While the wording of most privacy regulations is usually straightforward, they may still leave the door open to different interpretations. Often, companies have their own interpretation that often translates into internal compliance requirements.
Moreover, other entities (e.g., local or international, institutional or otherwise) may also provide their recommendations, guidelines, and best practices. In some cases, they can even add layers of regulation.
As such, there is no one best compliant solution that can meet all companies’ needs. But, it is still important for marketers to look for a solution that can accommodate all the possible requirements of their company, and absorb some of the complexity to speed up the data collection strategy.
In general, companies can collect and process customer (personal) data based on several different legal grounds:
- Consent: when the processing of customer data for a specific purpose requires specific consent.
- Performance of a contract: when the company offers an option to sign up to a specific service —for example, on top of WiFi services— many data processing activities can be included in the contract (including profiling, marketing, etc.). This is the case with loyalty programs.
- Legal obligation: when the company has to honor local regulations. In France, for example, companies have to store WiFi logs for 12 months.
When it comes to the choice of what legal ground to leverage, all the other principles of data protection regulations must be considered: the principle of data minimization, the principle of fairness, the principle of purpose limitation, etc. Local regulations in specific countries may impose more strict requirements as well.
Here are 7 tips that help companies get peace of mind when collecting and managing customer data.
Tip # 1: Collect and manage consent with granularity
All optional marketing-driven data processing activities are generally based on the legal ground of consent.
For example, if there are two purposes: a) send personalized messages (text message and/or email), b) share data with social networks to show personalized ads, the company must require two different checkboxes.
Tip # 2: Minimize customer data collected
Every piece of customer data collected for a purpose not justified by the legitimate interest or performance of a contract must be collected upon specific consent or otherwise be “minimized” to honor the principle of “data minimization”.
But companies probably need consent to justify the collection of the gender information and use it for a marketing purpose (for example a personalized newsletter). If companies don’t get consent for the marketing purpose, then they shouldn’t save the customer’s gender information in order to honor the data minimization principle.
Companies should adopt a solution that provides a configurable mechanism that allows minimizing the personal data of each customer, reducing it to the minimum covered by the legitimate interest if a specific consent is not collected.
Tip # 3: Be sure to respect age restrictions
In some instances, companies may want to collect an explicit declaration of the minimum age. Companies should adopt a solution that provides a flexible mechanism that asks for a mandatory confirmation of the minimum age and blocks access to the service otherwise.
Tip # 4: Process the data only if there is consent
When data processing is carried out on the legal ground of consent, it is very likely that there are multiple (specific) consent types collected from the customer, in the form of a checkbox. If a certain processing activity depends on consent, it is then important to make sure that processing doesn’t occur unless consent is collected.
For example, companies could adopt a solution that provides them with the ability to define the minimum consent required from a contact to process the behavioral profiling data used to personalize the customer experience. Some companies may formulate their consent as one single generic marketing program or they may split the consent over multiple opt-ins (for example, marketing communications, personalized content as separated opt-ins).
Tip # 5: Localize, localize, localize
When companies operate on a global scale, it is important to keep into account the differences in terms of data protection regulations, as well as the different requirements posed by the teams of each country or region.
Tip # 6: Retain customer data only for the period needed
To address these needs, companies should adopt a solution that can handle the data retention parametrically based on country and type of data. For example, they should distinguish between WiFi logs and all the other customer data.
Tip # 7: Sync the subscription from multiple channels
When a company has multiple subscription collection sources for the same marketing program, a customer could be prompted to subscribe to that program via a sign-up journey in their locations despite already being subscribed (for example if they already subscribed on the website). In this case, companies should avoid prompting customers to subscribe if they have already done it from another channel.
Now is the time to lay the groundwork for better data collection and management. If you need help doing so, get in touch with Cloud4Wi. Discover how we helped Burger King, Campari, Carmila (Carrefour Group), Guess, The Cordish Companies, and Valentino get peace of mind when collecting and managing customer data.
Data collection is — and will always be — a critical part of marketing. Having the right customer data enables companies to connect with customers in the most relevant way possible.
In the hierarchy of data types, first-party and zero-party data must be prioritized by companies. Not only are first-party and zero-party data more accurate and reliable, they’re increasingly becoming the most viable type of information.
Third-party data in particular, is on its way out. With rising consumer privacy concerns, companies such as Google and Apple have taken steps to prevent user tracking and curb the collection of their data. Third-party data is becoming increasingly unreliable, which is why companies need to take it up to themselves to get to know their customers.
This is where first-party and zero-party data comes in.
First-party and zero-party data defined
Marketers must familiarize themselves with first-party and zero-party data, as each type has unique acquisition, ownership, and governance rules.
Zero-party data. This is a type of data that customers voluntarily and proactively share with the company, as they totally trust the company they share their data with. This data should always be used to improve the value delivered to the customers. Some examples include contact information with opt-ins, feedback surveys, tastes and preferences, etc.
Why marketers should embrace first-party and zero-party data
Focusing on first-party and zero-party data types helps companies reduce risk, improve their marketing initiatives, build long-lasting one-to-one relationships with customers and ultimately drive revenue.
Some of the key advantages of having a solid first-party and zero-party data strategy are:
Better customer segmentation. First-party and zero-party data provide unparalleled insights into customer behavior. What do customers like? How often do they buy from the business? When was the last time they visited the company’s physical and online store? These questions can only be answered by first-party data and zero-party data. And the information the companies gain from the above enables them to better group and segment their customers, so they can make more informed marketing decisions.
True personalization. First-party and zero-party data enables companies to personalize the customer experience based on actual needs and intentions. In other words, companies can better target their marketing efforts and ensure that they’re sending the right messages and offers to the right customers at the most optimal moment — i.e., when they are ready to buy what they really want.
Better ability to provide value and increase trust. First-party and zero-party data enable companies to offer more value to customers, which helps increase trust. When customers see that companies are putting their information to good use, they’re more likely to share more of their data.
Increased customer lifetime value. All of the above ultimately strengthen the relationship between companies and customers. With the right data, companies can keep customers loyal and active, thus enabling them to drive revenue continuously and in ways that weren’t possible before.
How to collect first-party data and zero-party data
There are a number of ways that companies can collect first-party data and zero-party data. Online, it’s relatively easier to collect data, through tools such as:
- Social media
In the offline realm, companies traditionally adopted strategies such as collecting data through their point of sale system and looking at customer loyalty program data. However, these methods are quite limited, as they can only collect information when customers make a purchase.
Today, there are more effective solutions that enable companies to tap customer data. They include:
- WiFi and QR codes to collect phone numbers and emails with opt-ins
- WiFi, BLE, and GPS to collect offline behavioral data, both inside and outside the company’s physical locations
Whichever ways that companies choose to collect customer data, it’s essential to unify all that information. Companies must ensure that their data and marketing systems are tightly integrated so data flows smoothly across multiple platforms and channels. The goal is to create 360-degree customer profiles so that everything is consolidated and accessible.
Switching to a first-party and zero-party data strategy won’t happen overnight
Shifting to a first-party and zero-party data strategy should be a top priority for marketers. The death of third-party data will happen within the next two years, and it’s imperative that marketers take immediate steps to prioritize the collection of first-party and zero-party data.
Switching to a first-party and zero-party data strategy won’t happen overnight. In addition to adopting and implementing the right tech solutions, shifting a company’s data strategy requires taking steps to protect customer data. This won’t be a one-click action. Companies must fully understand the different laws and regulations that govern data protection in their areas, and set up systems to ensure that they are collecting data legally and that information is well-protected.
As such, taking action ASAP will help companies be more prepared, particularly as the world opens back up.
Now is the time to lay the groundwork for better data collection and management. If you need help doing so, get in touch with Cloud4Wi. Discover how we helpedBurger King, Campari, Carmila, Guess, and HFE get to know customers better while boosting their experiences at the same time.
The marketing apocalypse is coming.
That statement may sound hyperbolic, but it’s not something that we say lightly. The latest moves from Google and Apple on third-party data – pushed by changing customer behaviors and privacy regulators – will fundamentally shift how marketers operate.
These changes will essentially kill old marketing paradigms, and companies will need to evolve how they collect customer data and deliver perfectly-tailored communications.
Let’s take a closer look at the changes to third-party data and what they mean for companies and marketers.
Google does way with third-party cookies
Earlier this year, Google announced that it will render third-party cookies obsolete on Chrome and its ad networks. Google will stop selling ads that are targeted to individual users and Chrome will no longer collect such data.
Instead, Google is developing an alternative to traditional third-party cookies.
According to Bloomberg, “Google’s feature will let marketers continue to target desired buckets of consumers, just no longer using an individual’s web history. In theory, this will make it more difficult to mesh ad-tracking with information collected from data brokers and other providers, which has let marketers target consumers based on age, race and gender.”
Apple nixes third-party tracking on iOS and Safari
Apple also has its own initiatives to curb third-party data. The company recently launched App Tracking Transparency, which requires applications to obtain users’ permission before tracking them across apps or websites owned by other companies. With the new requirement, users can head to the Settings section of their device and view which apps have requested permission to track them.
This update massively affects third-party content providers, as it prohibits them from tracking users across websites. This means that companies using such providers will have less information about their target audience, thus curbing their ability to get to know customers better.
Apple also made changes to location tracking. Users can now choose whether they want to share their exact location or just an approximate of their whereabouts. Known as the Precise Location setting, apps can only track users if they have this setting turned on.
What this all means for marketers
All these changes will dramatically impact how companies market to customers in the next few years. Marketing will be much more difficult for those who rely on third-party data.
Data collection will decrease
For starters, the amount of data companies can collect will be reduced. Google doing away with third-party cookies means companies will have less data for user tracking.
And with Apple giving users the ability to opt-out of third-party tracking and location sharing, it’s safe to assume that customers will opt-out — meaning access to their data will be even more limited.
As a result, companies using third-party data will have a limited view of who their customers are. Because trackers are unable to “follow” customers across multiple apps and websites, they will no longer be able to build comprehensive customer profiles.
Limited targeting and retargeting capabilities
The reduction of the amount of data companies can collect will severely limit their ability to make informed decisions, so determining customer behavior and serving up the right message at the right time will become an uphill battle.
With the lack of third-party data, marketers will find it much more difficult to serve up targeted messages, which diminishes the ROI and efficiency of their campaigns.
The age of hyper-personalized communications (that often creep customers out) will be coming to an end. As such, marketers need to come up with better and more creative ways to stay relevant and deliver personalized offerings to their audience.
How to deal with the marketing apocalypse
Make no mistake: companies can no longer rely on third-party data to fuel their marketing efforts.
Companies that use third-party cookies and data should rethink their strategies and find ways to reach and connect with customers directly.
The only way to thrive in the new marketing landscape is to truly own the customer relationship and gain access to first-party data (i.e., data generated by the company’s own interactions with its customers) and zero-party data (i.e., data the customers proactively shares with the company.)
So, rather than stalking customers or finding ways to covertly convert their data, companies must focus on providing value and encouraging customers to voluntarily share their information.
This can be done through a number of ways, but the key lies in asking the question, “What’s in it for the customer? By focusing on how companies can serve their customers, they greatly increase the likelihood of customers voluntarily sharing their details.
This is why offering convenient services such as free WiFi or providing exclusive offers are effective ways to get customers to hand over their information. Such initiatives provide a clear benefit, which then entices people to share more about themselves.
Carmila, one of Europe’s leading retail property companies, understood this, and it sought to improve its data strategy by using free WiFi to promote its instant win games. Customers were able to avail of the benefits simply by signing up through Carmila’s welcome page.
Companies can do something similar, by launching efforts that provide value. In doing so, companies can attract customers who’ll happily offer their information and they can continuously enrich their database.These efforts also make it easy to get a true 360-degree view of their customers and provide perfectly-tailored messages and experiences.
Looking to move away from third-party data? Cloud4Wi can help. Get in touch to learn about our suite, which has helped companies like Burger King, Campari, Carmila, Guess, and HFE get to know customers better while boosting their experiences at the same time.
In early August 2020, Apple announced an important update as part of the release of iOS 14 and watchOS 7. At the time, Apple indicated that it will enable MAC randomization by default in devices using its new OS.
The update initially meant that devices with MAC randomization enabled will present a different MAC address to WiFi networks, thus curbing the ability of SSIDs to “remember” devices. This meant that networks would need to re-authenticate devices that try to connect every 24 hours, thus preventing SSIDs to track and profile users over time.
Unsurprisingly, this caused shockwaves across the WiFi community, and Apple likely received pressure from industry players to change its position.
In mid-August, Apple seemed to backpedal on its original announcement. Rather than randomizing the MAC address every 24 hours, the latest update states that devices will use a different MAC address for each WiFi network. The MAC address will not change if the device is logging into a network to which it connected previously, so SSIDs will be able to “remember” a guest when they log back in.
To make things even more interesting, in September, Apple announced that it would delay a new privacy rule affecting developers that are using a device’s unique identifier. Apple’s rule requires developers to ask guests permission to gather data and track them on across mobile apps and websites. The feature was originally slated to be released in the fall, but Apple pushed the update to early next year.
There’s clearly a lot happening in the realm of WiFi and privacy. That’s why this post will explore Apple’s privacy updates and what companies can do to ensure that they’re able to continue offering frictionless WiFi services to their guests.
Understanding Apple’s MAC randomization updates
To understand MAC randomization, let’s back up a bit and quickly talk about what a MAC address is. Short for media access control, the MAC address is a unique identifier that’s assigned to every device that connects to a WiFi network.
Having a static MAC address resulted in many networks leveraging it for a variety of purposes.
Some companies have used the static MAC address to make the WiFi experience more convenient for guests. Guests who have previously connected to a location’s network won’t have to re-enter their login credentials the next time they sign in, as they are automatically authenticated based on their device’s static MAC address.
Other companies have used the static MAC address to gain real-time behavioral insights and deliver perfectly-tailored communications at the right moment. For example, loyal shoppers could receive a welcome back text message including a tailored special offer at their arrival at the store.
All in all, a static MAC address made it easy for companies with physical locations to market and get to know their guests, which is why WiFi has grown to be a critical part of modern marketing.
But as convenient as it is to have a static MAC address, there is a growing concern among guests who value their privacy.
Research from Salesforce found that 46% of customers feel that they don’t have control over their own data, and Pew Research found that 72% of shoppers feel that “almost all or most of what they do online or while using their cellphone is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies.”
Privacy is clearly a concern for guests, and Apple is doing something about it. As the company notes on its website:
To communicate with a Wi-Fi network, a device must identify itself to the network using a unique network address called a media access control (MAC) address. If the device always uses the same Wi-Fi MAC address across all networks, network operators and other network observers can more easily relate that address to the device’s network activity and location over time. This allows a kind of user tracking or profiling, and it applies to all devices on all Wi-Fi networks.
To reduce this privacy risk, iOS 14,
What does it mean for companies that rely on MAC address to collect information
Here’s the good news: Apple’s updates won’t affect the ability of individual WiFi networks to authenticate and recognize devices.
The bad news? Companies that have multiple locations or multiple brands, and use a specific SSID per location or per brand may run into several issues because a guest’s device will generate a new MAC address for every SSID. For instance, if a company runs several stores that operate under different names, not having a static MAC address would make it difficult for the conglomerates’ brands to offer a smooth and overall guest WiFi experience — even if they’re all owned by the same company.
No chance to recognize returning guests across various locations. Since a new MAC address is created for each new SSID, the location’s WiFi network won’t be able to recognize a returning guest even if they’ve been to the company’s other locations in the past or have shopped the brands that are owned by the same company.
Inability to gain location-based insights across multiple locations. Companies won’t have the ability to build a history of guest activity across various locations and brands — owned by the same company— so they will no longer be able to build an entire brand journey using their MAC address.
No tailored communications. Connecting with guests based on their previous activities in multiple locations or across multiple brands — owned by the same company— won’t be possible anymore.
What Cloud4Wi is doing
Even if there was a push back from Apple, the direction in which the industry is heading is clear. It’s time to protect privacy and, at the same time, redesign the guest WiFi experience in the most seamless way.
Cloud4Wi has been taking steps to enable companies to power their guest WiFi, while respecting privacy at the same time.
Cloud4Wi offers several excellent alternatives companies can use to continue offering a seamless guest WiFi experience while collecting personal data, respecting their privacy, and adding value at the same time. The best WiFi solution depends on the business, their specific location, and their objectives.
Request a demo with Cloud4Wi today to learn how you can empower your guest WiFi experience and turn guest WiFi into a key asset that generates value for the business.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought companies in all industries into uncharted territory. Slowing the spread of the virus requires social distancing, quarantine, and lockdowns, which have led to many businesses shuttering their locations for the time being.
Businesses are facing tough times ahead, but they don’t have to take this crisis lying down. Below are some action steps that organizations can take to alleviate the stress that the COVID-19 situation has placed on their businesses.
Stay on top of customer communications
Now, more than ever, it’s important that companies keep in touch with their customers. It’s a must for businesses to send regular updates on what’s going on in the organization, so customers know how they can do business with the company.
Is the business closing its physical locations temporarily? If so, can people still buy online? How can they get their hands on their orders? These are the questions companies should be answering in their customer communications in the coming weeks.
The right approach depends on the organization. Some businesses are doubling down on their ecommerce channels and are sending offers that can be redeemed online. Other businesses are launching CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives to help those severely affected by the pandemic.
It’s essential for companies to craft messaging that truly resonates with their audience. Even if the business is communicating via digital channels, the experience they provide must feel personal, dynamic, and human.
With the right technology, companies can harness the data they already have to craft individualized and timely messaging that customers actually care about. For example, a retailer can use the in-store behavioral data they have about their shoppers to tailor their offers and communications.
Of course, crafting personalized messages requires businesses to have the right data, to begin with.
And this brings us to our next point…
Tighten up existing customer data collection systems
Businesses that don’t have the right customer data should use this period to evaluate their existing systems. How organized are their data-collection processes? Are customer details accessible from one system or does the information live in siloes? More importantly, is the business relying on quality data sources?
In today’s landscape, the most optimal way to get to know customers is by collecting first-party data. As we mentioned previously, zero-party data refers to information that customers have proactively shared with businesses. Unlike third-party tracking, in which marketers track customers in the background, collecting zero-party data is a collaborative act, and customers are fully aware of what they’re sharing.
Brick-and-mortar retailers — under normal circumstances — have a massive opportunity with zero-party data. Physical locations create an excellent environment to connect deeply with customers and collect their information.
During this pandemic, organizations that have already invested in zero-party data are in a better position to connect with their customers.
That said, businesses that aren’t collecting zero-party data can take this as an opportunity to build systems that would allow them to better understand their customers.
They must identify any shortcomings in their data initiatives and systems, then come up with solutions. They may need to look into new technology providers. Perhaps they migrate their data to a different platform or implement a new integration. Whatever the case, now is a good time to take action. The solutions that companies establish during this time will allow them to hit the ground running when business picks up again.
Come up with new ways to connect with the customer
We are in uncharted territory, and this period calls for innovation. As such, organizations should get creative with how they build their one-to-one relationships with customers.
At this stage, most brand-to-customer interactions will take place digitally (with the exception of retailers that sell essential items such as food, supplies, etc.). Because of this, companies must be more inventive with their online messaging. With more customers spending time on digital channels, it’s critical that businesses come up with initiatives that cut through the noise.
That being said, businesses should also think about how they can connect with customers once the coronavirus pandemic passes. Keeping a close eye on how the COVID-19 situation unfolds is critical, and companies must follow the latest developments so they can plan ahead and kick off strong when customers come back.
Cultivating one-to-one relationships should be a priority now and in the future. And the only way to build those relationships is to have a deep understanding of customers (through things like zero-party data) and by implementing marketing technology that can put that data to good use.
Cloud4Wi is here for you
Whatever the next weeks and months bring, we want you to know that Cloud4Wi has your back. If you’re a brand that wants to create stronger customer relationships, we can advise you on the best course of action at this time.
Our team will be 100% remotely connected and available to assist you with a free consultation to analyze and act on customer data collected in physical locations. This way, you will be able to connect with your customers—even if only digitally—and warmly share your values, as well as your latest and upcoming changes during such a time of crisis with physical locations mostly locked down.
Earlier this year, Google made an announcement that sent shockwaves across the digital marketing space: Chrome will end support for third-party cookies.
In its blog post, the search company wrote that it intends to “make third party cookies obsolete” in Chrome. Advertisers will no longer be able to track users online, which means businesses won’t have the ability to serve up targeted ads.
As such, any business that relies on Google and third-party cookies should rethink their strategies and find ways to reach and engage customers directly.
Enter first-party data
The most effective way to accomplish that is through the use of first-party data, which refers to data that customers have proactively shared with businesses. Unlike third-party tracking, in which marketers track customers in the background, collecting first-party data is a collaborative act, and customers are fully aware of what they’re sharing.
When leveraged correctly, first-party data enables companies to create rich profiles, so they can tailor the experience of their customers.
The act of gathering first-party data can also build trust between businesses and their customers. Actively involving customers in the data collection process minimizes the “creep” factor that people feel when they’re passively being followed. When companies are upfront about the information they’re gathering, customers will be much more likely to share details about themselves.
When talking about brick-and-mortar companies, they have a massive opportunity with first-party data. Physical locations offer an excellent environment for engaging customers and collecting their information.
How to collect first-party data
Now that we’ve covered the importance of first-party data, let’s look at some of the ways that businesses with physical locations can collect it.
One of the best ways to encourage customers to share their data is to provide convenience. Make their lives easier by offering tools and services that they can use as they interact with businesses.
Consider what Carmila, one of Europe’s leading retail property companies, is doing.
The company was aware of the rising expectations of customers when they visit retailers and shopping centers. Today’s shoppers don’t just head to malls because they want to buy something; they do it because they want to be entertained, attend events, and connect with the community.
As such, Carmila wanted to ensure that customers have excellent experiences in its properties. The company wanted to offer the best WiFi services to customers and make them feel at home. In the same vein, Carmila needed a cutting-edge solution for the brands that operated stores in its properties, so that retailers could market to shoppers more effectively.
Incentivize customers to share their information
Another tactic for collecting first-party data? Offering incentives. Businesses can create special discounts and offers that customers can redeem after they provide their information.
The mattress retailer PerDormire is a great example of this tactic in action.
The brand launched a WiFi initiative to promote its in-store rewards program and customers were able to sign up through PerDormire’s welcome portal. This initiative allowed the company to collect personal customer data and preferences while remaining compliant with GDPR.
One other idea that businesses could implement is to create unique, exclusive experiences as a means to collect first-party data.
Certain luxury brands are implementing this quite well. At the Prada Group, sales associates will be notified when a returning shopper walks in so that they can provide better customer attention. This type of specialized services will ultimately help The Prada Group better personalize the experience for their in-store shoppers, which in turn will boost loyalty and build stronger customer relationships.
First-party data are the #1 marketing priority
Gone are the days when businesses can get away with silently tracking customers. In an age when privacy concerns are paramount and consumers are savvier than ever, businesses need to be creative with their efforts to get to know their customers.
Focusing on first-party data enables companies to collect high-quality data ethically. If businesses haven’t done so yet, they have to make first-party data a marketing priority.
Need help launching your first-party data initiatives in-store? Cloud4Wi can help. Get in touch to learn about our suite, which has helped companies like The Prada Group, Campari, and Burger King get to know customers better while boosting their brand experiences at the same time.