Am I aging myself if I bring up Sting and his beloved Police? “Every step you take, every breath you make...” Whatever generation you fall into, you likely know how this chorus ends: “I’ll be watching you...”
Wherever you look in the news, you’ll find stories about “Big Brother” and the “end of privacy” as we know it. How we talk to one another and stay connected. How we work. How we date. Everything is changing. Everything is more public. With the proliferation of mobile, the Internet and big data, even the way we shop has changed. What’s being tracked? Who’s doing the tracking? How is it being used? Is my information safe?
The burden is firmly on the CMO, who thrives on data and now has access to more of it than ever, to find the right balance between capturing data on consumers to optimize every interaction, while not alienating them in the process.
Where Does Personalization Fit In The Privacy Spectrum?
Consumer information spans many facets--from one’s friends and family; public actions, posts, and tweets; current location and demographics; and even credit history. But there’s another set of consumer data: information about shopping behaviors and preferences. That includes favorite colors and styles, price sensitivities, preferred channels for browsing and buying, and the time of day an email is most likely to be opened or a purchase made.
What types of information are consumers willing to trade for personalization?
For the past six years, MyBuys has commissioned a consumer survey with the e-tailing group in an attempt to understand where consumers draw the line. The numbers may surprise you.
For example, 83 percent of the 1,004 consumers surveyed said they see value in being recognized with personalized experiences across channels. That might seem high, but when you look back over the past six years, the number has been steadily climbing. We see no reason that it won’t increase further when we ask the question again next year.
Consumers clearly recognize the distinction between life-altering privacy violations and life-enhancing personalized shopping experiences. In fact, consumers said they want–and expect–personalization across every channel they shop:
- 70 percent on Web sites
- 68 percent in email
- 42 percent in display ads
- 39 percent in social ads
I Hope That Someone Gets My…
OK, this Police thing is getting hackneyed. Apologies. But consumers do want you to personalize every message, and every interaction, and they want you to do it across channels. They’re comfortable with you knowing their preferences, provided you’re using that information to market to them more effectively.
The next question for marketers is, how do you find these consumers across all of their devices? The Internet is accessible through more devices than ever before, which means knowing who, what, when, how, and where to engage consumers is a lot more complicated for today’s CMO. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require you to know your consumers and change your approach appropriately.
For most marketers, demographics play a big role in how they engage with different consumers. This year’s survey found that 32 percent of consumers surveyed over the age of 55 are purchasing on their mobile devices. Here is the age breakdown for purchases on mobile devices:
- 72 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds
- 70 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds
- 58 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds
- 40 percentof 45- to 54 -year-olds
- 32 percent of 55-plus-year-olds
In fact, across all age groups, more than half of the shoppers surveyed have used multiple devices when completing purchases. The engagement across devices isn’t limited to purchasing, especially for Millennials: Seventy-five percent of 18- to 34-year-olds use more than three devices to access the Internet.
In addition, older age groups are also engaging with your site on multiple devices: Half of those over 45 use more than three devices to access the Internet.
What are you doing to address the device dilemma? More than three-quarters of consumers don’t think retailers recognize them across devices.
It’s the CMO’s job to know what consumers want (and how to get it to them) and what they don’t want. In today’s world of privacy concerns, big data, personalization demands, and multiple devices, consumers are harder to keep track of and keep happy. Make it happen, or get used to losing them to someone who will take the time to make every interaction engaging and relevant. Consumers want it, and they expect it. Give 'em what they want, and they'll be wrapped around your finger.
Drop mic, exit stage.