about creating value for the customer in the most efficient way possible, and the use of data in the right way will continue to help marketers and create valuable consumer experiences.
Ross Shanken is CEO at Jornaya.