Have you ever visited a website and provided some of your personal information only to have telemarketers call you a few weeks later?
Then, you spend a few moments racking your brain to figure how this telemarketer obtained your information. This has become a common theme in the world of marketing. Many businesses routinely sell or share with specified partner businesses the personal information of their customers.
As such, many consumers believe that privacy is all but gone. While this may be the prevailing reality, consumers feel companies do not do enough to safeguard their privacy.
Small-business owners can actually take a leadership position about protecting customers’ privacy. Where some larger businesses may do poorly in this respect, a small and nimble business can go a long way by being more transparent with customers about what happens to information they provide them.
Consumers do value transparency and want to be assured that their personal information is safe (for example, credit card numbers). Many are willing to offer up some of their personal information if it means more targeted promotions/discounts that would be relevant to them. Now, that doesn’t mean a product must be cheap. A good value proposition factors not only price but the quality of the product, too.
A New Business Model
Business owners should evolve their business models and websites to:
• Become very consumer-centric
• Provide an experience that lengthens the engagement time on their site and increases the opportunity for their product to be considered for purchase or be purchased
• Become very transparent about how personal data will be treated • Enhance loyalty programs • Make communications messages less self-focused
Now one may say, “I already notify my customers how we treat their personal data.” That’s fine for existing customers—but what about new ones? Consumers demand multichannel experiences that offer the relevant content they are seeking. They also expect a degree of privacy in exchange for engaging with your customized messages. By preserving your focus on what the customer needs are, you are already ahead of most.
Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant with 20+ years of experience, freelance writer, and author of “Elements of Buying” (self-help advertising guide); available at Amazon.com. Adele was on Black Enterprise’s list of 2011 Top Execs in Marketing & Advertising and Black Enterprise’s 2013 Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org