In the 2015 State of Marketing in Australia Report recently published by Salesforce, 66% of marketers surveyed felt that Website Personalisation was “very effective” in the popularity and effectiveness of digital marketing channels and strategies. 67% of respondents also felt that Location-Based Mobile Tracking was “very effective” as well. The top scoring digital marketing strategy for this section of the survey was Social Media Listening with a total of 68% of respondents deeming it to be “very effective” also.

Let’s ponder that for a second.

The three highest scoring digital marketing strategies of 2015 need to know where you are, what you are saying on social networks and what you are doing while you are online in order to be effective in delivering their marketing initiatives to you. Brands need this information to deliver an experience that is designed to foster loyalty within yourself. If that scares you, you should probably shut down whatever device you are reading this on and walk away from it pretty quickly. The future is well and truly here, and it is here to stay.

Privacy is dead, and everyone younger than Gen X have well and truly embraced this.

I realise that is a big statement, so let’s delve into it for a minute. (If you’re still reading!) What data are brands actually using to power these effective digital marketing initiatives?

1. Personally Identifiable Data (PID)

a. When a brand asks you for information that identifies you as an individual, they are generally using it for 2 things – to send you one-on-one communications that are relevant to that piece of information, such as an offer on your birthday to get you to buy yourself a gift from their website. The other thing they could be using it for is to create summary statistics, such as the average age of their audience.

b. Consumers should be open to sharing this kind of information because they are often rewarded with personalised offers or specifically targeted messages reaching them at convenient times.

2. Secure information

a. When you shop online your options are pretty wide open these days, while credit cards and PayPal have become the norm there are now airlines accepting debit transfers to pay for flights and a myriad of other payment startups offering a unique take on the old barter system. 2048 SSL security and tokenisation now ensure your secure banking details are only ever sent to those who need them.

b. Consumers need to be open to sharing, and storing, this kind of information with their favourite brands and online stores. I know this has made my life so much more convenient with paying my phone bill via direct debit from the telstra app, catching uber regularly and also getting my new work shirts from Saba in record time.

3. Social Networks

a. Every interaction you have with a social network is being tracked by someone, somewhere in a big government agency and also a data warehouse within the network itself. There are also thousands of other marketers using a variety of tools to monitor posts, comments, hashtags and uploaded image metadata. Even if your settings are on private, expect these to be found using an advanced search by anonymous users.

b. Share share share! Online advertising has relied on guesswork since the web became commercialised, so now you have the power to put the things you like out there to help the things you like find you! The next time you see an ad for something you need, stop and think about how that came to be.

4. Location based information

a. Chances are you have seen someone post on Facebook about location services and privacy settings within iOS in the last 12 months, and why you should turn all of this off. Have you turned these off and then tried using even the most basic functions on your iOS device? Most things just stop working because they are reliant on your location. Your telco or service provider always knows where you are, so what’s the difference between Google, Facebook, Apple or even Myer knowing where you are at any given time.

b. Whilst still in its infancy, localised marketing using your mobile device can help smaller businesses provide you with targeted offers through a bigger platform (think Facebook check-ins at your favourite coffee shop), and can also help you find your way around a foreign city without you having to find yourself on a map first!

5. Mobile Data

a. Everything your phone does is captured and recorded, much in the same way social networks do as mentioned above. Every photo has metadata attached to it with the GPS coordinates and the time and date it was taken. All your messages and call logs are backed up to the cloud by both your telco and your phone manufacturer (why do you think Apple always prompts you to back-up your phone?). Device manufacturers use this information to improve their products and services, and deliver you a more personalised experience as they evolve their interactions with consumers.

b. Sure, this can be scary if you are the sort of person who thinks that someone might be looking into their activity and behavioural patterns. If you’re this sort of person you should probably think about getting rid of your smart phone altogether!

At the end of the day, you always have to give something to get something, and nothing ever comes for free. So giving up that little extra piece of data, or allowing a brand to store that little byte of information about you is ultimately going to result in you getting something back, be it a discount on your favourite restaurant or expedited service next time you go shopping. Embrace the change, and hopefully a brand can surprise and delight you as a reward!

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