Editor's note: Adam Broitman will provide additional insights into how brands can tap into the digital personas of their consumers as host and keynote speaker at the upcoming iMedia Breakthrough Summit.
Regardless of who you are or where you're from, you share something in common with the rest of the world: When you go online, you shed your physical world identity and assume an alternate personality -- one that is determined by your online needs, goals, digital sophistication, and information sharing awareness.
The Digital Sharing and Trust Project, a new global study recently released by MasterCard Worldwide, has uncovered five global online personas -- Open Sharers, Passive Users, Proactive Protectors, Solely Shoppers, and Simply Interactors -- each with differing online behaviors, sophistications, and concerns. The five personas are spread about evenly across the global population and are impervious to any regional or demographic boundaries.
The research has important implications for global retailers, marketers, and advertisers, as it dispels traditional segmentation strategies based solely on demographic data. The project's findings imply that the best way to target consumers is based on their alternate online personas.
In addition to the global segmentation of online users, the study found the following trends across all personas.
Consumers know what they're worth
According to the research, 64 percent of consumers believe their personal data has value to merchants and advertisers.
Most consumers are savvy with privacy settings
The study revealed 60 percent of consumers know how to change the privacy settings on their web browser.
Consumers enjoy customized offers in return for sharing info and embrace "showrooming"
A majority of consumers (55 percent) appreciate it when companies tailor offers to them based on the information they share. Nearly half (49 percent) check prices on their mobile devices when in-store to make sure they are getting the best offers.
What does this all mean for marketers and advertisers?
The information uncovered by the Digital Sharing and Trust Project provides a new perspective about how retailers and marketers can target and engage with their customers -- online and offline.
Merchants must understand that rather than a timid and fear-driven population, consumers online are in search of value as well as utility and are capable by and large of judging for themselves their own risk tolerance based on the reward they're looking to receive. By better understanding why consumers want to share their information online in the first place, companies can be better prepared to engage with them in more meaningful and relevant ways.
Rather than seek to infer demographic delineations by correlating behaviors to other factors or try to obtain that information from other databases, retailers and marketers alike have the opportunity to profile consumers based solely on their behaviors online. Careful observation of buying patterns, triangulated with other data sources, enables merchants to gain greater efficiency by tailoring offers to specific segments.
For more detailed findings, visit the interactive website and research report, titled "Around the World in Five Personas," and take the quiz to find out what persona you most resemble. (But I bet it's an Open Sharer like me!)
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