Data for SMBs : Back to Basics

Mind Your Manners: Privacy Issues

There is a public backlash related to anything concerning consumer identifying info, from cookies to filling out forms.  This will impact all of advertising- from display to planning marketing strategy.

Privacy and Cookies are a massive issue that will affect the ability of marketers to target consumers and targets.  The critical issue are opt-in rules and respecting visitors whom are casually passing by a website versus engaged visitors who have demonstrated active interest in a subject.

This is actually lending to the rise of social media and networking campaigns for small business owners since users can opt-in to what material they wish to receive and marketers can target consumers based on their stated preferences.  The fact is simple, active users who have shown interest in a subject are more then willing to receive commercial information and should be priority targets for brand messages.

Get Back to Basics: Data Logic

A data driven campaign needs to incorporate a number of critical factors:

Opt-in or willingness of a consumer to receive the information

Timing of when a consumer is ready to receive the information – at work, at home, etc.

The accuracy of data collected. For example, its well know that Facebook users lie about their age since you need to be a minimum of 13 to get on the site. However, 8 year olds to 12 olds enter a different year date for their age.  Therefore data sourced from one site can often be inaccurate unless it is cross referenced.

There are two types of campaigns;

Branding – Measurement is often in views and awareness. This is often accomplished by surveying the target customer with questions like “how did you hear about us” or “when you think of family car, which cars do you think of”. A critical measure for evaluating good placements is “time on site”. Branding campaigns should be tied to engaged users where time on site is a minimum of 5 minutes.

Direct Response – Lead generation campaigns are measured by either clicks, downloads, lead forms completed, free trials, or conversions to sales.  Conversions are easily measured by placing code in a “thank you” area which is what visitors see post purchase or post lead form, download etc. Conversions are always the best way to measure direct response campaigns.

Know Your Industry

The future for the data industry is very strong but it will need to be balanced to respect both the consumers and the marketers.You will see a trend towards greater data accuracy and cross verification to ensure that accuracy. There will be greater respect for privacy and opt-in rules. Marketers will participate in websites with engaged users or target customers which bodes well for niche social network sites.

Use Your Head

Marketers who buy data and target their clients without awareness of a consumer’s willingness to view their advertisement can find themselves seen as a telemarketer who interrupts a family dinner – their client will become turned off. Take the time to create a digital strategy that uses the best tools available, within the boundaries of what makes sense for your company and your customers.

Russell Rothstein is CEO of Sales Spider, a social networking platform for SMBs.