Sales Online. Working women at their store. They accepting new orders online and packing merchandise … [+]
The way that companies connect with their customers and cater to their preferences is paramount in today’s digital world. For years, companies of all sizes relied on social media platforms, cookies, and third-party databases to learn more about their customers and their preferences. But all of that is quickly changing.
New regulations are looking to ban ad targeting, and consumer preferences toward data collection suggest this won’t be difficult to accomplish. According to research, 39% of U.S. consumers don’t like targeted ads built on information from third-party data collectors. As much as 70% do not trust social media platforms with their data because of privacy issues, and 37% regularly delete cookies altogether.
So what does that mean for customer loyalty if brands can’t quickly determine what their customers want, how they should be contacted, or what to offer them in return?
Based on copious amounts of research, Cheetah Digital has created a system that encourages consumers to share critical psychographic data with brands they know and trust. And consumers aren’t simply along for the ride—they’re going out of their way to express their preferences.
This one-on-one relationship between a company and its customer bypasses the need for third-party data collection. We are at a nascent stage of the Zero Party Data Phenomenon, but as cookies continue to crumble, get ready for a new wave of personalization in the year ahead.
Personalization Matters—Now More Than Ever
According to Cheetah Digital’s research based on over 5,000 global respondents, there was a 33% increase in the number of consumers who wanted more personalized offers and services from brands in 2020. In exchange for these offers, they are more willing to share specific details about themselves and their preferences. So, why are consumers suddenly so willing to share more specific details about their interests?
It has to do with something called value exchange. Consumers are more willing to tell a brand what matters most to them in exchange for offers more relevant to their interests. What matters to one consumer may not matter to another. When a company can hyper-target to an individual’s interests, they can serve ads that are actually interesting, therefore leading to better click-through rates and eventual purchases. This is a significant leap from loosely created “personas” based on general demographics.
So here lies the future of personalization. It can’t just be about what companies think they know. It isn’t simply based on search history or which social media posts someone liked. We are approaching a new era of marketing, where things become more of an exchange between companies and consumers. Marketers are now able to create a one-to-one contract with their customers where they know what those customers are interested in and can engage with them based on those interests, and those interests alone. It’s all about treating people as the individuals they are.
The Growing Influence of Zero Party Data
To help companies achieve this level of personalization, Cheetah Digital helps collect something called Zero Party Data. As opposed to the generalization of Third-Party Data through things like cookies, Zero Party Data reflects the specific interests that customers have willingly shared with brands. These data points are typically not demographic but psychographic in nature—meaning they provide insight into things that a company cannot determine from external data sources.
Zero Party Data includes how a customer prefers to use a company’s products if they are planning to travel in the near future, and what their biggest pain points have been with similar products in the past, to name a few. It’s important to remember that this data is collected on an ongoing basis so that companies can continuously update their offers as consumer preferences change.
The opportunities for Zero Party Data are nearly endless. Some companies that use Cheetah Digital’s platform have collected over 200 different data points on specific customers over the course of several years. Cheetah Digital has seen a roughly 25% lift from brands in their intention to collect Zero Party Data. Brands are becoming increasingly aware of this fact—in such a competitive market, customer loyalty and trust are the way forward.
A New Era Of Customer Loyalty
The data collection options that marketers have come to rely on over the last decade are disappearing. Customer loyalty is no longer about offering rewards points that apply equally to every person who signs up or just sending an email on a customer’s birthday with a small discount on their next purchase. Put simply, if this is your approach to building customer loyalty, you’re doing it wrong.
When brands and their customers have a more open relationship, everyone wins. Brands can more effectively market to their customers with messages that stick, and consumers are less likely to tune out irrelevant outreach that isn’t beneficial.
From a marketer’s perspective, the results speak for themselves. For example, one client of Cheetah Digital, Pure Archery Group, was able to realize 50%+ open rates when personalizing subject lines in their email marketing campaigns. They were able to generate a 5x engagement rate lift in ad campaigns using zero-party data and generated as much as $250k from one email campaign.
These are not small accomplishments. But now the factor is that Pure Archery Group only sells through qualified retailers and distributors—meaning they do not have a direct relationship with their end customer? The results become even more dramatic.
We are entering a new era of marketing, customer loyalty, and a brand’s ability to work directly with its customers. This is the future for any company that wants to build a better, longer-lasting relationship with their customers.
Shama Hyder is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by