Ethical By Design – Marketing in the Age of Personalization and Privacy

Over the past few years, marketing has experienced a shift. As businesses moved into digital channels, and with the emergence of social media platforms, they were given the opportunity to communicate with customers on an individual level. Although personalized marketing has allowed businesses to understand their customers individually, how ethical is it for businesses to use affinity data to learn more about their consumers?

Momentum always follows money and motivation. In 2017, over $15B had been invested in AI-focused startups. As of this year, that amount has been surpassed and is forecasted to be over $58B by 2021. Industry analysts believe AI-enabled businesses will create over $2.1T worth of business value and generate over 2.3M new jobs while eliminating 1.8M existing jobs. Technology has always been the core of our economic growth, where disruption and business value are constantly created and recreated in a virtuous cycle.

Creating business value is defined by new revenue, new markets, new customer experiences, and cost reductions. Although the needs of the consumer are the main focus, their personal values seem to fade into the back as companies digitally transform. How do we unlock business value that also serves the beliefs of the greater good? Creating this balance can be challenging.

AI-enabled experience economies, for example, face this challenge. However, these technologies come with self-learning techniques, so they are able to seamlessly gather and sift through information on individuals and their interests. Although this data provides businesses with the ability to understand and persuade consumers on a personal level, without human judgment and intervention things can go awry. We will need a moral and ethical playbook for the practice of personalization.

Data is our frenemy. It’s our fuel. It’s also the basis of the Information Age.

Consider Facebook, Google, and WhatsApp’s business models. We don’t value them simply because they’re free. We value them because they adapt to our needs and values. These platforms allow us to connect with our external environment by adapting to our behaviors, and subsequently suggesting where we should go, who we should meet, and what we should do all day, every day.. It is free because businesses realize, in the long run, that having and subsequently monetizing your data is much more valuable than having you pay for their services.

Although these platforms make daily life easier, we are collectively subsidizing our personal data for access to free browsers, searches, ratings, and reviews. Digital social platforms, in some cases, have been able to manipulate this data to influence our way of thinking and being instead of serving us what we have consented to. This helps businesses understand your values and provide you with items that may be of high value to you. Data, in that sense, helps businesses and users cut through the digital noise, and provides us with an experience that feels more gratifying and focused. Instead of having to enter our information constantly, or searching for related items, we are given recommendations that are just a click away.

Well, Data is still your frenemy. But, so is Personalization.

So that begs a few questions: Where are our ethical boundaries in our data usage? What are the gray areas? Who gets to store, share, secure, and govern our data? Who decides? It is our responsibility to be vigilant and to remain aware of how and where our data is being used.

Ethics isn’t a pile of red tape that we have to maneuver around in order to forge connections. Ethics is the system upon which our businesses and technological systems should be designed-in.

In the conquest for privacy, personalization takes a hit.

In the quest for personalization, individual freedoms take a hit.

So what does ethical marketing look like? That will be the focus of our series on ethical marketing and personalization. Why? Because it’s personal.

Omnichannel Marketing Strategies in Luxury Marketing

omnichannel luxury marketing

Ever wonder how to retain your luxury customer? Today’s customer can jump from a retail environment to a digital one within a given day. How do you ensure that you engage them on every channel?

Omnichannel marketing strategies in luxury marketing offer a distinct way of interacting with your customers. It’s more personalized and dynamic.

Omnichannel marketing can be defined as a multichannel sales approach that provides your customers with a fully integrated shopping experience. They may be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by phone, or in a brick-and-mortar store. Omnichannel marketing strategies for luxury brands utilize all of those channels, but in a way, that best fits your customers’ needs.

The goal is to give your customers a seamless experience from channel to channel.

How Do Your Customers Prefer to Interact with You?

How do your customers like to shop for your product or service? What is the process they usually follow before they decide to buy from you? Do they use a desktop computer? A smartphone? A tablet? Or do they go to an actual, physical location? And how many times during the day do they switch between those devices?

Here are the more typical channels used in omnichannel strategies in luxury marketing:

  1. Smartphone: Assume your customers will use their smartphones as part of their buying experience.
  2. Email: Just about everybody uses email these days, even grandma. It’s an important element in omnichannel luxury marketing.
  3. Social media: Social media can be used to connect with customers at home or work and on multiple devices.
  4. In-person contact: Your customers can get immediate answers to their questions in person, along with your input on product and service options.
  5. Website: If you’re in business, you need a website. Period. It’s a primary channel of customer contact.
  6. Print: There are still people who like print media. More so, you can use a printed business card or catalog to encourage website or store visits.

Omnichannel luxury marketing reaches your customers in the way they prefer to interact with your business. They may use one channel or switch between them throughout the day. But you need to give them those choices.

Multichannel Marketing vs. Omnichannel Strategies

While omnichannel marketing uses multiple channels, multichannel marketing may not be omnichannel.

“Most businesses invest in multichannel marketing,” writes Aaron Agius in a HubSpot article. “They have a website, blog, Facebook, and also Twitter. While they use each of these platforms to engage and connect with customers, in most cases, the customer still lacks a seamless experience and consistent messaging across each of these channels. You can have amazing mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns, and a well-designed website. But if they don’t work together, it’s not omnichannel luxury marketing.”

Omnichannel marketing uses the same channels, but in a way, that best fits your customer’s personal needs. Is your customer planning on visiting your physical store? Shopping on your website? Calling and ordering by phone? Interacting through a mobile app? Omnichannel luxury marketing is done in a way that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience, regardless of which channel a customer chooses.

In the past, a retailer might provide a desktop experience, a mobile experience, and also a tablet experience. Now they must create an omnichannel experience that customers can use whenever they want.

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Start by Targeting Your Optimum Luxury Market Customer

The more channels you utilize for marketing, the more likely it is your customers will find you. So having multiple channels does improve your marketing efforts. However, multichannel marketing alone does not ensure people are actually going to do business with you. It only gives you access to a bigger audience.

Omnichannel marketing can also help you get the most out of every channel. Omnichannel luxury marketing is a move towards more personalized communication with your consumers. This includes determining the best channels of communication to reach them.

Regardless of strategy, good marketing programs begin with sound data. You start by targeting the people who fit your customer profile. Those are the buyers with a much higher potential or propensity to purchase your product or service.

“Through data science and our database, we identify the group of individuals that we want to go after.“ said Patrick Bischoff, president of the Commercial Markets Group at WealthEngine. “At WealthEngine, we believe that our clients are best served by building a ‘cocoon of information’ around an identified individual. We provide this information cocoon for them.”

Omnichannel Luxury Marketing Is Personalized Luxury Marketing

When you’re trying to reach wealthy customers, you need to know what resonates with them.

“Obviously, we’re exposed to many, many forms of media these days,” said Bischoff. “It’s not simply the one-page ad in the luxury magazine or the TV ad for a certain brand. An omnichannel strategy can start with a direct mail message.

“At the same time, you already know the individual’s email address. Somebody who receives a direct mail piece then receives emails at a particular cadence. You’re trying to stay at the forefront of an individual throughout the whole process.”

That’s why it’s important that each part of your consumer’s experience is consistent. An item placed in a shopping cart through a mobile device should still be there when your customer accesses the cart on their desktop computer.

Omnichannel Luxury Marketing ROI

Luxury marketers should also have a strategy for a cohesive experience across all appropriate platforms to reach their target customers. Such a strategy will give your customers the feeling of that all-important “personalized service.” Also, companies that successfully implement omnichannel luxury marketing have an advantage over their competitors.

These interesting statistics regarding omnichannel marketing results were cited in a GetCRM article:

  • 90% of customers expect consistent interaction across various channels.

  • 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless buying experience.

  • Businesses utilizing omnichannel marketing strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates than businesses that don’t.

  • Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue and a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact.

Yet omnichannel luxury marketing encompasses more than simply providing seamless, multiple channels of customer contact. You have to offer your customer quality contact with your business. Your customer service must be up to par, whether by phone or through an online chat. Otherwise, a new, interactive website or colorful brochure won’t have much value.

All channels of a luxury marketing strategy must work together to provide today’s luxury consumer with their ideal buying experience.

WealthEngine data can help you determine how to best reach your target luxury consumer. Fill the form on the right and a rep will contact you very soon.

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