7 Simple Steps Towards Responsible Data Use

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Recently, the Association of National Advertisers and the Data & Marketing Association merged to create the largest advertising and marketing association in the world. The organization provides a number of resources for educating marketing and advertising professionals, and has a set of ethical guidelines that aim to self-police the industry.

And in an age where policy does not favor the people, this may just be the fastest route to change. From a business perspective, communicators who do not take full advantage of the technologies of the day will fall by the wayside, but there are some easy steps we can take towards restoring trust without diluting our modern-day, data-driven tactics:

  1. Personalize content to enhance an experience, not to trick users into interaction
    Consumers aren’t fooled by your email personalization, as hard as {{your.firstname}} might try. Personalizing content is about providing relevance, not fooling users into interaction.
  2. Geotarget to provide relevance and emphasize benefits
    Use customer location data to personalize offers and provide relevant content and information, not to limit audiences based on demographic or profiles. Some industries, like banking and financial, have strict rules against excluding certain geographic areas from advertising campaigns to help minimize discrimination.
  3. Automate to deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time, not to eliminate the human experience and connection
    There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything by hand. Automation should be used to help enhance campaigns by providing communications when consumers want to receive them. Think “right time, right place.” The key to success is automating processes like data entry and cleanup, analytics tracking/reporting and other menial tasks in order to free up humans to do what only they are suited to do… build relationships.
  4. Gather the right data, only in the amounts that you need
    Not only is this a core pillar of GDPR, but it’s just good business. Businesses should not request a user’s social security number, mother’s maiden name, city in which they were born and the name of their first pet for a newsletter subscription.
  5. Deliver unexpected value, not unexpected communications
    Technologies like chatbots, smart messaging and personalized email can help deliver exactly what users are looking for, on their own timelines. The key is a clear opt-in. Users who subscribe to an email newsletter should not receive social chatbot communications or SMS/Text marketing messages, even if the capability is there, without getting their permission. When a brand communicates with a consumer in a place where they didn’t expect to be found, it can plant the seed of doubt and distrust.
  6. Provide that value, even if the value is entertainment, before making an ask
    Content is the heart and soul of modern marketing. The key to creating long-term consumer relationships is to focus on providing value before asking for anything in return. No one wants to be immediately solicited, even if a product or service solves a consumer’s problem.
  7. Listen.
    This concept should need no explanation. Relationships should always go both ways. Brand/Consumer relationships are no exception. If your social media platform is only used as a broadcast mechanism with no customer engagement or service involved, you’re doing it wrong. If your email marketing program only serves to promote your latest sale, you’re doing it wrong. If your blog is entirely sales oriented, you’re doing it wrong. In the end, if all you’re doing is broadcasting marketing messages to your audience, your content is little more than a misguided commercial.

For more information, contact BBR’s Creative Technology Director Cory LaGrange at clagrange@nullbbrcreative.com.

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