Stop tracking users, get answers instead
Updated: May 25, 2021
For the last two decades, companies have grown more and more dependent on tracking solutions (e.g. cookies, Facebook pixel) to understand customers, both current and potential, provide better service, and improve their performance. However, regulatory policy and customer sentiments are turning against these tracking behaviors. GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation), CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), and Google Chrome’s third-party cookie “ban” are just a few examples of how companies' ability to learn about customers with tracking is being limited. These solutions are now only giving you a view of what customers do when engaging directly with your brand, limiting your understanding of who they are, what they want, and how to serve them. Moreover, you are now blind to the customers that have never engaged with your brand.
Even during the best of times, tracking and activity data provided limited context, and questions like, “Why didn't you buy from me?” were left unanswered; but now, with the aperture narrowing, this problem is becoming even more acute.
The latest and largest move in this trend is Apple's iOS 14.5 and its App Tracking Transparency (ATT), which highlights who is tracking you on your iPhone and gives you the option to stop it. It is not a big surprise to anyone that most users choose not to opt-in to be tracked, and, in fact, according to Flurry Analytics, only 6% of users in the US allow for apps to track them. And, based on the marketing dollars Apple puts behind promoting privacy (e.g. see the commercial below) there is no reason to expect that tracking will gain more favor.
So what does this mean? How should companies learn and optimize to serve their customers? We believe there is a better way of doing things and that Qualitative Intelligence (QI) will play a big role.
QI allows companies to engage audiences at scale and simply ask them about their needs, desires, barriers, and motivations; allowing them to answer freely (qualitatively) and focus on what matters to them. It’s an honest and direct approach that customers appreciate and allows companies to have a fundamental understanding of their customers, no tracking needed.
So what makes Qualitative Intelligence possible and why now?
Recent advancements in AI and specifically NLP (natural language processing) allows us to understand the context from free-form text & speech at a scale far better than we could even a few years ago.
Mass communication platforms allow us to reach out, engage, and pose questions to large audiences with high precision.
A growing cultural shift of customers feeling like organizations don’t listen to them. They’re tired of being tracked and targeted with generic NPS questions. Customers want to be able to express themselves freely and talk about what’s important to them.
Qualitative Intelligence is the link that gives organizations the answers to what motivates customers to act, and at the same time giving customers the voice with brands they’ve always wanted.