I once bought one of those handyman gadgets that was supposed to replace 10 other tools. It was a screwdriver, a ratchet wrench, a pliers, a craft knife and more.
That it barely did any particular task well soon sent me back to my toolbox for the single right tool for each task.
I mention this because that’s how I think about capturing data.
A decade ago, we were enamored by what we thought mega-data could do for us: advertising based on browsing patterns, along with incredibly complex algorithms that sliced and diced to capture audience segments.
But our lust for big data became meaninglessly excessive – like watering a house plant with a fire hose – because most companies didn’t know how to parse the information in actionable ways.
Today, with the maturity of customer identity and access management (CIAM) platforms, the worth of all this information is increasing because we are learning how to obtain and segment the right data.
We know how to ask customers for information that improves their experience. Now it’s time to ensure that this data upgrades business strategy without downgrading customer experience.
With the right tools, advertising and marketing can evolve to the point where it is OK — and in fact the responsibility of a healthy business — to collect information that will help increase revenue and provide insights for strategic growth. If asked in the proper way, customers will willingly provide their information, as long as you are clear about how you intend to use it.
It may be as simple as explaining that advertisers support your site and that you need to know what ads would be most appealing to your customers. Go ahead and ask, because that information is important to your growth strategy.
The customer voice can also help retailers determine whether to invest more in e-commerce or to build more stores. A company framing its digital marketing plan might ask whether customers prefer to access content via a desktop or a portable digital device, and apply that guidance to remaking the website.
Or maybe it is about marketing affiliations based on customers’ feedback.
Airlines do well in identifying partner opportunities by asking questions that benefit the company. Not only will an airline ask for your seat preference, but they are likely to survey consumers on rental car preferences or favorite coffee brands, whether they shop while in the airport, or what credit card they prefer.
When it comes to managing that data, a holistic and dedicated CIAM platform should be at the core. This will help you determine data sets, frame the questions, and record the responses that drive sales or inform your growth strategy.
This is a huge opportunity for companies who have established a trusting relationship with their customers, so don’t be shy about asking people questions that benefit the company strategy. Often, they dovetail with improving the customer experience – which makes everybody happy.
By Craig Ferrara