It seems clear that we’re rapidly coming to the point where the data’s one-way street is hitting a dead-end. No more will consumers allow their data to be used, explicitly or implicitly, in service to some corporate gain. At least, not without that windfall making its way back to them in the form of some experience or other tangible benefit.
It’s not unlike someone asking to use your kitchen to make cookies, making them, and then leaving without giving you any (or even cleaning up). It’s downright irritating, right?
But it’s a far different thing to say that consumers will put their foot down on sharing data with companies to no end, as opposed to saying they’ll put their foot down on sharing their data, period. Contrary to popular opinion, not only don’t I see that happening, I actually see data sharing growing — perhaps exponentially.
That’s really at the heart of what we call Loyalty.X. People are happy to share information when they’re getting a fair exchange. I’m happy to tell Starbucks where I am so they can point me to the nearest location. I tell Stitch Fix all about my likes and dislikes (and even more personal things like height, weight, body shape, and so on). The result is those companies— and businesses like Spotify and Netflix— can deliver the kinds of experiences that make me want to be loyal and keep me coming back. Now, if I’m giving my information away and not getting highly-specific, personalized experiences in return, I may ask for a change in terms. That’s at the very heart of the privacy vs. personalization dynamic: it’s a fair value exchange— the customer shares information about herself and the company agrees to use it to deliver the best possible experiences back to her. If that’s not the case, she likely walks.
For brands, tracking customers or collecting huge quantities of data about them is unwise if you’re not planning on using it to deliver better and better experiences back to those same customers. It’s like going to the market every week for fresh produce but only cooking once a month. Doesn’t make sense. If granting access to data provides greater convenience, value, or experiences, customers will likely agree to it. Brands come to us to put customer data to good use in delivering the kinds of experiences that make consumers more profitable, satisfied, and loyal. Think about the rise of Alexa, Google Home, Nest, and all the home automation devices out there. People will likely give more information, not less, PROVIDED they like the experience. The recent iPhone announcement that the iWatch will collect your vital statistics should drive the final nail in the coffin of “Data Sharing is Dead.”