big data
We’re experiencing a time when brands need to adjust to consumer needs constantly. And if your business has the resources to support decisions and expenses, you stand to gain a competitive edge.
Apart from forecasting demands and allocating resources, a business must figure out the best large-scale data collection means. Furthermore, they need to respond to these needs effectively.
We highlight some trends below from our research.

Slow Adoption of Data Collection Automation
However, only a few firms have abandoned manual data collection systems and embraced modern automatic ones. So most companies cannot respond to consumers’ changing needs effectively. According to Forrester’s report “Anticipatory Experiences: The Challenges,” only 33% of those interviewed anticipated consumer needs, and just 9% of the others revealed that they updated all the data automatically in tailored profiles.
The report further revealed that only 58% of those participants who anticipated buyers’ demands have comprehensive customer profiles. And 79% collect all data required to laser-target and streamline buyer’s journey.
Forrester’s data shows that lack of automation plus too many groups and silos within a company leads to different versions of profiles and events. So understanding and targeting consumers becomes a hard nut to crack.

Wary Customers
Brands also find it challenging to gather customers’ data without making them shy away. Roll out a hasty data collection approach, and you’ll see customers getting wary. So brands have to employ a slow romance method to build and cement trust.

But let’s face it- certain things are beyond your control. Research by General Global Assistance found out that 40% of consumers tend to trust big-box brands with their information. Only 36% and 22% trust e-retailers and small businesses, respectively. About two-thirds of consumers revealed that they were wary of potential data breaches in the course of the holiday season.

Incomplete Puzzle in Cyber Security
Forrester believes that most retailers don’t have complete solutions to security breaches. It will take more years to fill in most or all pieces of this puzzle.
Brands need to create or purchase data and technology. Obtaining the first-party data and cementing consumer trust may take years. But a journey of a thousand miles starts with a step. So begin as early as today.

It’s Time to Make Your Data Collection worth Your Customers’ While
Yes, consumers may be unwilling to share all of their information. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot convince them to provide some of it. According to a Deloitte study, 79% of the participants were willing to provide certain information if companies proved they could offer value in return. Customers will reward your business for delivering personalized experiences, and personal data allows you to do so.

Jeff Tanner, Baylor University’s ‘Business Collaboratory’ director, says that brands need to use collected data to know each client and treat them individually. They should avoid clumping prospective and existing customers into a general group and bombarding them with emails. That way, you can “craft offers that increase purchase rates at higher margins while also delivering better customer value since they’re getting what they’re looking for,” said Jeff Tanner.

Overall, there are enormous competitive advantages for retailers who understand and effectively utilize customers data. Just like it takes time effort and money to get a customer to trust you with their purchases, it is the same to get them to provide and trust you with their data.

Tim Shelton (Senior Partner) with E. Juma (Staff researcher)