Loyalty programs, rife with first-party data, are seemingly a salve to the challenges posed by the forces of data deprecation. But even loyalty marketers struggle to effectively collect and use data. Whether it be a lack of respect for customer privacy, data sets saturated with useless information, or an inability to make customer insights actionable, loyalty marketers experience all kinds of data roadblocks on their road to customer understanding. And as marketers seek to deliver relevant and personalized experiences, that lack of customer understanding makes their efforts that much more difficult. In Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2022, B2C marketing decision-makers listed personalizing communication, experiences, and interactions among their top marketing execution challenges.
While there’s no silver bullet to the many data challenges today’s marketers face, zero-party data (ZPD) can help. ZPD is information that a customer proactively shares with a brand, typically in exchange for some value. Forrester has evangelized the benefits of ZPD to B2C marketers’ data strategy for quite some time, and we’re excited to share new research outlining the unique benefits of ZPD to loyalty marketers. Brands with a loyalty program are particularly well positioned to collect and use ZPD, as they have deeper relationships with customers who are willing to volunteer information about themselves. As loyalty marketers think beyond transactions and explore ways to enrich their understanding of members, they can use ZPD to:
- Build richer customer profiles. The best customer profile is not one adorned with vast amounts of customer data but one that contains quality, actionable data. Data such as purchase intent (“I’m going to make a purchase in two months”) or buyer persona (“I’m shopping for a friend”) are powerful tools for segmenting customers.
- Drive sales. With the right information, marketers can seamlessly guide customers and prospects to relevant products and services. ZPD microexperiences, such as product recommendation quizzes, can get your customers there faster.
- Accelerate emotional understanding. Customer loyalty is more than a rote exchange of points and rewards but rather an emotional connection between a customer and their chosen brand. Loyalty marketers can leverage ZPD to capture emotional information, like sentiment, to gauge how a customer feels about a brand.
- Respond to customer feedback. Customers, especially loyal customers, want to feel heard by the brands they buy from. Marketers can use ZPD to collect feedback from their most loyal customers to show customers that they value their perspective on everything from product to customer experience.