Creating impactful, engaging marketing messages is truly an art, and a key element is understanding how to personalize these messages in an ethical manner.
What do we mean by ethical personalization?
Essentially, we’re talking about the ways you procure and use impactful customer data points.
This complex topic poses many questions: How do you know you’re procuring data ethically? How does this impact customer engagement? And why the heck do we even go through the trouble of personalizing messages in the first place?
Let’s dive right in by answering that last one.
Why We Personalize Marketing Messages
Better engagement leads to better marketing ROI no matter what channels you’re using, but excellent engagement only comes from understanding your customers.
The key to letting your customers know you understand them is to speak to them on their terms, and, honestly, they prefer it!
Speaking to a customer in a generalized tone with vague marketing language is far less effective than illustrating your awareness of what motivates them to click “buy.”
The consumer and marketer share a common goal, believe it or not: to live in a world where the personalized customer experience is safely tailored.
So how do marketers create a customized experience built on ethically acquired data insights?
How to Safely Tailor the World to Our Customers
The data connected to each and every one of us can seem a little overwhelming at times, even for marketers.
That said, marketers are not in the business of collecting consumer data for the sake of collecting it.
They create specific campaigns that can be more engaging with a few key points, such as behavioral and demographic data, but how do they ethically and safely gather data to enhance their campaigns and connect with customers?
There are three simple ways to collect data:
- Volunteered data: data gathered during the initial sign-up or purchase process, such as name, email and phone number
- Behavioral data: data gathered from a purchase record or webpage activity, such as buyer intent and products of interest
- Third-party appended data: demographics, household, life stage, lifestyle, etc.
Within the Iterable and TowerData partnership, Iterable manages the first two categories, and TowerData helps supplement the third category with appended data insights.
This is critical because today’s marketers ask for less information during the sign-up/purchase process in order to eliminate friction caused by long forms, which is great for generating engagement but results in less customer data.
And even if a marketer has a tremendous amount of behavioral data, it can be misleading without accompanying demographic or household data, resulting in inaccurate assumptions (and then poor engagement).
The most common example of data inaccuracy is gift purchases: A 10-year-old boy’s aunt might purchase a baseball bat for him as a gift. This is her behavioral data, but this doesn’t take into account her demographic and household data. If she has no children of her own and no interest in baseball herself, continual baseball equipment offers sent to her inbox will be a waste of time and resources.
Pairing behavioral data with demographic and household data paints a full picture and can eliminate mistargeted marketing efforts.
By acquiring both demographic and behavioral data via a secure, reliable third-party source, marketers can create a complete picture of their customers, and optimize their personalization tactics, much faster.
So what makes a third-party data source secure and reliable?
Ethical Personalization, Powered by Iterable and TowerData
When procuring third-party data, Iterable clients should only work with companies that understand and act in accordance with ethical data collection and use standards.
At TowerData, we do this by providing our customers with three things:
- Customer notice
- Customer choice
- Secure data maintenance and storage
Consumers should always be aware of how their data is collected and used. Therefore, it’s an integral part of our practice as a data company to aggregate data from sources that provide users with proper notice of how their data will be collected and used.
At the same time, we, too, provide notice to our own customers of our data collection and use practices through our privacy policies. At the core of these policies is clear, concise language regarding customer data collection and use. No matter what, when you procure third-party data, ensure it’s coming from an honest, law-abiding source.
Additionally, we always ensure people have the choice to opt-out of data program participation. At the end of the day, creating a safely tailored customer experience must include opportunities to opt-out of data program participation, and at TowerData, we’re always working to improve the ways people can opt-out of our database.
Just as notice and choice are core components of ethical data collection and use, so are secure data maintenance and storage.
For TowerData, this means maintaining our ISO-27001 certification through continuous platform and storage security updates in accordance with the ISO-27001 requirements. It’s a major investment for us, and it ensures customers feel confident in the confidentiality of their data and its ethical use.
Additionally, we maintain GDPR compliance for international clients. For more information on our GDPR compliance, you’re welcome to read our GDPR documentation.
There a number of ways data companies can act ethically, but there are also things they should avoid to be ethical as well, especially when it comes to the type of data they collect and distribute.
If data poses a threat to an individual or could result in any harm, your data company should not be collecting nor distributing it.
Here are a few examples of the data TowerData does not collect nor distribute:
- Data from anyone under 18 (protects minors)
- Data regarding race, ethnicity and national origin (eliminates discrimination)
- Medical data (protects everyone!)
Safe data procurement and storage are critical, and ethical use is non-negotiable.
How Enhanced Customer Records Improve Engagement
Consider your welcome email campaign to a new customer or subscriber: What personalization could be added to those initial customer messages? The goal is to make sure customers feel safe and understood when communicating with your brand at every point of their journey.
Creating cross-channel customer micro-moments from initial signup to loyalty program membership and beyond is really only possible with thoughtful personalization. This type of personalized messaging vastly improves engagement and ROI because it is strategic and purposeful.
Balance a general, warm message with a few key motivational personalization points, and you’ll see improved engagement and ROI. This is because you’re speaking the customer’s language and illustrating your understanding without being overbearing.
TowerData’s Email Intelligence service helps brands ethically and safely procure and use third-party data in order to implement thoughtful people-based marketing and build genuine customer relationships built on trust. After all, we’re not selling products and services to bots.
At TowerData, we’re excited to bring our Email Intelligence and Email Validation services to Iterable customers through our new integration. Our goal is to empower email marketers to optimize their People-Based Marketing efforts with ethically-sourced email data.