Millennials “expect brands to live in the same world they live in, speak the same language about the same issues they care about, be humorous, or strike an emotional chord,” according to the Harvard Business Review.

Consumers are increasingly pressurizing brands for value exchange and a real emotional connection instead of merely being marketed to.

So, then what is a value exchange? Let’s start out by saying what it’s not in our view.

It’s not creating a half baked buyers persona based on a whole lot of guesswork, using some templates and other people’s sequences to build a sales funnel, and giving some badly put together e-book as a free giveaway.

Well, then what is it? It’s the process of swapping rich data for better experiences between brands and their customers and can take place in many forms.

Value Exchange

The emphasis is on continuous and relevant. The exchange occurs because the audience trusts the brand enough to identify themselves with it and grant permission for the engagement.

Enter game-changer Zero Party Data.

“Zero-party data is that which a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include purchase intentions, personal context and how the individual wants the brand to recognize her.” —Fatemeh Khatibloo, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester

Zero-party data allows brands to build direct relationships with consumers, and in turn, better personalize their marketing efforts, services, offers, and product recommendations. As it comes directly and willingly from the consumer, there are no intermediaries and no guesswork. So no spamming customers with ads for products they’ve already bought or do not intend to purchase.

But it’s not simply a case of ask, and you shall receive. Digital consumers are more scrupulous than ever when it comes to handing over their personal details and preference data. You do need to offer a value exchange.

Capturing consumer motivations, intentions, interests and preferences at scale allows for a personalized customer experience. And by leveraging the right mechanics, and offering a value exchange, your customers will tell you what products they want, what they look for in a service, and what motivates them to purchase.  

The great thing about moving to a zero-party data strategy means that your audience building and profiling doesn’t stop, you just approach it differently. This keeps your data accurate, relevant and current because the data points are coming directly from your audience, and willingly too.