How to collect customer data ethically

Collecting consumer data has become one of the most contentious discussions for marketers since the introduction of the Personal Information Protection Act (POPI), says Vusi Khosa, design manager of the experience at Hellocomputer. Khosa adds that since then, marketers and data analysts have had to seek out and follow ethical data sourcing practices.

Collecting and using consumer data has become increasingly important to many businesses looking to create value.

However, the introduction of the POPI Act, which protects consumers from the unethical collection and use of their personal data, was a leap forward for the industry and can still be seen as daunting by consumers. companies looking to obtain consumer data.

For some time now, data has been considered a scarce commodity, expected to reach an astonishing market value of US$280 billion by 2025. And ethical data sourcing, done right, can be of great value to businesses because it equips them with valuable information that can improve products and services.

Plus, it can help businesses and marketers meet or even exceed customer expectations, which helps create products that consumers love.

With this in mind, there are three types of data:

  1. raw data
  2. aggregated data, and
  3. data from machine learning (ML).

Raw data is all data in the form of transactional data intended for internal use. Aggregated data is used to create dashboards to gain insights or reports for decision making. ML data can be used to improve the performance of software applications to become more accurate in predicting outcomes.

An example of machine learning is the use of a recommendation engine that powers a platform’s newsfeed where if a user interacts with the content, the recommendation engine will show more content of a similar nature .

In terms of consumer data collection, transparency is essential because it gives the data collector the responsibility to describe the reasons for collecting the data, how it will be used and why it is collected. Openness and honesty are essential.

Data collection is necessary for the success of every business and can benefit both the business and its consumers, but it must be sourced ethically.

There are many ways to collect consumer data, and below are two methods that help marketers collect data in a way that isn’t intrusive – which can be a win-win for brands. and consumers.

1. Investigations
Create customer polls/surveys to ask consumers for their opinion on how to improve the brand’s services or products.

It’s always a great way to reward customers for taking surveys, and customers can be more willing to share their thoughts and data.

Discounts for consumer purchases are a good way to enable opt-in to collect data. For service businesses, a free consultation is an example of a discount.

Brands can get creative with rewards because giveaways are loved by consumers. This method may be free for cash-strapped businesses; thus, using free platforms such as Google Forms and other free online survey tools can be a good strategy.

2. A pager or email
A one-pager or e-mailer is the recommended way to explore.

From this method, companies can have more than 10 insights that you can use to collect data. Survey can still be part of lead generation. One can create a pager to use to run a contest, an interactive quiz, or share success secrets from thought leaders and many more. Consumers can be rewarded with e-books and white papers.

The most important part is making sure consumers fill out a short form before they can download the white paper or e-book.

The advantage of the one-pager is that it can be shared via a link with consumers via:

  • social media
  • E-mail
  • instant messaging apps, or
  • any other means of communication.

Email, on the other hand, requires an existing database to send that email.

Data can be collected ethically without infringing on consumer rights. According to a survey, less than 40% of companies manage data as a business asset. Data is the new commodity: if you’re not currently collecting data when you interact with your consumer, you’re leaving money on the table.

Going back to data collection 101, the more information there is about customers, the better brands can understand their interests, wants, and needs — and that will inform better decisions when creating products.

Data-informed products can be a powerful way to meet user needs. It’s always good to have internal data; However, if data is purchased from a vendor, the best practice is to source structured data from a reputable company that collects data ethically.

Increasing transparency and communication with customers is the only way to navigate today’s regulatory landscape. Whichever method brands and organizations choose to acquire data, they need to determine what information is needed, where to collect it, and how much data they want.

Always seek to collect high-quality data to help you transform your business and make better decisions.

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