Consumer behavior is experiencing a bit of a renaissance when it comes to making major purchase decisions. It turns out, people actually want to speak with representatives from a brand before they spend lots of money with them.
The idea is hardly a new one, although it sure does seem to go against today’s convention where throwing technology at a problem tends to be the default solution for everything. But when it comes to configuring a new vehicle or guiding a retirement investment strategy or understanding how to set up a web of smart “anythings” in one’s home, even the best technology has its limits, and that helps explain why recent studies suggest people (yes, Millennials and Gen Z included) want to buy the “old-fashioned way”—by talking on the phone or in person with a fellow human. Our great-grandparents would be so proud of us!
As you can imagine, this trend for craving first-party data (that is, data from consumers that is shared directly with the organization) bodes extremely well for experiential marketers in a number of ways:
• Solid Evidence For Ongoing Event Investment: If consumers want to talk, what better platform is there for first person, in person engagement other than targeted, live events? Experiential is by far the most efficient marketing channel for striking up conversations, offering product trials, and letting consumers live your brand.
• HUGE: Almost no risk of violating consumer privacy laws: Assuming your data capture supplier offers a secure platform that is compliant with GDPR and CCPA, first-party data (such as a conversation) is yours to capture and use. Unless an organization mishandles the data, there is almost a zero chance that the data has been compromised. (In contrast, second- and third-party data sources, which are often purchased to more quickly facilitate digital targeting or email campaigns, have much greater risks of containing data that stems from a breach.)*
• Get Data Specific to Your Mission: While buying second- and third-party data might seem like a time saver, they are both a few steps removed from your brand. First-party data is the clear choice of marketers for personalizing content, predicting patterns, and holistically profiling your audience. In other words, first-party data enables the kinds of consumer insights that, when shared with an organization, makes marketers look like super stars because of its breadth and depth. (Also, who knows how old and accurate that second- and third-party data is, anyway!)
It’s worth mentioning that “conversations” don’t always need to be spoken. A well-designed survey that captures key data points can be just as useful as a chat, and it still counts as valuable first-party data.
Given the easy compliance with privacy laws and its incredibly specific nature, we have no doubt that the use of first-party data will accelerate throughout 2020, and we look forward to helping our clients build experiential strategies that exploit this amazing data source!
* This is not legal advice. You should consult with your attorney for all matters concerning how you handle consumer data and its compliance with privacy laws.