Data Sharing The Pros and Cons

Data sharing between consumers and business is vital for commerce.

By Robin Sumner, Managing Director at Romax.

Data security, fair and appropriate usage of shared data and respect for consumer rights create a sometimes contentious but always interesting, debate between what is legal, what is reasonable and what is intrusive. Weighing up your approach is critical.

Fair use

Roma advocates the fair use of data, where organisations use data sharing to assist their customers by presenting appropriate services, products and offers that those patrons have a genuine interest in or propensity for; therefore providing a framework for relationship building. Proactive communication that is driven by previous interactions and transactions between client and supplier; or a properly researched and filtered approach to new viable contacts.

Highlight to clients how to opt in and out of preferred media

Clear ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ processes that provide clarity to the consumer, and the ability for any customer to, choose their preferred method(s) of communication, is key to generating positive interaction. The customer must feel that they are benefiting from the sharing of their data rather than them feeling pressured, bombarded or worse, ‘stalked’ by a supplier after sharing information.

Every customer has a different view on how their data should be utilised. The spectrum of client choice will range, like all bell curves, from those customers that absolutely refuse, to those that actively want to commit to data sharing and receive all and every message and offer. The majority of the population, however, opt for a median range between these two extremes.

Extreme clients

Clients at the extremes of this data sharing curve; those that opt out from all communication, are not necessarily ‘bad’ clients. They may well spend a lot of money with you and genuinely enjoy your products and services. They are difficult to classify from a marketing perspective, but they are satisfied clients, that perhaps react to alternative marketing messages, TV and media influence rather than direct marketing. Therefore less easy to track but no less important, these may be one of you most loyal customers.

Similarly, those customers that opt for every marketing message and offer available are often the ‘bargain hunters’ and are more likely to get offers from every supplier and wait for the best deal on their purchases rather than be persuaded by brand. These clients are costly as they drain resource, only react to discounts and offer no loyalty or lifetime value.

The realm of the direct marketer, therefore, is to understand and master your brand and relationship building communication through the appropriate use of data, aimed at benefiting your customer without alienating them through over contact or poor targeting.

Online Marketplace

There is a big difference between the likes of Amazon who engage in online marketing using cookies, that track behaviour using algorithms to influence your purchases, often based on your previous search history, and those businesses that take a less aggressive online approach.

Nurturing your client relationships

Subtle use of search history tracking can aid purchase behaviour, but overuse can be perceived (despite most people’s acceptance of cookies and site T&C’s) as an infringement of privacy, similar to having your video taken whilst window shopping; or the overzealous shop assistant in a retail outlet that after greeting you, continues to follow you around the shop seeking the sale but causing discomfort to the browser.

A ‘fine-line’ but position your brand with the appropriate ‘online’, ‘above the line’ and ‘direct marketing’ approach to ensure that you attract your customer base, incentivising them to share their data so that you can build your relationship, learning their preferences over time to build on your brand message rather than alienating using inappropriate and overpressured marketing.

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romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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