Written by Mark Michaud on April 25, 2012
in Content Strategy

We marketers assign a value to most everything. We know what we’ll pay for a lead, the cost of an impression in various media, the average spend of a customer in a given year and, if we’re really good, the lifetime value of our customer.

Funny then, that when it comes to the things that customers value most – their personal information and their privacy – we haven’t a clue about their worth.

You’ll see this most clearly when you sign up for e-alerts or to download a whitepaper. Suddenly, it’s 20 questions followed by a flood of useless content – or worse, cold calls for products or services you don’t want.

If, as consumers, we know what this feels like, why do we do it as marketers? Why do we ask for data we don’t use? At least not to benefit the customer.

The way around this? Focus on the “value exchange.”

Ask yourself, “If I want something from my customer, what am I offering in return?” Consider assigning something of value to every personal detail you ask for.

If you want to know what region someone lives in, are you going to customize the information you send them for their area? If you ask for someone’s email address, are you going to send them a research-grounded report or just rehashed brochure copy pretending to be a whitepaper? If you’re not offering something of value, why should they share their data with you?

With the introduction of Canada’s new anti-spam legislation (Bill C28), marketers are going to have to revisit all their email programs to make sure they are compliant. What a great time to ask not just if you’re legal, but if you’re relevant.

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