Most of today’s consumers are increasingly distrustful of brands using their data. Given the number of high-profile data breaches that have made recent headlines, affecting organisations as diverse as Yahoo, Marriott, Equifax and Facebook, this distrust is unsurprising.

Data security breaches damage business reputations and have resulted in some costly legal implications. Companies found to have put their customers’ data at risk face severe penalties that can impact their bottom line significantly. It absolutely pays for brands to take care of their customers’ information to avoid the costs associated with data breaches.

A key challenge is that not all consumers have the same levels of data consciousness. Therefore, in order to be successful, marketing strategies need to target different audiences on the data awareness spectrum.

These are the three most widely recognised groups:

  1. The unconcerned: These customers are not too worried about how their private information is used. They give their data to companies without a second thought and don’t worry about how or why it will be used. According to research from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), this group makes up 25% of the general population and can be found across many subscriber lists.
  2. The pragmatists: This group exchanges their data rather than gives it away. They want to know what the quid pro quo is before handing over an email address or mobile number. The DMA research says that 50% of consumers make up this group.
  3. The fundamentalists: These customers are vigilant about their data and amount to 25% of the population. They are hyper aware of how their information can be used and misused, so don’t part with it easily. They’ll only share their information if they absolutely have to.

So, in this age of increasing data consciousness, how do marketers reach the unconcerned and the pragmatists with equal success?

Here’s how to create campaigns to win over 75% of the population.

Keep it personal

Personalised campaigns are incredibly effective at garnering attention. Netflix, for example, pays fixed attention to everything its users watch, stop watching, and download to then make regular and very personal recommendations based on individual consumer behaviour. It’s a very transparent tactic that both shows users their tastes are being paid attention and reveals how much information the platform is collecting.

Nonetheless, things did get a bit controversial in December 2017 when the company posted a humorous tweet which revealed 53 people had watched ‘A Christmas Prince’ every day for 18 straight days. There was some outcry from people questioning the ‘creepiness’ of data collection and its use. Users no doubt know that in order to benefit from Netflix’s service, their behaviour is being monitored – but they don’t to be ‘outed’ publicly.

So, for personalisation to be successful with both the unconcerned and the pragmatists, brands need to keep it private and use the information they gather for one on one engagement. Take Abercrombie and Fitch for example, when users interact with the app, they receive awards which add up to personal discounts. These details aren’t shared with the world; it’s a private exchange between the customer and the brand.

Make it easy

To keep customers on the brand journey, marketers need to make the process easy and straightforward. The focus needs to be on maximising convenience and minimising friction to enable a seamless shopping or browsing experience. If any step along the journey feels clunky or complicated, the customer will feel less inclined to share their data.

A typically tricky process is the account login process, as customers often have to deal with a lot of friction. Pub retailer Greene King identified this problem and recently added social sign ins to remove friction from the customer journey. With one click, a customer can like, share, and comment on the brand’s content without any hassles. In turn, the brand can send and deliver content directly to the customer.

By making engagement easy, brands create a better experience for their customers. This encourages more engagement, which in turn allows the brand to collect more data and compile deeper insights into user behaviour.

Pay attention to preferences

Customers prefer to feel like they are in control of their brand journey. Of course, marketers are in charge of its design, guiding customers from one step to the next, but ultimately, customers want the eventual purchasing decision to be theirs alone – or at least, appear that way. Preference centres are an excellent way of keeping engagement hyper relevant, creating an encouraging rather than intrusive experience.

A good example is Thread, a clothing manufacturer that uses a preference centre to act as an online personal stylist. Customers are asked to share their favourite fashion styles, colours and fabrics – and then the preference centre pairs them up with a representative who will send through an occasional personal recommendation. This adds a personal touch that, while more or less automated, is still very relevant and helpful. Customers are therefore happy to move down the sales funnel because they still feel in charge of the process.

Modern marketing is really about hitting that sweet spot between consumer self-interest and brand objectives. In short, this mean creating a clear ‘value exchange’ between brand and customer. Data can help determine where that intersection is and how to maximise it conscientiously. This way you’ll not only win over the unconcerned and pragmatists – you might even convert a couple of fundamentalists.