If you don’t ask, you don’t get

We in the data industry have always had a taste for chatter. 

We love nothing more than to discuss the major issues in our industry, debating the latest developments and legislation and commenting on new campaigns. And rightly so. We are under constant pressure to demonstrate the care and attention paid to database marketing in order that we are able to dispel consumer worries over recent, frequent data breaches.

For all of this talk there is very little action. Brands and  businesses continue to discuss the future of the industry without ever acting on it, using the same old methods of database marketing and not recognising the opportunities that are staring them in the face. 

A prime and important example is the advent of digital. Many have eulogised on the opportunities that this has brought for database marketing, opening up a huge amount of information that can be collected to enhance the consumer experience and benefit brand and customer. But who is actually doing it properly and to an extent that will have a positive and lasting effect on their business? 

The truth is that for all the talk of innovation in dynamic data collection, very few are using it or even capable of it for that matter. More often than not, the grandest ideas seem to be tempered with consumer fears and “Big Brother” syndrome and concerns over how much data is held by brands and organisations. 

But digital channels allow us to be even more transparent about how information is intended to be used than ever before because they are so instant. We receive instant permissions and in return a consumer can receive instant deals based on the insight that they have provided. 

The most pertinent point for data marketers here is that you can’t expect to get better value from your customer information unless you try to get hold of more accurate data. A common mistake that brands make is to miss the opportunity to gain further information from repeat customers to a website. 

The capability now exists to serve targeted questions each time a visitor lands on a site, gathering new information each time based on what is known or not known about the visitor. Over time, this will create a hugely valuable resource of information which can be constantly added to and updated, greatly enhancing the recency and depth of data on the marketing database or creating a new marketing data asset. This is not only valuable for marketing purposes – it can have great financial benefits if sold to third parties.

It’s naïve to think that we can just carry on in the same way. We have to innovate as an industry and it is the brands that align themselves with new technology to get the most valuable information and then use it to the benefit of the consumer which will succeed. It is those that do not change with the times that will fail to shore up their financial prospects, which in the current circumstances could spell the end of a business.

By Emma Thwaites, client services director, Alchemetrics

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