'Controls in consumers’ hands are key to effective data collection'

The panel deliberated on the best practices of data harvesting and how building trust in data collection is important for creating meaningful conversations with consumers

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Nov 15, 2021 8:37 AM  | 4 min read
Digital40Under40 Summit

The panel at e4m Digital 40 Under 40 deliberated on the best practices of data harvesting, and how building trust in data collection is important for creating meaningful conversations with consumers and having optimum RoI from digital campaigns. Companies can derive the best value from the customer data points by being less invasive and more self-regulated, said the panel on Data privacy Versus Data collection at the Digital40Under40 event organised by exchange4media.

The participants included Gurjot Shah Singh, Executive Vice President at Dentsu Webchutny, Nishith Srivastava, Chief enabler at Cuberoot Technologies, and Kanika Mittal, Sales and Marketing leader at Reebok. The panel was moderated by. Gaurav Pahwa, Vice President, Sales at V-Serve. “Companies need to tell customers upfront where the data will be used. The customer must know how the data is getting collected and where it will be used. We need to move to consent-based marketing”, said Executive Vice President at Dentsu Webchutny.

FMCG companies, eCommerce platforms, banking and finance, hospitality, health, and many others seek data to derive consumer insights to digital marketing campaigns. The data gathered may be personal information like gender, screen name, age, language, email address, phone number, the city of residence, area of residence, professional history, friends, and much more. The psychographic data collated from social media posts are a goldmine for businesses that are always on the lookout for opportunities to engage with customers and improve brand recall.

Digital marketers collate data directly or indirectly on their own or procure from third parties. For a high brand recall and to stay relevant in the extremely competitive digital landscape, businesses spend a lot of effort and money to gather data. Consumers’ trust and confidence are key to successful data harvesting and its use for useful insights. “Controls should primarily lie be with consumers. Marketers should not deem that they are the owners of the consumer data. Policy and regulation should give controls to consumers, how their data is used. We can expect this to happen in India in a year or two, said Nishith Srivastava of Cuberoot Technologies.

To build trust among consumers, it is important that marketers are transparent in their approach to data harvesting, said Mittal. “Generally consumer’s consent is sought only at the last stage, that way the consumer is left cornered. The consumer’s consent should be sought right at the beginning” she added.

Not following a transparent approach can result in disruption in the system. It is equally important to ensure that all the data companies are encrypted and all the employees and data handlers are sensitized. “Internal checks in data handling, having the right partner in managing customer data privacy is important, said Gaurav Pahwa, Vice President, Sales at V-Serve.

India has adequate IT regulations and the ecosystem continues to evolve to meet the challenges that businesses, consumers, or society faces. The regulator has a key role in not only ensuring that businesses comply with regulations but in making consumers aware. “We have IT Act and other regulations. We also need self-regulation, and ethically should give control to consumers. As long as the consumer is dealt with transparently, they will understand”, said Srivastava.

Companies who want to have a meaningful conversation and stay relevant need to share stories with a sense of balance. The pandemic has brought the focus on that balance that companies need to practice across the touchpoints with consumers. “The pandemic has brought in awareness and sensibility among marketers. With a sheer plethora of conversations happening digitally, the sense of responsibility is here to stay, added Mittal.

The panel highlighted not only the importance of transparency in data collection, even the need for ethical behavior how it is used by a marketer, and freedom for consumers to be able to port their data as per their interests.

The participants emphasized that there may be learning from different campaigns, but marketers should not migrate data of one brand for the marketing of the other brand with similar objectives. A data protection officer and systems in place will ensure best data practices and compliance resulting in the best customer as well as marketing experience.

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