Women Will Swap Personal Information for Personal Attention

Discussion
May 03, 2010

By Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire

Some of the 1,800 women participating in a survey by Q Interactive, an Internet marketing firm, may have taken to heart the catch-phrase from a commercial that’s frequently heard on British television – albeit for an American product usually fronted by an American actress – “Because you’re worth it.”

According to the survey, 65 percent of the participants were delighted at receiving targeted online ads, exclaiming “Cool! How did they know I wanted this?” Of those surveyed, 88 percent “wish brands they trust sent them more tailored offers.”

But what they particularly appreciated was receiving gifts to show they are appreciated. To build an online relationship with women, brands need to “give me something” according to 58 percent of women; “get to know me better first” for over 19 percent; and “tell me something valuable” for over 17 percent.

Other findings form the survey:

  • Over 53 percent of women believe they have “relationships” with sites and brands they often use online.
  • Over 37 percent consider brands they encounter online to be “Good Partners” (send relevant ads women need and use); over 19 percent consider brands they encounter online to be “Straight Shooters” (provide relevant and straightforward information and deals).

Q Interactive’s vice president of marketing and corporate communications, Emily Girolamo, said in a statement, “This report debunks a lot of prior thinking that consumers may fear or question targeted advertising. Women, who are so entrenched online, are creating new expectations of brands, agencies and marketers. They are past any fear or suspicion when they get a targeted ad online — and now just expect, want and seek out brands online with meaning for their busy lives.”

Discussion questions: How open are women to targeted online ads? Are targeted ads more permissible online than other advertising mediums? Do you suspect most women will require marketers to “give me something” before welcoming targeted ads?

[Author commentary] Wondering how brands know what they want may be just a bit disingenuous, especially for consumers who say they appreciate being given things for free. Do they really think that their favorite brands don’t keep track of what they send out? They may or may not be able to track response in terms of purchases but consumers who actively “build relationships” are doing it with their eyes closed if they think those brands aren’t learning everything they can from the interaction. This doesn’t do anything at all for perceptions of women’s intelligence.

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9 Comments on "Women Will Swap Personal Information for Personal Attention"


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Chuck Palmer
Guest
11 years 14 days ago

I’m not convinced that women (or men for that matter) differentiate their acceptance of online vs. other media messages as much as, say, an interactive agency might think. (Of course, that 1800 subject sample was probably skewed toward heavy internet users.)

The quid pro quo of “giving something” is simply a barrier to entry for this level of engagement. We need to not only get their attention, but the product/service must meet or exceed expectations AND if we want to maintain an ongoing relationship, it needs to be compelling and relevant over time.

Studies have shown that multi-faceted programs of engagement work best–tailor direct communication through a variety of channels and perhaps let your customer choose which way to engage your brand. That deepens the relationship even further.

Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
11 years 14 days ago

Encouraging someone to make a purchase is a little like getting them to tell you something during an interrogation. Interrogators understand the benefit of building a rapport with the subject. The Internet offers a great opportunity to build a rapport with consumers. The question here is whether retailers are missing the boat by letting consumers build a relationship directly with brand manufacturers?

It really seems that the retailer should be pushing their role as a consumer advocate, building a relationship with the consumer that is built around extended services that include robust product catalogs, online ordering and delivery, consumer advocacy, and a simple return process.

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
11 years 14 days ago

I won’t go as far as Bill Bittner does in saying that selling is akin to an interrogation, but it is all a bit troubling. The promise of targeted marketing is offers that are customized to each shopper’s wants and needs.

But, the clear downside is the possible release of transaction data, preferences, etc. which we know has already happened multiple times. So, the shopper has to make the decision as to whether they want to give away their privacy in return for customized offers.

Most shoppers are in such a hurry that they’ll click “ok” without reading the privacy agreements and/or realizing that “accidents happen” as well.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
11 years 14 days ago

Target marketing is not something new. Advertisers do it now with the ads put on television during certain programming that appeals to certain age groups and genders. The Super Bowl and Oprah are good examples.

I am not opposed to it as long as the information received has future value and is not used to bombard the recipient with unwanted spam.

My question then becomes, did the respondent sign up to learn more about the particular company’s offering or to get the free gift? As I write this I am taken back a few hours this morning when I signed up to receive someone’s blog. Did I sign up to get the blog or the free gift?

Mark Johnson
Guest
Mark Johnson
11 years 14 days ago

The problem with the targeted ads online is the quantity and although they may be targeted, the “noise” factor is huge.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
11 years 14 days ago

This is an interesting many-faceted subject and sets one’s mind to wandering. After reading the wisdom expressed in the comments thus far, which seem to well-cover the three questions posed, I am driven into a less serious whimsy–which I apologize for in advance–and wonder how other online experts such as Tiger Woods would answer these “Swap Personal Information for Personal Attention” questions.

Phil Rubin
Guest
11 years 14 days ago

There is absolutely a quid pro quo when it comes to gleaning data from customers (or prospects)–whether women or men. Customers are happy to provide data, within reason, as long as brands are willing and able to make intelligent use of those data. Unfortunately for way too many shoppers, the “Wow, how did they know I wanted this!?!” is still the exception rather than the rule. Thus relevance is often a gift when it comes to messaging and especially relationship marketing. This can’t generally be done with ads.

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
11 years 13 days ago

I think what we’re all searching for are filters to distill what’s relevant to us. The beauty of online is that it comes complete with a lot of built-in filters that a newspaper or a radio doesn’t have. We can manipulate the feed of information we’re getting and from whom.

Secondly, I’m a big supporter of concepts like the “Open Graph”–Facebook’s master plan to connect the social dots of a consumers life to paint a clear picture of their preferences and dislikes. I’m a fan of this idea because I think it’s a huge step toward giving us the relevance we seek. As we get more personal, tailored value from the media and offers put in front of us, we’ll all be more apt to share information with businesses.

Peter Oxley
Guest
Peter Oxley
10 years 10 months ago

There are two key findings that cannot be taken out of context in the above referenced survey in order for the findings to be true. Firstly, a brand must be trusted; and secondly, there must be an ongoing relationship in order for the recipient (and I believe this to be gender neutral) to welcome targeted offers.

Regardless of the channel (in-store, online, direct mail), today’s consumers expect marketers to intelligently and thoughtfully use data to present relevant and timely offers. Under the umbrella of a well executed relationship marketing strategy, these offers will be welcomed since the brand has provided some “return” to the customer for the data that they have permitted to be shared.

Targeted, location-based offers through web-enabled devices will be the next frontier that will test consumer willingness to be targeted while they shop in the real world. Early empirical results are showing conversion rates that are an order of magnitude higher than traditional channels.

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