What makes UK shoppers give up their data?
What would it take for you to hand over your personal data to a brand? A free lunch? A discount? Is no extra incentive needed? According to John Fleming, EMEA marketing director for Webtrends, the company recently surveyed 2,000 British consumers to find out how they feel about sharing their personal data with brands, and the results were more than surprising.
The common perception is that the great British consumer is terrified of 'Big Brother', but Webtrends' research found that this isn't quite the case when it comes to brands. It turns out that the British are a fairly relaxed group when it comes to sharing their data with businesses. In fact, more than half (58%) say they're not concerned about the amount of data they share with brands.
There's an obvious generation gap in the evidence. 18-24 year olds are least concerned about sharing personal data with brands - 68% believe the amount they share is currently about right or are not bothered about it, followed by 64% of 25-34 year olds. These younger generations have grown up in a far more connected, data-centric world and often recognise the "tit for tat" benefits of sharing personal info with their favourite brands.
At the other end of the spectrum, older consumers - who grew up in a world where the internet wasn't yet a twinkle in Sir Tim Berners-Lee's eye - are much more cautious. Half of those aged 55 and over object to sharing any data with brands.
Evolving attitudes However, attitudes are continually evolving. Just 19% of all respondents say they don't like receiving personalised content from brands, showing that people realise the benefits that sharing information brings, even if some are still not comfortable with the idea of sharing information generally.
Relevance ultimately breeds trust - consumers don't want to hand over their details only to get an influx of unwanted, irrelevant spam marketing in return. But as brands continue to enhance and personalise their customers' experiences, the perception of these brands will improve and data sharing will inevitably increase.
Right offer, right person Webtrends wanted to find out what price Britons put on their data. What would persuade a reluctant consumer to share their personal information? It seems a free lunch won't quite work, but one in three say they could be persuaded to give up their personal data for a discount on clothes (36%), free delivery (31%) or a discount on a holiday or travel (28%).
This differs markedly across the country - for example, in Portsmouth just 6% of residents would share more data for a free lunch, but this figure rises to 30% for Liverpudlians. Likewise, only 24% of Edinburgh residents would share more for a clothing discount, compared to 46% of those living in Brighton.
What this demonstrates is that there's no 'one size fits all' solution. But what if your customers simply don't want to give you their data? Another interesting insight from the research is the range of consumer attitudes to the type of businesses that request their data.
For example, 64% of Britons are happy to share their name and email address with a retail brand, but this reduces to just 17% when it comes to more detailed information, such as their home address or income level. Likewise, while 49% would share basic info with a travel company, when asked for detailed information this drastically reduces to 10%. And - rather uncharitably - just 5% of people say they would share this level of detail with a charity.
But why is this so? Brands often have to compete with legacy perceptions - for example, people may have had a bad experience with a charity using their information for persistent communications and telemarketing. Alternatively, consumers sometimes forget to uncheck the marketing tick box and then get deluged with irrelevant and untimely offers.
So how can marketers overcome this? Again, it's about being smarter with your customers' data. Data analysis enables you to personalise your communications, time them more appropriately and engage with your customers in the way they prefer. If you get all of this right, the result will be greater brand perception, loyalty and trust.
The next level of personalisation As consumer attitudes evolve, the door is open for your business to be more creative and innovative in how you use personal data to give your customers the personalised, exciting and engaging experiences they seek.
This is not the simple personalised email message with your name in the subject line that we've become increasingly used to, but rich 'tailor-made' communications across all channels.
Big data can open up opportunities to engage with customers in ways brands have only previously dreamt of. With widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets, your business can accumulate in-the-moment data that can help to develop truly personalised, relevant connections with target audiences in ways that were previously unimaginable.
A new world of personalisation We are undoubtedly on the brink of a whole new world of personalised marketing. Until now, personalisation has usually involved using a combination of known profile information and historical data. What's been missing is the ability to combine these factors with real-time information such as in-the-moment browsing data, the device a customer is using, their specific location and their stage in the purchase cycle.
Technological advances allow us to bring all of these factors together in the next level of personalised marketing: contextual personalisation. It allows brands to deliver targeted and relevant experiences to a customer based on their specific needs at that exact moment in time - giving the customer what they want, when they want it and where they want it.
Contextual personalisation is also the catalyst for more exciting innovations that allow marketers to marry the online world with the 'real' offline world. Imagine if you knew what your customers wanted before they even entered your store - everything from their shopping habits, likes, dislikes and previous purchases - and could then use this information to drive their in-store experience. This is what contextual personalisation, combined with new technologies such as Apple's iBeacon, enables - it uses consumers' known online behaviour data to drive offline sales.
"We are entering a future where context is everything - technological advances will open the doors to a new world of experiential marketing that's highly tuned to the individual's wants and needs. Underpinning these new frontiers of personalisation are analytics and optimisation," concluded Fleming. "Get the data and the delivery right, and success will follow."