Marketing News: How brands can be trusted to handle personal details
How brands can be trusted to handle personal details
We hear a lot about how data is fundamental to marketing. After all, understanding your target audience’s tastes, preferences and priorities is crucial if you want to develop an engaging campaign, reach the right people and drive conversions. But after a several high-profile data breaches, we’ve also heard lots about how people are becoming increasingly concerned about handing over their personal details. The consequence is that brands risk missing out on the data that lets them segment their audience, steal a march on their competitors and market themselves effectively.
So how can marketers establish their brand as an organisation that can be trusted with sensitive information?

Don’t shy away from the issue
According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), only 1 in 4 British adults trust businesses with their personal details, while three-quarters are concerned about their data being stolen by criminals. Garreth Cameron of the ICO believes this is having a “real effect on people’s behaviour and impacting what they do.” As a result, brands should be open and honest about how they will use people’s personal details. Just 16% of people polled by the ICO said they feel businesses are transparent in their data use, while only 15% said they feel in control of their data. Offering assurances and firm commitments regarding data use should help ease people’s concerns and encourage them to share more information with you in the future.

Take your responsibilities seriously
Brands consider customer data hugely valuable for very different reasons than the people behind each fact and figure. It’s therefore essential for brands not to lose sight of the fact that every dataset relates to a real human being. As Richard Ellwood of The Walt Disney Company notes: “You need to make sure that all data is treated with respect, is going to be tech secure and confidential. Making sure it is treated in the right way and used for the purpose that it was set up for is crucial.”

Let customers be in charge of how you use data
Many brands are giving customers the confidence to share personal details by offering them control over how it is used. For instance, lifeboat charity RNLI has allowed supporters to opt in rather than opt out of receiving communications, and let them pick which channel they want it to use. The charity believes this approach shows people that it’s professional, can be trusted with data and has people’s best interests at heart. Otherwise, it runs the risk of losing the supporters it relies on. Mazelle Siton, Director of Audience Insight at the Telegraph Media Group, is another advocate of transparency when it comes to data, saying: “Ultimately it’s about knowing your audience and being respectful. Trust can be hard to build and quick to damage, so it really is important that customers’ wishes stay front-of-mind when working with their data.”

Use data to form meaningful bond with target audience
Finally, you can convince customers it’s in their interests to share personal details by using the data you possess to forge a genuinely meaningful connection with them. Look beyond what goods and services they want to buy and find out what issues matter to them and what drives them day to day. Use these conclusions to inform your future marketing activities, so you can remind customers that you value them for more than purely commercial reasons and want to connect on a deeper level.

Incentives could be a great way to encourage web registrations, online surveys or competitions on social media. Customers could be offered a coupon code, voucher or a logo branded item to thank them for their time. Everyday items such as cotton bags or water bottles are sure to be appreciated, whilst power banks, stylus pens or headphones are great ideas for tech-savvy audiences.

And it goes without saying, data capture must be coupled with ample data security and organisations should provide customers with clear information as to how personal data will be used. Get it right and it’s a win-win scenario for all involved. Customers will get relevant communications tailored to their needs and assurances that their data is being well-looked after, whilst brands will get the data needed to devise creative and engaging marketing campaigns that helps them connect with the people they want to attract and retain.


Sources / Further Reading
Information rights research ICO
Why brands are creating ‘social contracts’ to build trust around data use Marketing Week
Transparency, trust and progressive data protection ICO