The way marketers collect data has changed tremendously over the past few years, as the demand for privacy from consumers keeps growing and the death of third-party cookies and trackers is imminent. Countries and government organisations are also building laws to ensure the privacy of citizens.
However, while the demand for privacy grows, one of the most important use cases of consumer data is to offer personalisation to consumers.
Ravi Santhanam, Chief Marketing Officer, HDFC Bank; Surbhit Jain, Regional Product Marketing Head - APAC, Adobe Analytics and Adobe Experience, spoke about the nuances of marketing in a privacy-preferred world at the 6th Marketing Leadership Summit 2022 organised by CII.
The session ‘Winning in a Privacy-first World’ was moderated by Deepak Bakshi, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy and Consulting.
According to Santhanam, privacy is all about the ability to use data. “Today, the customer has allowed certain industries and segments to read into the consumer information. Customers expect some benefits out of sharing that information which the brand should know where and how to use. Privacy is all about the ability to use data, and personalise your offerings.”
“If you want to personalise messages, you should know what the consumer is willing to give you. As a customer I will share data where I see value for myself, it could be because of personalisation or the way they (the brand) engage with me,” he said.
However, Jain of Adobe said that from a marketing perspective, it is important to reach the consumer effectively.
“Your communication has to be relevant to the consumer, if there is no relevance, there is no relationship. If you want relevance, you need to have that insight into who the consumer is. You also need to be there for the consumer needs, not the other way around,” Jain said.
According to him, it is the technology that needs to decode how marketers can get data in a privacy-obsessed world.
What’s a good consumer experience?
Jain further recalled a real-life experience that made him understand how brands should be using consumer data.
“I come from a small town and a trip back home gave me clarity about what a good customer experience is.”
“I come from a generation where banking has always been about technology giving convenience. However, that wasn’t true for my parents. My mother used to visit the bank just to get the passbook updated. In the bank, there was this lady Mrs Chala and she shared a good relationship with my mother,” Jain said.
“She knew everything about us as a family, she knew that I am interested in computer science and wants to do engineering. She knew that I got into an engineering college because that’s where my mother went to get a loan. My sister wanted to do a Master’s course but one fine day she told us she doesn’t want to take it because it was expensive. A couple of hours later, my mother walks in with the passbook and hands it to my sister and tells her to go ahead with the course. The passbook showed a huge amount which was enough to cover the course’s fees. She smiled at us and said this was Mrs Chala. This to me is the definition of customer experience, according to my parents.”
“Mrs Chala took a lot of sensitive information from my parents and used it to give them a great experience,” he explained.
According to Jain, this is not very far from what the customers want from brands today. He said that trust is the biggest currency when it comes to building digital relationships. “Gen Z wants to give little information as per their preferences. They really want something out of it. If a brand is not able to give me value, why will I give them information about me?” he questioned.
He further said that while there are growing restrictions on getting data, brands that remain ethical will win.
“Some say that data is sparse today, however, data is not sparse, it is there. However, it will only be available to you if you collect it in a privacy-compliant manner and with consent. It has to be a continuous effort,” stated Jain.
On the other hand, Santhanam of HDFC said that brands should have the ability to connect the customer preferences on consent. “They (brands) need to know why the consumer is visiting the website, how are they behaving, how are they using the mobile app etc. You need to take that data and label it.”
“You also need to create a framework. Whenever using this data, you need to check if it fits your TG, whether it is what the audience needs and if it is fitting the regulations of the country,” Santhanam said.