The six drivers that affect a person’s decision to share their data with brands – are you taking them into account?

This post takes insight from our latest white paper, delivering value in the digital age, download it here.

In the world of marketing, the ability to gather data is critical. Only with customer data is it possible to tailor experiences to suit individuals, removing irrelevant messages and providing the information people most want to see. Without customer data, marketing, communications and advertising can be bland and one size fits all.

However, businesses have to be sensitive to gathering and using data. Regulation means brands have to be transparent and honest with their use of consumer data. In reality the biggest driver for doing so should be the fact that it’s what the customer expects. If we are gathering data to deliver a better customer experience, we clearly shouldn’t be doing so in a way that annoys that customer. Equally, how we use that data should take into account what the customer is comfortable with.

What it comes down to is that different people have different responses to sharing data and it is critical that marketers understand what their customers expect and take the value exchange into serious consideration.

As part of our recent research and resulting white paper (Delivering value in the digital age) we ascertained that there are six key factors that people consider when deciding whether to share their data or not.
As marketers we need to consider all these options and ensure that when we are asking people to provide their data we are catering for as many of these as possible so that we are not unnecessarily gathering data.

1. Proximity to purpose

Is there an actual need to have, or give, this data? If data is required for a specific functional purpose that is obvious and clear, then customers are more likely to share. For example, a map service on your smart phone directly requires your location to operate, but access to the microphone is further away from the core purpose of the app, even if voice dictation of destinations is a feature.

2. Obligation or accessory

When the sharing of the data is mandatory or an accepted norm, people will be more willing to share. It is commonly known that to get a mortgage, what a person is spending their money on is taken into account, it’s mandatory to proceed. People are more comfortable sharing this information in this scenario than they would be where it is optional (for example, an app helping you manage your spending better).

Similarly, when friendship groups are all on WhatsApp (and therefore also sharing the default data), barriers to data sharing reduce.

3. Day-to-day value

What are the benefits of sharing data? When there is an everyday need for the service, a decision to share data is likely. Social circles can play an important role here, with a ripple effect from friends signing up first and sharing their trust and value in the brand.

4. Significant life stage

How necessary is sharing data for that ‘next step’? People are quick to judge how necessary sharing data is. This depends on the significance of the service or product to them as individuals. For example, one of the people involved in the study referenced the level of extremely intimate information that they shared with BabyCentre about their baby, in exchange for help and support through the early years of parenthood.

5. Trust in company

Is the company trusted? If a person feels comfortable that the business will protect their data and not misuse it, then the trust will influence their decision to share in this scenario.
If the company is not already well-known it will need to work harder to earn customer trust, for example a new entrant to the market vs. a traditional longstanding brand name.

6. Privacy of data

What kind of, and how private is the data that is being asked for? Consumers will have different attitudes towards sharing data depending on how private or intimate the data is. Financial data, health data and sentimental family photos are all types of particularly private data that will drive greater reluctance to sharing.

7. The value exchange

If businesses can get their approach to the value exchange right by demonstrating integrity through better data stewardship, transparency and accuracy, everyone stands to win. People will continue to enjoy the services and products that best meet their needs, while benefiting from a clearer understanding of where their personal information sits.

Marketers will build up a clearer picture of who their customers are and how best to interact with them. And ultimately the relationship between brand and customer will be based on trust. Building that trust will, in turn, deliver better business outcomes. That’s what is meant by a true value exchange.

The major challenge for brands today is to establish enough trust with their customers so that they willingly share more about themselves. When sufficient trust is in place, the relationship moves from being one of commercial exchange to become a genuine emotional connection. In a world where customers are fickle and choice is everywhere, it is more important than ever for brands to build deeper relationships with their customers.

This post takes insight from our latest white paper, delivering value in the digital age, download it here.