Persado Solutions Consultant Grace Fisher declared 2019 will be the Year of Data in a recent webinar on the future of web and e-commerce marketing. As consumers continue to share information about themselves, brands will be able to create frictionless, omnichannel experiences using AI-driven technologies.
But that data comes with a responsibility: customers are trusting brands to keep it safe and engage with them in a positive, productive way (not spamming them). Over the last year, we’ve seen headline after headline about privacy and data misuse as Google, Twitter and Facebook executives testified before Congress.
As web and e-commerce marketing will continue to evolve quickly in 2019, so too must businesses’ data security measures. Fisher, along with Forrester Senior Analyst Serving B2C Professionals Ryan Skinner, discussed how to balance both. ICYMI: You can watch the whole thing here.
Zero-Party Data Balances Marketplace Regulation
Despite the setbacks the industry has faced, customers are open to sharing their data: Thirty-nine percent of customers are willing to create accounts with brands, and 78% of consumers are likely to share personal information when they retain control over how the business will communicate with them. Consumers are recognizing more and more that they need to take control of their digital identities and shape and form them to best take advantage of their experiences. For example, they can have brands suggest content or use a certain tone based on their preferences. That leads to zero-party data. Zero-party data comes in the form of email opt-ins or feedback surveys and opens a rich, new wave of consensual data. By the end of 2019, 15% of global consumer brands will have evolved their preference collection from basic subscription management to true content and context preferences.
Marketers Will Rediscover Community as an Area of Strategic Focus
As Persado and Forrester discussed in a recent social media webinar, developing a sense of community is a way to cater to and build trust with loyalists. This can be done on social media or on-site, such as Sephora’s beauty community.
Language and a Brand’s Narrative are Paramount
So much goes into a web page, but in the end, language and narrative play the largest role in getting a customer to engage and convert. Emotional language, words or phrases that make an emotional impact, contributes to an average of more than 36% of results on web. Brands must reach customers where they are at to stay relevant — brands would likely approach a customer running their first 5K differently than someone training for their third Iron Man, correct? Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can sift through customer preferences for brands. It’s a time saver, considering the massive number of consumers most businesses boast.
Though this personalization is here to stay, brands must always keep in mind the importance of trust and immersive relationships. Fisher suggested constantly circling back to the question, “How can we be trustworthy while using data to build experiences in ways that are appropriate for customers?”
Functional language, such as calls to action, contribute to about 6% of a customer’s response to a campaign. Though lower than emotional language, it’s still important. Fisher presented some of the most effective CTAs, according to Persado research. Keep in mind, all brands are different:
The Rise of Brick and Mobile
The lines are blurred between a brand’s website and social presence, as purchases can now be made on Facebook and Snapchat, and both in-store and online. It’s led to the rise of brick and mobile. Seventy percent of consumers access their phones while in store. Nike has used this to their advantage by allowing customers to reserve a shoe online before coming to the store. Upon arrival, the customer can simply go to a locker without even speaking to a salesperson. This is especially useful when it’s crowded — the person doesn’t have to be frustrated by long lines or waits. But, what if the purchase is made with the wrong account? Or, what if Nike gets the locker wrong? Eliminate or minimize this threat by evaluating your tech stack. Ensure you have the right CMS and CRM, and that your AI system is scaling while maintaining trust. Data should be kept secure, and customers should be made aware of breaches and solutions immediately.
Bottom line: Customer-obsession is the only way to gain a competitive edge, and that includes keeping data protected.