We live in an age where data has turned into a raw material for production, with advances in data mining, tracking, and analytics, coupled with technological advancements in the field of computing power and data storage capacity resulted in a significant increase in the scope of information available to businesses, government, and even individuals.
Additionally, the rising population and the accessibility of internet-ready devices and gadgets further boosted the importance and availability of big data. This gave marketers, and list owners massive control over information. However, using these data is another matter entirely, because there’s a certain overlap between the gathering of data and respecting your subscribers’ privacy.
Big Concerns About Big Data
The main issue about gathering of data, particularly in large volumes, is that they clearly implicate privacy concerns. It doesn’t help that many businesses aren’t transparent when they collect data, using misleading tactics or simply collating data without any permission. Consumers can’t be faulted for not trusting the act of data gathering, as the fact that it is usually hidden or done without their knowledge gives one reason to suspect that something is going on.
Respecting Your Subscribers and Gathering Data at the Same Time
It may sound so simple, but you will be surprised at how the answer has eluded many marketers for the long time – the secret to the perfect balance between gathering data and respecting the subscribers is simply asking for permission in the first place.
The most likely reason why marketers choose not to ask for permission is that they’re afraid that users will decline when given the option to opt out of getting tracked. It’s true that there are people who would prefer not to get tracked, it can’t be avoided. But the benefits of asking for permission make losing some potential subscribers worth it.
Think of it this way: the people who don’t want to be tracked but were tracked anyway, once they find out they’ve been tricked – they’re not going to buy from you, and might even flag you and report you to their ISP. Enough of this and an ISP may block all mails coming from you, preventing even people who were willing to be tracked from every receiving future mails.
On the other hand, being transparent about your tracking builds good will, and provides people who opted in with an idea on what they are sharing. In general, information that is freely given is usually more relevant and useful than information that has been coerced or deceptively taken without a person’s awareness or permission.
At the end of the day, what can be done – besides being upfront about collecting data – is to explain why you are collecting their information in the first place. It is more likely for people to give away their information if they know that it’s going towards providing a more customized, relevant, and personal experience when they receive mails, offers, and advertisements from you.