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Why a balanced data strategy is key to success

Why a balanced data strategy is key to success
(Image credit: Pixabay)
About the author

Jamie Brighton is the Head of Product & Industry Marketing EMEA, at Adobe.

The relationship between businesses and customers has transformed dramatically in the last few years, moving rapidly from one-way, one-time interactions, to brands looking to establish an almost daily connection with their customers. For consumers, frequent interaction is acceptable, but it must be on their terms and there needs to be something in it for them – it is, after all, their data that companies are mining to generate those opportunities to interact with them. 

To effectively engage customers, existing and new, brands need to interact with them in a personalized and authentic manner. Consumers today have come to expect this, and in order to meet that expectation brands need their data – and lots of it.  After all, the more you have, the better the insights you can derive, the better the experience design. 

The age of data

From product usage patterns, to individual preferences around particular services, brands can gain a detailed picture of what consumers want and how they like it delivered. It’s a treasure trove of information that brands have at their fingertips and something that if used right, can garner greater interaction and loyalty with consumers than ever before. Getting it right can be like walking a tightrope: A misstep could cause a small wobble in consumer trust but lose your footing here altogether and you could seriously damage your reputation and risk financial injury.

In order to use this data effectively, businesses need to be smart about how they interact with it, store it and share it through the organisation. This is where technology can play its part. Currently, many businesses are overwhelmed with the data they have and are either unable to gain the insights they need from it or are analyzing it within silos and not sharing it across the organisation.

Data management and AI

Adobe's recent Digital Trends research showed businesses are starting to see the need for change and to take more control over their data. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of IT professionals have made it a priority to improve their data collection capabilities and centralize all the information they collect onto a single platform.

To find their privacy/personalization equilibrium, businesses need to tap into the latest technological tools in data management and artificial intelligence (AI). Where internal silos and external ‘walled gardens’ stifle the data, data management enables the information to be collected in one place for each function of the business to use. Without this, it’s impossible to use the data effectively and gain the insights needed to deliver the personalized experiences that consumers crave.

Once the data is collated, analyzing it is easier said than done. This is where AI comes in. By implementing AI and machine learning, businesses can analyse the mountains of data they have at a much faster speed than doing it manually. Putting the right tools and AI platforms in place means data can be analysed and sorted as it enters the system, leading to almost instantaneous insights and immediate business decisions.

Making privacy an experience

There’s a growing awareness among consumers of the value of their data and how it’s being captured and stored. While they expect a tailored, seamless experience, it can’t come at the cost of dubious data collection and sharing practices. This shouldn’t be seen as a negative from a brand’s perspective, but more as a chance to make data privacy a competitive differentiator.

Implementing privacy at the start of any process will ensure a smoother experience while also ensuring customers are comfortable with the way the company is handling their valuable data. The more confident customers are that the companies they are sharing their data with are handling it responsibly, the stronger the relationship and the more they will be willing to share in future.

Effective advertising and marketing increasingly combine art with science, giving us a deeper understanding of customers than ever, and it’s up to brands to transform that insight into experiences that create powerful emotional connections. Take Sky for example and its use of data to understand customers’ favourite sports teams.  

Using that information to deliver tailored content builds a stronger connection with customers, who get an improved experience in exchange for their data.

Creativity, intelligence, and technology are the three pillars that separate amazing experiences from ordinary ones. Today, customer experience is the ultimate differentiator, and brands that can cut through the noise and inspire audiences at every stage of the customer journey will come out on top. 

Finding that balance between personalization and privacy needn’t feel like a precarious balancing act. With the right data, tools and a strong company-wide data culture, navigating this terrain will feel more like a walk in the park than a precarious balancing act.

 

Jamie Brighton is the Head of Product & Industry Marketing EMEA, at Adobe.