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Many consumers are probably familiar with the term first-party data, but have no idea what it means. While not a new concept by any means, first-party data, which refers to the information a company collects directly from customers, has taken on new meaning in the Digital Age.

In fact, thanks to modern digital touchpoint strategies, businesses can now make the most of today’s Digital Age to expand their reach across generations. Such strategies recognize the significant differences in how different age groups engage with companies. For instance, 66% of Gen Z shoppers are more likely to shop both online and in-store, as compared to only 37% of Baby Boomers.

Taking advantage of key digital touchpoints like this is crucial for your business to succeed. Here are a few strategies you might find worthwhile.

Insight-Driven Social Media Activity

The majority of modern businesses understand that social media helps engage consumers. However, many tend to use social media somewhat lazily, putting out basic updates and leaving it at that. Instead, it’s more helpful to use social media as a touchpoint for customer acquisition and retention.

This process is just one aspect of an insights-driven marketing approach, which involves the collection and analysis of data through a variety of means. Interestingly, if the approach involves using social media as a touchpoint, it works in both directions.

On the one hand, social media interactions can assist in the gathering of data relating to demographics, social profiles, behavior, interests, and direct feedback. However, it can go even further by acting as an invaluable tool for modern marketers to capitalize on data insights.

Consequently, research indicates that social media is one of the most effective avenues on which to deliver an “excellent customer experience”. Such experiences can result in up to a 16% premium on products and services, as well as increased customer loyalty. Similarly, personalized marketing pitches can boost sales by 15-20%.

As an added bonus, different social media networks can help a business target different types of consumers. For instance, Facebook usually engages older audiences, while TikTok engages a much younger demographic. As a result, diversifying your use of social media platforms makes for a fairly thorough social approach.

Employing In-Store Beacons

For businesses with a brick-and-mortar presence, in-store beacons are now a must. Since so much focus these days is on internet-based opportunities, they fly under the radar — even among marketing professionals. Despite this, you should still consider adding them to your arsenal. Though it seems like online sales now generate the bulk of business, the in-store experience remains more important to Americans than we tend to give it credit for.

The tiny “beacon,” a device inconceivable some 10 years ago, emerged thanks to significant technological advances. Printed circuit boards (PCBs) have become smaller and more compact, making them more capable of powering tiny devices with full wireless capability. New design technologies now enable a variety of PCB structures that are created using embedded board arrays, which ensures that PCB components never overlap no matter how complex the layout is. This innovation has allowed manufacturers to build high-density and flexible products into very small devices.

Today, beacons can be placed in stores, and though tiny and inexpensive, their wireless capability enables them to interact with customers’ mobile phones. As such, they serve as digital touchpoints within a physical space and have been helping business owners and marketing professionals across NYC capitalize on in-store activity.

A beacon makes it easy for a store to reach out to customers, and gather data on their shopping preferences. This includes information on where customers browse, what they’re looking for, and how responsive they are to assistance, outreach, or special deals — all of which can be as valuable in strategy formation as insights gathered online.

Prioritizing Online Marketplaces for Data

As marketing leaders are well aware, today’s online marketplaces come in many forms. And though many businesses have their own eCommerce website, countless others list their products on third-party platforms.

These include Facebook Marketplace, Amazon Marketplace, Craigslist, Etsy, eBay, and more. Different platforms cater to different kinds of businesses, but collectively, they can provide more opportunities to generate revenue.

Equally important is that they also serve as additional digital touchpoints. Every customer that interacts with your business on any one of these marketplaces is inevitably supplying data about their browsing preferences. The key point, however, is to use third-party platforms solely for data collection, and not just for generating sales.

Some of these third-party marketplaces are likely to span generations. Older internet users may be most familiar with eBay and Craigslist, whereas social commerce listings and those on Amazon will attract younger consumers.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that consumers prefer to use social commerce — and in some cases, they even supply more data here than they might on a typical online retail platform.

Proper Review Analysis

You should also make an effort to encourage and welcome product and service reviews wherever possible, and to ask consumers to voluntarily provide specific information. You may think that this will open your business up to criticism. However, consumers will appreciate such transparent methods of data collection.

In fact, statistics show that consumers are largely unaware of the data that they’re sharing in their day-to-day web activity. However, they are generally aware that they’re “under surveillance,” a fact that most are uncomfortable with.

Accordingly, seeking reviews and comments and directly asking for information can make a company seem more trustworthy and reliable. In addition to being good for your reputation, this can in some cases lead to more consumer engagement and data gathering. This data can be helpful in a number of ways, while also being one of your more low-tech efforts.

This is why it might be a good idea to consider investing in hiring data analysts or even upskilling your existing staff to meet this need. After all, we’re currently living in the age of Big Data, with trillions of bytes being created each year. As such, demand for data analysts is skyrocketing, and having one on your team will serve you well in the long run.

Additionally, you should try networking with other businesses to exchange tips on how to act upon insights gained from customer reviews. In fact, this program offered here at VentureOut highlights how much you can learn from giants in the consumer insights industry. It also emphasizes how one-on-one mentorship sessions can give your business a much-needed head start on making cutting-edge, data-driven strategies.

Ultimately, most of these strategies are now at least loosely part of the mainstream marketing and data-gathering repertoire that modern businesses employ. Thinking of them as digital touchpoints for specific types of data can help a business use these methods even more effectively, especially when reaching out to a less tech-savvy customer base.

Article written by Riley Judd

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