viewing tracking data on a screenby Eric Tejeda

For many businesses and marketers across a variety of industries, age is a primary opportunity to achieve insight into your audience. It is a key strategy for segmenting, or categorizing, customers into different groups. However, some retailers still remain ineffective at targeting these different audience age groups, as well as other demographic factors. 

Sweeping generalizations about different age groups can not only result in consumer backlash, but it can also result in a lower return on marketing investment. Each generation has their own shopping preferences, style, and dislikes that differentiate themselves from other age groups. Zero-party data can help brands avoid generational stereotypes with customers and even with creating more effective marketing campaigns.  

Advantages of Zero-Party Data

Recent changes to consumer privacy have resulted in third-party cookies being deprecated, and third-party data in general is becoming less effective. Many times, third-party data is inaccurate, out of date, and based on assumptions. Instead, zero-party data has become the go-to source for more and better marketing insights. Consisting of information that a customer freely and intentionally shares with a brand they trust, it can include personal insights like preferences, feedback, profile information, interests, consent, and purchase intent. It also provides cleaner data, enables better customer experiences, and offers personalization and campaign optimization.

This evolution toward zero-party data in marketing will help retailers avoid making mass generalizations about age groups, simply because each person will no longer be lumped into the same category. Businesses should get to know their customers on a more intimate level.

Myth: Only Certain Marketing Channels Work

Marketing on a one-to-one basis requires careful planning and campaign deployment. You need to build rapport with customers, ask them to share their preferences, consents, and insights, and then build campaigns that have a higher propensity to reach and resonate with them.

This does not mean you should completely ignore key insights and understandings based on demographic data, but it should work in concert with customer provided insights to fine tune campaigns. For example, maybe your standard messaging is appropriate for one customer, but they prefer a different channel. Messaging needs to be changed to reflect a unique interest or life situation. Lastly, it is important to leverage appropriate marketing technology so that you can truly leverage all tools and resources available.

Additional Benefits of Zero-Party Data

Giving customers a voice and control of their data is a vital step for marketers. There are several additional benefits of collecting zero-party data:

  • It is unique to the brand and no other retailer has the same data
  • It is the ultimate source of truth in that the customer offers up their own insight, rather than making assumptions based on big data or generational stereotypes
  • It is relationship-based, so it relies on a higher level of trust with the customer, which means the company must be transparent about their use of the data. Although, the relationship must be mutually beneficial. Businesses should provide value in exchange for the data that customers share.

The key to all of this is that businesses in every industry, no matter their size or location, must change the way they engage and interact with their customers. It is important to build trust so that your customers and prospects are willing to share personal insights with your business. With these new understandings in place, marketers will build better relationships with their customers and achieve a higher ROI on their marketing investments as they eliminate the wasteful spending they encountered through the use of third-party data.

Eric Tejeda is the Marketing Director for PossibleNOW. Eric drives the organization’s growth objectives by launching new products and services, promoting thought leadership, building brand awareness, and driving lead generation. Eric has deployed a marketing technology stack that honors customer’s wishes, provides information that is relevant, and builds trust.


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