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Information gathering to better serve your audience

Businesses are discovering that their audience is willing to share personal information with them under certain conditions, so can government communicators collect the same information to better serve stakeholders?

A recent SDL report shows that different groups are comfortable sharing personal data, such as gender, age, income, and hobbies, to get more personalized offers.

As government communicators, you can leverage this openness to connect with more people and deliver messages that are more relevant, and ultimately more engaging. Laptop

A look at the data

In a TRUSTe survey, 82% of customers aged 18-75 (in a survey of 2,000 people) were concerned about what kind of data was being collected through their browsing history. However, they were willing to share specific information voluntarily if it meant getting ads tailored to their preferences. Overall, only 62% of survey respondents were concerned about how their personal information might be used.

Age also played a significant role in perception of security, with 59% of those aged 18-29 and 71% of those aged 45-60 in the U.S. worried that their information was being collected.

Some factors do help increase people’s comfort and willingness to share information, and the main factor is trust. Nearly half of customers were willing to share information if the data was acquired through a third-party organization, as long as the audience was made aware of what information was being collected.

Increasing trust means broader audience comfort.

When a brand is trusted, consumers’ comfort levels with sharing information jumped to 79% globally. In the U.S., 80% of loyal customers felt comfortable giving out their personal information. This audience was willing to share information with marketers about gender, age, and even income. Of U.S. respondents surveyed, 62% were willing to share their date of birth, but most were uncomfortable sharing Social Security numbers and names of spouses, friends, or family.

What this means for public sector organizations

For public sector organizations, audiences can be very different. For natural resources or wildlife organizations, stakeholders can range from people interested in fishing and hunting licenses to local businesses that want to run specials to coincide with different seasons to parents looking for ways to enjoy the outdoors with their families. Messages need to be tailored to these different audiences, and the data above demonstrates that asking for more information isn’t detrimental to the process.

The key to collecting that information is to be transparent about why you’re asking for it and what you’re doing with it. If you let stakeholders know that the information you’re collecting allows you to segment and deliver more tailored information, they will be more likely to provide that data.

There are some government entities that are already asking stakeholders who sign up for communications for personal data to deliver more personalized messages. For example, some cities will ask stakeholders for their zip codes, so the city can send updates pertinent to that area of town. Age is a great question to ask as well, so you can understand the demographics of the people you’re reaching. If you know that over 70% of your digital audience is in the 45-65 age range, you can tailor messaging and topics to that demographic and work on strategic outreach efforts to other demographics if you need to. All this information can help you better target your messaging.

Not everyone will want to share their information, so make it optional to answer personal questions, allowing stakeholders to decide if they want to provide more information. Everyone wants to protect their personal data; it’s up to you to build trust and highlight the benefits of sharing their information with you. Are you asking stakeholders for information to help you tailor your communications and messages? If yes, please share how this has worked for you in the comments.