Much of today’s tailored marketing depends on collecting unique data or attributes about your audience members. The more you know about someone, the better you can speak to them—or, better yet, have a conversation with them. And, in fact, conversations are the best way to get accurate and valuable data, called “zero-party data” that audiences are typically happy to share.
Zero-party data provides leverage to marketers unlike any other type of data collected through the usual channels. While you might market to someone based on their age, income, past purchases, or other collected data, nothing quite compares to the power of data that they themselves give you. Zero-party data sheds light on the questions advertisers aren’t asking, to help them market better.
An introduction to zero-party data
To really contextualize zero-party data, it’s best to get an understanding of how companies collect data—specifically, where it comes from.
· Zero-party data is optional data given to companies by their customers.
· First-party data is required data collected by companies from its customers.
· Second-party data is another brand’s first-party data, purchased directly from them.
· Third-party data is grouped information, purchased from an aggregator.
As you can see, the further you move down the list the more removed data becomes from its initial source, making it much less reliable and impactful. Knowing that someone personally likes Blue Widgets because they told you (zero- or first-party) is much more valuable than buying a list of people who might like Blue Widgets based on buying information (third-party).
To get zero-party data, brands need to engage customers authentically and directly. It requires a conversation. Customers shouldn’t feel like they need to give data, they should want to give it, willingly and in context. The more naturally information becomes available, the more valuable it becomes. When customers trust you, they’re more likely to be honest and forthcoming in the information they share with you.
Privacy laws are increasingly protective
The downside to zero-party data is that it takes a lot of work to cultivate relationships that culminate in customers volunteering information about themselves. Buying a list of third-party aggregate data is easy. Having meaningful conversations with customers takes much more effort and tact. It’s something brands need to get into the habit of as privacy laws are making it much more difficult to acquire customer data outside of zero and first-party channels.
Take Apple, for example. Two of its newest features are specifically designed to make it more difficult for brands to glean information based on user habits: App Tracking Transparency and Private Relay.
App Tracking Transparency allows iPhone users to limit the data advertisers gather from app usage—and already, a staggering 96% of users have opted out of app tracking. It’s clear that privacy is important to users, and they don’t appreciate companies tracking their information for personalized marketing purposes.
Private Relay is a passive feature that hides user browsing experience from everyone—even Apple. By obscuring user data en-route to servers, it’s impossible for advertisers to pair users with activity, making it impossible to store, track, and use this information. And while this feature is new, it’s precedent-setting for the elimination of third-party data sometime in the future.
These examples and many others represent a movement toward further expansion of data privacy in the future. As third-party data becomes less available and less reliable, it’s vital for companies to double-down not just on first-party data collection, but also to invest in the systems that collect zero-party data. Privacy issues may be far-reaching, but they don’t apply to data that customers willingly give to brands while interacting with them.
Gathering zero-party data is as easy as chatting
When it comes to zero-party data, brands need to be clear on a very important distinction. Gathering zero-party data is extremely easy, but only if you have the systems in place to facilitate it. The simplest, most effective, and efficient way to glean zero-party data is through interaction with customers. Unfortunately, that means devoting people power to sales and customer service—hours and labor many brands just don’t have. But fortunately, there’s a new, simple, and cost-effective way to collect zero-party data -it’s automated conversational texting. It’s Voxie.
Voxie is an automated conversational texting platform that does the talking for you. Voxie uses automation to engage with your customers in meaningful ways: resolving problems, providing recommendations, and even asking questions. The result is back-and-forth conversations that naturally open the door for collecting zero-party information. Consider a very simple example of a beauty brand:
Using automated conversational texting, Voxie understands and stores the information that the customer shares, like their favorite product, their order frequency, and personal information like their birthdays. Not only is this data invaluable in understanding your audience better, it tangibly adds more revenue by creating very clear segments. Using this information, Voxie creates segments of customers – like a segment for people who like Rosé eye gels and order every 30 days. After this segment is created, Voxie sends this segment reminders to order their eye gels every month. Perfectly timed, personalized messages convert at a way higher level. Now that’s powerful!
When data collection is directly from the brand, customers are more likely to answer – 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized experience.
This example is a simple one, yet it illustrates the power of automated conversational texting. Asking simple questions and engaging customers for gathering zero-party data makes future interactions more meaningful—and sales and marketing efforts more personal. Ultimately, you get loyal customers.
Drive a superior customer experience with zero-party data
All of this adds up to a better customer experience. Marketing and sales become less overt and instead, more natural. The conversation moves from transactional to value-driven. It’s a relationship more customers appreciate, and one that compounds over time.
Despite how robust personalized marketing has become, the simple fact remains: people don’t necessarily like being marketed to. They do, however, like having an open, honest conversation—even if it’s with a brand representative whose job it is to sell to them. There’s a big difference between targeted sales and authentic recommendations. The ability to provide customers with the latter is what builds lasting relationships.
Consider that 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them, and it becomes apparent that a simple attempt at a conversation goes a long way.
Want to explore the powerful potential of automated conversational texting, to grow your business and strengthen your brand? Chat with a conversational texting expert at Voxie today 👉 Schedule a demo.