Callcredit Blog

Is your marketing relevant or intrusive?

Consumer Marketing Data Digital Services


Marketing and advertising domains have undergone successive revolutions over the last few years as they increasingly draw on consumer co-generated data – digital exhaust, the lifeblood of the digital economy – to make offers more relevant.  But when does relevance become intrusion?  Customers have more options to block unwanted advertisers now and some brands are responding to this by looking for more intrusive ways of getting their message across which only serves to make the problem worse.

Maybe anonymous or ‘pseudonymous’ data is ok as it does not include personally identifiable information – PII.  But as links are becoming easier to make with ‘real world’ or ‘offline’ data are there red lines not worth crossing?

The media recently picked up on plans in the UK to use facial recognition techniques to select video adverts relevant to the demographic of queuing retail customers.  Arguably this is just an example of pseudonymous data driving advertising, yet it caused quite a furore.  At the other end of the spectrum, Facebook recently announced that they are considering tracking users’ cursor movements eg, how long they hold their cursor over any particular onscreen feature.  This data could be added to its already vast data analytics warehouse (300 petabytes of information – now, that’s big data) to help target advertising.  Facebook would not be the first website to do this but what makes it interesting is the network’s reach (24 million UK visitors per day) and depth of personal information already held.

Customer resistance to tracking is growing but at the same time, people know that it is required to offer a convenient, customised and ultimately more interesting experience.  The Reciprocity of Value Equation is understood in the context of data privacy.  In fact, they will actively opt in to sharing information in exchange for personalised offers.

Empowered customers demand relevant, timely content.  The quality and relevance of this content dictates how quickly consumers move along the path to purchase.  We know the sales funnel is not linear – consumers enter anywhere and the brand must be ready with content – highlighted products, reviews or indeed promoted price points – which is relevant for those individuals.

Obvious personalisation can be powerful but it must be clear to the consumer how the brand might have sourced the data to drive it, eg being presented with the opportunity opting in to third party comms is today an accepted part of the insurance quotation or credit application processes.

Using PII to select one of a few standard messages to a consumer is more about segmentation than personalisation so this tends to be seen at the relevant but not intrusive quadrant.

Retargeting is usually relevant as it is based on specific browsing behaviours but may be seen by some consumers as intrusive if the campaign parameters have not been carefully configured, eg frequency caps.

Geo location targeting is still relatively new in the UK and so may well be seen as intrusive by some, especially if it is being used to push out messages in real time.  On the other hand, being able to identify habitual locations over time may be more acceptable especially when combined with other data to enhance what is being offered to the customer.  This type of application can drive relevance but given the size of catchment areas currently available, this may be hard to achieve.

On the other hand, for pull or inbound marketing, it is the customer who is signals the moment that matters.  Interacting with a consumer at this point drives relevance especially if the service provider has pre scored choices/offers lined up for those identified browsers.  Marketers can work out the best message for that specific moment by adding information about how that person is browsing, where they are etc.  And that message may be very different to the one served just moments before that interaction, eg as a result of the content they have requested or a piece of data they have just provided such as a new vehicle make/model.  Maybe it’s also because consumers tend to have greater trust in ‘self selected digital pull content’ than ‘digital push content’.  Of course, few brands can rely solely on pull – it’s about getting a balance between the two.

Add audience analytics to your website so you can profile anonymous browsers that may be visiting for the first time or have not yet logged back in.  There are now tools available which allow this profiling with ‘real world data’ to drive on site conditional content in real time via API link to content management systems.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *