Consumers are both passively creating and actively sharing unfathomable amounts of data – about the things they like, the people they know, the media they consume, the places they go, the stuff they buy, and on and on and on. Marketers salivate over the opportunities this data allows to target and personalize their messages at scale. They want it. All of it.
But consumers are spooked. Conversations around privacy and who owns what’s shared abound. They’re beginning to understand the value of their data for marketers. So what can marketers do to encourage people to share more with them? It’s easy: Show them what’s in it for them, by using data to make their lives easier and their experiences better.
Help them set and reach goals
When you connect your brand to a person’s accomplishment, you become part of the pride and self-satisfaction they feel upon reaching it – especially when the goal is highly related to your brand.
Nike’s Fuelband+ helps users set and reach fitness goals. The wearable brand tracks physical activity throughout the day, from steps taken to calories burned to minutes spent active. Users set their goal in terms of “NikeFuel” online, and track their progress in reaching it – all the while associating the Nike brand with their fitness.
And all of the data that the user uses to track their fitness, Nike gets to use as well. The brand can build a very personal profile of the consumer as an athlete – and can use this data to target them with the most relevant products for their chosen athletic activities.
Brand can easily copy this model by making the data they collect as useful to the consumer as it is to the brand. An e-reader, for example, could offer certain lists to complete, like “Classics every mystery enthusiast should read” or “Books your eighth grader should get to know” – tracking the most popular reads and advertising them elsewhere.
Make their experience – especially a complicated one – simpler
Anyone who’s been to Disney World can tell you that the magical experience can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many parks to see, rides to enjoy, characters to meet, foods to try – enjoying the park to the fullest can be daunting.
So the iconic entertainment created the MyMagic+ band – an optional bracelet that acts as a ride pass, payment system, GPS locator, and more. Paired with an app, MyMagic+ lets wearers reserve spots at the front of the line for popular rides, make reservations at restaurants, get push notifications when certain princesses are available for autographs, get directions to a certain ride or shop, and more.
In return, Disney gets data on everything park visitors do. Which rides, foods, and characters are most popular, and which get less attention? How much time people spend waiting in line? Which areas of the park get most crowded? The park uses all of this information to improve experiences; perhaps they extend Cinderella’s availability and cut down Pooh’s appearances.
Imagine how a grocery store, for example, might use similarly helpful experiences to collect data. Traditional grocery layouts are designed to keep shoppers in the store as long as possible by placing certain popular items, like milk or bread, in the furthermost areas of the store. But what if the store offered an app that lets users plan shopping lists in advance – useful data for the brand – and guides them to those items in the store? It could push coupons for certain items as users pass them in the aisles, or suggest complimentary products, like a Bertolli vodka sauce to go with the penne the shopper just added to their cart – offering the retailer more relevant placement opportunities to sell brands.
Personalize and gamify to spur even more sharing
Gamification uses game play mechanics to encourage certain desirable behaviors, such as completing surveys, buying certain items, or, in Nike’s case, sharing more data.
Nike gamifies the Fuelband experience by allowing users to benchmark themselves versus others online, or challenge friends to certain NikeFuel goals. The competitive element that encourages more use – and thus, more data creation.
But the brand didn’t stop there. Nike will soon launch an actual game through the FuelBand app – NikeFuel Missions, a video game that sets certain fitness goals users much reach in order to advance their character through the story’s narrative. Again, the game encourages more use, sharing more data.
Disney, meanwhile, is using hyper-personalized experiences in the park to boost sharing. The brand recognizes that parents, for example, may hesitate to share data like their child’s name and age. So, the park offers unique experiences that visitors couldn’t otherwise have without MyMagic+ and personal data.
Say a young birthday girl approaches Belle for a photo. MyMagic+ could notify the actress, letting her immediately address the girl with a “Happy birthday, Princess Sophie!” Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, expounds:
“We want to take experiences that are more passive and make them as interactive as possible — moving from, ‘Cool, look at that talking bird,’ to ‘Wow, amazing, that bird is talking directly to me.’”
Consumer data isn’t just helpful to marketers – brands that use the data well will create better experiences for consumers as well. And those that show consumers what’s in it for them will open up even more data sharing.