Marketers, Stop Collecting More Data And Clean Up What You Have

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by AJ Brown, CEO and co-founder of LeadsRx.

Consumers are used to the convenience of saved logins and preferences. Whether they’re placing an order on an ecommerce site or logging into their healthcare portal, they trust their information – their address, purchase history, etc. – is secure and “remembered.”

But imagine if all your digital preferences were gone and you had to reenter all your information every time you made a purchase. What if the online pet store you’d used for years had no record of your previous customer service interaction with them?

The specific prescription dog food for Fido or your vet’s name for purchase approval, among other details – all gone. What was typically a smooth reordering experience would become a hassle. You’d have to start from scratch each time you buy Fido’s specialty weight-loss food.

That’s one possible future, but it doesn’t have to be. That is, if marketers and advertisers can learn to collect the right data and use it in the right way.

Data accuracy is more valuable than a 360-degree view

Over the past 25 years, consumers have become increasingly aware of their right to privacy. They’ve become wary of who they trust with certain information.

At the same time, marketers have recognized a 360-degree view of a customer isn’t the promised land it used to be. For one thing, it’s unreasonable. There’s no reason why every company in every industry needs to know every itty-bitty detail about a customer.

Rather than focusing on data volume, it’s more valuable for companies to ensure that whatever data they do possess is the correct date. Consumers might be alarmed to learn that much of the data a business holds about them is incorrect because of third-party data enrichment, data sharing and the like.

If the data were accurate, they would have better shopping experiences, better medical outcomes – better everything.

Data will vary, but it all requires a unified approach

Each organization’s strategy for creating a unified, accurate view of their customer will be different. Some will need specific identifying information, while others can develop a strategy based entirely on anonymous customer data.

For example, a retailer will have more anonymous and general data, as well as any personally identifiable financial information that customers opt to save with those brands they trust or with which they regularly transact.

However, healthcare organizations require more detailed customer/patient information for front-end patient registration and admitting systems, as well as back-end healthcare records. That detailed information is essential and could influence life-or-death decisions.

Because the data types vary, the security demands and regulations will vary, too. Healthcare data, for example, is protected by HIPAA, while retail data might fall under the jurisdiction of GDPR in Europe. Marketers must be aware of the privacy restrictions and regulations in their industry and follow them precisely.

Taking data responsibility

Regardless of the nature of the data, increasing privacy and security will require marketers, IT, and product teams to collaborate on processes and policies that adhere to data governance and compliance policies and strategies. It also means companies need to unify, clean up, and secure all the data that’s currently spread across disparate CRM, ERP, marketing and ad tech systems and databases.

IT teams, more than anyone, will face the burden of unifying and housing data in secure database systems, such as data clean room technologies. But even with all the innovation taking place in marketing attribution and analytics, it takes humans to help ensure data quality and secure consumer privacy.

“People + data = better” is the equation marketers need for outcomes that mutually benefit their businesses and their customers.

To thrive in the era of privacy-savvy consumers, a privacy-focused, data-driven marketing strategy is vital for supporting business goals and cultivating a trusted relationship with customers.

Rather than looking for new ways to gather more data, marketers should focus on the data they have, ensuring it does no harm – only good.

Follow LeadsRx (@leadsrx) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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