A great way to get to know your customers better is through getting them to answer questions about themselves. We call this self-identified data, also referred as declared data. (Check out our article on different types of data: A simple guide to data types for marketing)
Yes, brands would love to have more and in-depth data on their customers and prospects but why should a consumer care? What would make a consumer choose to spend their time with you? And how can this be done at scale?
The answer passes through establishing the correct value exchange.
In traditional market research the means of exchange is monetary. Consumers invest their time answering survey questions and in return are compensated. This is feasable for a small sample size of users to make predictions about a larger mass but if you want to engage your entire customer base, you probably cannot pay each customer.
It is also possible to build non-monetary forms of mutually beneficial value exchange between brand and its customers. This is one of our main concentration areas at Poltio. Consumers tend to engage with experiences that provide a value which they perceive is worth while.
Consumers every day receive lots of propositions but react much better to simple ones. Formats that make the answer to the question "What's in it for me?" clear, enjoy higher response rates.
Here are a few strong non-monetary drivers:
Human beings are curious animals! Formats that trigger curiosity result in increased user attention.
Functional formats such as "Is your skin ready for the fall?" or "How healthy is your diet?" create curiosity amongst consumers of domain interest. When the context is right, consumers would be willing to answer a few questions to findout the result.
A similar situation can also be true for a simple poll that displays results after a user casts his/her vote. If you're into sports and see a poll related to a game you follow, asking "Was the referee's decision correct?" - you may answer Yes or No. You would probably do this because you want to share your opinion, but the greater motivation would be the urge to findout what others think.
Brands creating formats that trigger curiosity in their domain and in return provide valid information to satisfy that need, have the opportunity to connect with customers in a new and lasting way.
Internet is full of options and it's difficult to make a choice. While shopping for a product / service, or searching for content, most consumers would appreciate the option to receive personalized reccomendations.
While looking for a computer to buy, trying to select wine or searching for a new Netflix show, in return for a personalized reccomendation most consumers would be ready to answer a few questions. This is similar to receiving help from a sales representative while visiting a physical store. Sharing information about ourselves, preferences and needs, so that we can be presented with an accurate reccomendation.
Product finders are a great way to engage customers, learn more about them, their needs and an opportunity to create value.
Giving your customers a way to showcase their knowledge on a topic that they care about is a great way to boost engagement.
For a customer who's interested in cooking, the opportunity to test his/her knowledge on a "Do you know your sauces?" Quiz may be of interest.
You can also compliment quizzess with rewards to incentivize action. A specific discount that is only available for customers who reach a certain performance metric would also increase the perceived value of the offer.
In addition to strengthening a brand's domain expert positioning and the ability to educate in a fun way, quizzes also give a brand the opportunity to measure its customer base's knowledge level on specific areas.
Improving User Experience
Personalization improves the user experience especially in products and services that are frequently used. Most brands rely mainly on behavioral data while personalizing experiences. This is great but limited and many times can be misleading.
A great use case here is of Spotify. Spotify's populer Discover Weekly feature used to reccomend users songs based on their listening history and history of similar users. Spotify today also allows users to rate songs. Users are voluenteraly sharing information with Spotify about their likes and dislikes about songs and artists. A great example of user driven personalization.
When structured in the correct way, consumers would be willing to share constant input in order to improve the quality of the service they receive. Giving a brand the ability to enrich the already existing behavioral data it has with self identified data.
Contributing to a cause
Sometimes a value exchange can be through the satisfaction of contribution. Consumers would be willing to answer questions in order to contribute to something that they care about.
A survey asking the opinion of residents of a community about future projects, does not necessarily need a seperate compensation. Contributing to your community has a value as well.
An artist asking his/her fan base about the cover of a new album, not necessary needs to introduce a new reward for participation.
Brands also - if they exist - should not be shy to ask for input on topics that are of value to their customer base.
If the value exchange is non-monetary, there is also a side benefit in terms of data quality. Users themselves choose to engage with these formats or not. But if they do... There is no movation to lie as they're not being compensated to take these experiences. While shopping for a computer on an e-commerce site, you may not engage with a "computer finder" but if you do, the reason is because you want to receive an accurate reccomendation and therefore you'd most probably give accurate answers to the questions.
Engaging your customers, providing value and in return getting to know them and their needs better can be a game changer for your business. The biggest challenge is to find the correct value exchange. Find the ideal exchange of value for your business, use the necessary tools and you'll end up having an on-going engagement model where your customers willingly self-identify, in return for a better experience. We call this self identification of customer segments.