Real Time Banter: What role should brands play in educating consumers on data usage?

In this Real Time Banter webinar, LiveIntent SVP of global marketing, Kerel Cooper, and VP of marketing, Nick Dujnic, speak with marketer, educator, and author T. Adeola Osinubi about how brands can educate consumers on data usage.

Key insights from T. Adeola Osinubi

According to a 2019 report by Pew Research Center, 79% of consumers are concerned about how companies use their data and 59% have little or no understanding about what brands do with that data.

In other words, brands need to step up and educate consumers about data usage and privacy.

“This is the time to lead and lead strong because folks aren’t really sure about the deal they’re making with brands,” said Osinubi. “There are a lot of moving parts and it can get fairly complex really quickly. Brands and platforms have to come out and really put people’s minds at ease. They’re the best ones positioned to do it right, because they already have that relationship.”

Health and fitness apps, for example, must be transparent about how they use customer biometrics data to build more personalized experiences and help users meet their goals.

“If you empower me to make a decision and I’m able to be in that process, I’m a lot less likely to give you the side-eye, because you are upfront with me,” said Osinubi. “You let me make a decision vs. you making the decision for me and then I’m forced to either accept or not accept that you had benevolent intent and that there was no malfeasance going on.”

Brands can also use direct-to-consumer channels like email to fortify their relationships with customers and deliver vital information.

“Email is the currency of the realm when you’re talking about digital marketing,” said Osinubi. “Without an email address, you are effectively homeless in a digital environment. You can’t bank online, sign up for social media, or email people.”

In other words, brands that don’t use direct channels like email risk alienating consumers and missing important opportunities to educate audiences.

“The issue with brands that don’t want to educate their consumer is that they don’t have the relationships and they don’t have that relationship equity,” said Osinubi. “So they’re afraid that if they pull back the curtain, then the whole house is going to fall down.”

There’s no substitute for email, he added. “It’s not going anywhere, and there’s a reason for that. Because it’s fundamental and you have to have it. And when you can [use it correctly], the benefits are just astronomical.”

Best practices for educating consumers on data usage

  • Respect their intelligence. “Respect your consumer and respect their intelligence. There’s a reason you’re in a relationship with this person. And it’s not just money. Money is a byproduct.”
  • Speak in terms of benefits. “You should be solving a problem. You should be helping them in some way, so focus on that. Speak in those terms, and I think the conversation isn’t as scary.”
  • Don’t back away from the challenge. “I think brands are approaching privacy the way parents approach puberty. You freak out and think, ‘I don’t want to talk about that.’ But it’s going to happen at some point. You’re going to have to have the talk.”