Too Much Information?

Post written by Kim Chapman

The other day, I received a postcard from my insurance company promoting coverage for dependents up to the age of 26, and/or for returning military dependents.  The problem is that I am a 29 year old who has never been in the military.  The scenario got me thinking about how important it is to be able to utilize customer information for any given campaign.  If my correct information would have been utilized, I may have received a relevant promotion that I could take advantage of.

In order to target the right audience, information has to be available. Most businesses obtain customer information through surveys or questionnaires. But as we know, some people (maybe you) are hesitant to give out too much information and this is where the problem arises.  Sometimes providing little or no information may not be in the best interest of the customer if it gets in the way of marketers sending them relevant, targeted promotions that would help them save money.

If you trust a company, and utilize them on a regular basis for a good or service, I would argue that you should provide them with as much information as possible about yourself (should they ask for it).

What may seem like an invasion of privacy is really a marketer trying to tailor your marketing communications so that you get exactly what you want.  If my favorite shoe store wants to know my shoe size, they can then send me emails whenever they have an overstock of size 9 shoes on sale.  How awesome is that!

But my opinions will not change the facts: For every additional field of data a marketer asks for, they lose 6% of sign ups (courtesy of presentation at DMA2010).  With that said, it is very important that a marketer is very careful when trying to collect customer information.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Be less aggressive when gathering information from prospects. Until a customer knows and trusts you, they will rightly be suspicious (as with any relationship)
  • An older, more “conservative” demographic may be less willing to provide information about themselves than an audience of young adults who grew up in the age of facebook and twitter.  So consider your audience.
  • If it’s not obvious, let your customer know why you are asking for a certain piece of information, and explain the benefits of them providing this information (They will get more localized offers if they provide their address)
  • Make sure you use the information you are asking for.  (Don’t ask for someone’s birthday, and then not do anything with it.)

What do you think about marketers asking for information from customers?  Are you leery to provide TMI (too much information)?