JotForm Tables: A New Collaboration Tool to Challenge Airtable and Google Tables – ReadWrite
A decade ago, if you wanted to build a complex spreadsheet or a full-fledged database, you had to know how to code. Fast forward to 2020. There has been an explosion in no-code/low-code software. Now, you can build a powerful database — often in a matter of a few minutes and without writing a single line of code. Here is all about JotForm Tables. JotForm is a new collaboration tool to challenge Airtable and Google tables.
Three of the biggest heavy-hitters in the space are Airtable, Google Tables, and the newest addition, JotForm Tables, which was launched in October 2020.
Finding the Best Solution for your Business.
We’re comparing all three solutions to help you decide. We’ll cover all of the following in detail:
- Product features
- Specific use cases and applications
Here’s a brief overview of the basics of JotForm Tables, Google Tables, and Airtable. Though the tools are considered direct competitors and target similar end-users, each has a unique set of features.
JotForm is known for its suite of productivity tools, including a Form Builder, a PDF Editor, and Mobile Forms. Now, JotForm Tables is part of that suite of services.
JotForm Tables has all of the flexibility and customization options of a full-fledged database with the ease of using a spreadsheet.
. You can easily manage all of your data and sync form submissions in one workspace.
In addition to all of the now-standard spreadsheet functions, such as organizing, categorizing, editing, searching, filtering, collaborating, and exporting, you can also use JotForm Tables to track the progress of projects by adding a checklist indicator, a function calculator, a data counter, and a rating scale.
You can also generate tables, calendars, reports, uploads, and card views. However, the real power of JotForm Tables lies in how you can link forms and tables and how they work together seamlessly.
Let’s say you’re organizing a virtual conference. If you use JotForm Tables, all of the registrations from your virtual event registration form automatically populate your JotForm Tables workspace. You can even create new columns in your table that mirrors the functionality of your form and filter any specific form entries, such as email addresses, names, or phone numbers.
Plus, you can turn the data in your workspace into a professional PDF using JotForm PDF Editor, create a polished report on event registrations for your chief marketing officer using JotForm Report Builder, and even respond to event support questions through JotForm Inbox.
You can also sync your JotForm account with many of the other software and apps that your company uses, such as Dropbox, Square, ActiveCampaign, Slack, Zapier, and Zendesk.
With the addition of JotForm Tables, JotForm is now a comprehensive workflow automation solution that enables your team to get work done quickly and efficiently without relying on manual data entry or other software tools.
Pro tip: Want to see a demo of JotForm Tables in action? Check out all of the functionality for yourself in this free webinar recording.
Google recently rolled out Google Tables, a new workflow tool that’s part of Area120, Google’s in-house incubator. Essentially, it’s home to experiments and passion projects from the Google staff.
Think of Tables as a lightweight spreadsheet-database tool similar to Airtable or Microsoft Access. The Kanban board layout resembles Trello’s project management software.
Google Tables combines the power of a database tool with the flexibility of a spreadsheet. It gives teams and businesses a more visual way to display information than Google’s original spreadsheet software, Google Sheets. Those already using Google Sheets can import their data directly into Google Tables.
The features included with Google Tables make it ideal for lightweight data like form responses. With Google Tables, you can track tasks, customize views, and collaborate with a single tool. The software lets users trigger emails, send weekly reports, and update statuses with automated actions or bots. One of the most helpful features of Google Tables is seamlessly integrating with other Google products like Drive and Sheets.
Airtable’s collaboration software is part powerful database and part familiar spreadsheet. It’s designed to let users create a database (or base, as it’s known in the platform) that fits their workflow with automation that works for them.
The software helps a variety of industries and roles, from marketing and nonprofits to freelancers and event planners. The company has been around since 2013 and has worked hard over the years to provide a product with robust features and flexibility for its users.
Airtable has a variety of features on both paid and free plans. Users can create customized bases where they can add fields for attachments, long text notes, links, checkboxes, barcodes, and more.
The software gives teams the flexibility to view their data in Kanban view, gallery view, grid view, or calendar view. The collaboration software includes a vast catalog of templates to help teams build their bases. Of course, users can always create their workflows from scratch.
Automation features include creating custom notifications, coordinating work via integrations, and automating redundant tasks. An additional new feature, Airtable Sync, lets users sync records from a source base to a destination base.
To decide which software option fits your individual or business needs, you first need to know what industries and customers the tool is geared toward. Here’s the intended audience for each one.
Out of all three software options, JotForm Tables has the most diverse use cases. It’s ideal for most businesses, schools, universities, and nonprofits.
In addition, since the JotForm Form Builder is fully HIPAA compliant (as long as users have a Silver or Gold plan and opt for HIPAA compliance), this also makes it a solid option for doctors’ offices, hospitals, and wellness clinics.
JotForm Tables is best suited for collecting, curating, managing, and acting on data. Generally, it’s a good, all-around solution when it comes to project planning for most industries.
Here are some popular use cases, including but not limited to
- Project management
- SOP checklists
- Inventory management
- Expense tracking
- New employee onboarding
- Payroll tracking and management
- Customer registration
- Virtual (and in-person) attendee registration
- Content/editorial calendars
- Web design asset management
- Custom personal CRM
- Medical logs
- Student attendance sheets
With more than 250 ready-made templates available, there’s a great chance that you’ll be able to find a template you can use as-is or as a building block.
For example, a doctor’s office might want to use the JotForm Tables patient sign-in sheet template to create an efficient patient sign-in sheet, which would allow you to keep track of all of the patients you saw in a given day, along with the patient’s name, email address, appointment time, the purpose of the visit, and the specific doctor they saw.
Google Tables was made for teams from a variety of industries. If you’re already a G Suite power user, you may find Google Tables to be a suitable and convenient option for managing projects and tasks with your team. Google Tables can be handy if you work in IT operations, recruiting, product launches, and software development, which are just a few of the teams that can benefit from using Google Tables.
Unlike JotForm Tables and Airtable, Google Tables doesn’t provide ready-made templates. While you can find some user-generated ones, they leave it up to you to decide how to best set everything up. It is a truly blank canvas.
Airtable was also designed for a variety of different users. For instance, the provided templates range from product launches to bug trackers. However, while Airtable is designed to be fully customized, its customers heavily skew toward tech-savvy entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creatives.
If you look through Airtable Universe, which houses hundreds of templates, you’ll see that it’s full of DIY templates catering to writers, filmmakers, content creators, and freelancers.
For example, if you’re an author, you can use this Book Promotion for Authors template to keep track of all of the free and paid sites where you’re promoting your new book.
All three software options have free tiers. Here’s the pricing information for each.
JotForm’s free Starter plan includes access to all JotForm Tables features, which means that JotForm Tables is completely free to use. It only takes a few seconds to get started.
JotForm also has several paid plans, which range from $24 per month to $83 per month if you pay annually.
The paid versions of JotForm come with additional form submissions and storage, among many other things, such as
- Unlimited form views
- Unlimited reports and fields
- Custom branding
- HIPAA compliance
The free Google Tables plan can be a viable option for small teams or individuals. It’s worth springing for the paid version of the software for those that need additional functionality and features.
The free version of Google Tables includes the following features:
- Unlimited collaborators
- Unlimited workspaces
- 100 tables
- 1,000 rows per table
- 1 GB attachments per table
- 50 actions per table each month
- One week of change history
The paid version is designed for teams and businesses in need of a holistic collaboration and productivity solution.
Pricing is set on a per-user basis. This means you only pay for team members who need more capacity to build or modify tables and workspaces. The pricing structure is simple, at $10 per user, per month for the paid plan.
A free three-month trial is available so that users can test the software before purchasing.
The paid version also allows for unlimited collaborators and workspaces but comes with more features, such as
- 1,000 tables
- 10,000 rows per table
- 10 GB attachments per table
- 500 actions per table each month
- 12 weeks of change history
- 20 forms per table
- 20 bots per table
- 20 views per table
The primary difference between the paid and free versions is the additional capacity.
Pricing for Airtable is slightly more complex than Google Tables. The essential features are all included in the free plan, but more functionality comes with the Plus, Pro, and Enterprise plans.
Features available with the free version of Airtable include
- Unlimited bases
- 1,200 records per base
- 2 GB attachment space per base
- Two weeks of revision and snapshot history
- Rich field types like file attachments
- Grid, calendar, form, kanban, and gallery views
- Web, iOS, Android, and desktop apps
- Real-time collaboration and commenting
- 100 automation runs per month
- Two weeks of run history
- One synced table per base
- Manual synced tables update method
There are three paid tiers for Airtable that each come with an upgrade in features, specifically additional record and attachment space. Additional advanced features include
- Additional color and styling options
- Advanced calendar features
- Custom branded forms
- Personal and locked views
- Password and domain restricted shares
- Field and table editing permissions
- Early access to new features
- Email support
Airtable describes the Plus plan as giving teams room to grow at $10 per user, per month. The Pro plan offers a more comprehensive collaboration experience at $20 per user per month. The Enterprise plan is designed for maximum business value. To get pricing for the Enterprise plan, contact the Airtable sales team for a quote.
Users can test both the Plus and Pro plans with a free trial.
Before you move forward, it’s important to know the limitations of each tool. Here are some considerations.
While JotForm Tables is the most flexible tool and easiest to use, it is also the newest option. It was launched in October 2020. For most early adopters, this is a selling point. You get to be one of the first users and can experiment with it all you want. However, if you tend to be a late adopter and like to wait until all of the bugs are resolved and the solution is mature, this could be a drawback for a solution like JotForm Tables.
The most important drawback to Google Tables is that it isn’t a full-fledged Google product like Sheets or Docs, yet. As part of Area120, Google Tables is still in its beta or experimental stage. This doesn’t mean that Google won’t give it a more official rollout or adopt it into its G Suite offering. It’s just not there at this point.
In addition, unlike JotForm Tables and Airtable, which both provide hundreds of templates, Google Tables doesn’t provide any official templates. When you try out Google Tables, it’s a blank canvas. Some people will love this because it allows them to be as creative as possible when building their workspace. However, others might freeze because there are so many options to choose from, and they aren’t sure which one will be best for their specific use case.
Finally, there is a chance that Google will drop or discontinue the product. As a less mature product than other Google tools, the software also isn’t quite as robust. Additional features aren’t out of the question; it’s just a waiting game. If you prefer the stability of an already established platform, then you might want to hold off on Google Tables until it officially joins the Google family of products.
Though Airtable has been around longer than Google Tables, the software isn’t without limitations. If you’re using the free version of the platform, it’s easy to go over the record limit. The free tier is restricted in terms of features, and upgrading to the Premium version can add up quickly for teams with multiple members.
Aside from limitations with the free version, Airtable also comes with the steepest learning curve. If you aren’t tech-savvy, you may struggle with using Airtable or be unable to use it to its full potential. While Airtable does offer templates, how-to articles, and videos to help beginners, some users may still find the software to be overwhelming and complex. Luckily, there are many Airtable alternatives available for you to find the best fit.
All three of these software options are built to suit a variety of industries and functions.
Lightweight Google Tables has the advantage of being part of Google’s impressive product family, but it’s still in the beta phase. Airtable, on the other hand, has had years to hone its feature offerings. However, it’s best suited for tech-savvy creators.
JotForm Tables is a great option for businesses, medical practices, nonprofits, and many more industries and organizations.
Each tool has its benefits, so it’s important to make a list of your essential features and nice-to-haves to see which one feels more intuitive for you.
A Guide to Identifying and Avoiding Top Crypto Scams
The surge in popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has a dark underbelly. It is spurring the growth of a vast cybercrime industry rife with numerous scams. Cunning wrongdoers are preying on unsuspecting Internet users, hoping to trick them into losing their Bitcoins. In this article, I will shed light on the most common cryptocurrency-related scams, providing tips on staying safe when using crypto.
Some websites may entice you with irresistible crypto offers that seem too good to be true. They promise to multiply your Bitcoin holdings in a short span, like doubling them overnight. However, this is often a classic sign of a Ponzi scheme. Once you part with your Bitcoin, the chances of even recovering your original amount are slim to none.
- Be suspicious of any investment that promises guaranteed returns. Investments always come with risk, and anyone promising a sure profit is likely not being honest.
- Legitimate investments make money through a clear business model. If you cannot understand how an investment makes money, that is a red flag.
- Ponzi schemes are highly dependent on recruiting new members. If you are pressured to bring in more people to make money, it might be a Ponzi scheme. These websites often incorporate referral programs enabling members to earn money by bringing in new customers. If you spot a referral link in URLs, it should raise a red flag. These referral links typically look something like this: superwebsite.com/?ref=9472.
- Before investing, check with your country’s financial regulators to see if the company is registered and if any complaints or actions have been taken against it.
- Do not invest more than you can afford to lose.
Cloud mining is a cryptocurrency mining process that utilizes a remote data center with shared processing power. In essence, cloud mining providers rent out their mining hardware and their computational abilities to clients, who can then mine cryptocurrencies without having to purchase and maintain expensive mining equipment. While the concept itself is excellent and entirely legitimate, fraudsters often launch deceptive schemes. They entice potential investors with lofty promises, only to deliver significantly lower returns than promised if any at all.
- Ensure the website provides clear and transparent information about which mining pool is used and who manages it. This also includes information about their mining facilities, the types of hardware they use, and their mining capacity.
- Check contract details. In a legitimate cloud mining contract, details like the cost of the contract, the amount of processing power you will receive, and other terms should be clearly stated. If these details are not precise, be cautious.
- Seek advice from an independent cloud mining advisor or someone knowledgeable about cryptocurrency mining.
Bogus crypto exchanges
Beware of advertisements promising to sell Bitcoins at bargain prices or with minimal transaction fees. These could be a bait to draw you to a fraudulent cryptocurrency exchange website. Another telltale sign of a scam is the PayPal to BTC exchange ruse. Websites running this scam typically present you with a form asking for your PayPal email and the amount you wish to spend. Following this, a QR code is generated to authenticate the transaction. But, alas, the promised Bitcoins never arrive, and you are left with a compromised PayPal account instead.
- Before using any Bitcoin exchange, do your research. Read reviews from reputable sources and seek opinions from experienced users. You can also check the exchange’s website for information about the company, including how long it has been operating, its physical address, and the names of its team members.
- Many countries require crypto exchanges to be registered and comply with specific regulations. Check if the exchange is compliant with these regulations in your country.
- Be careful not to click on any suspicious links that might be trying to lead you to a fake exchange. Always double-check the URL of the exchange before logging in.
Identifying deceptive Bitcoin wallets can be a bit trickier, as the main purpose of a wallet is to hold crypto, not to trade it or execute BTC smart contracts. This means that these scams are not usually about immediate financial gain. While they may ultimately pilfer your assets, these rogue wallets often first aim to snatch sensitive data.
- Always download wallet software from the official website or a reputable app store. Rogue wallets often disguise themselves as the real thing, but they can only be found in unofficial or unregulated app stores.
- Enable MFA for added security. This requires you to provide two forms of identification, usually a password and a verification code.
- If you are dealing with large amounts of cryptocurrency, consider using a hardware wallet. These are physical devices that store your cryptocurrency offline.
- Ensure your device and any applications you use are kept up to date. This includes the wallet software, your device’s operating system, and any security software.
- If the Bitcoin wallet comes as a downloadable application, it is a good idea to scrutinize it for any potentially harmful code first. Websites such as VirusTotal can be quite useful, as they scan software binaries for recognized threats using multiple antivirus programs at once. If the wallet is open-source, you can check its code on platforms like GitHub. While this may require some technical knowledge, it can provide insight into the wallet’s security and functionality.
- Many crypto wallets provide a way to back up your wallet, often in the form of a seed phrase. You can use this phrase to recover your funds if you lose access to your wallet. Keep this phrase safe and secure.
Good old phishing
Phishing, arguably the most common scam in the digital realm, aims to trick users into visiting a deceptive website masquerading as a well-known and trustworthy service. The malicious email could seemingly come from a cryptocurrency exchange or wallet service you currently use. Cybercriminals typically gather your personal details from numerous past data breaches to use in their phishing emails.
Scammers might also employ online advertisements or dubious SEO tactics to lead you to a counterfeit Bitcoin exchange or wallet when you search for terms like “Buy Bitcoin,” or “Bitcoin exchange,” or “Buy Crypto.” These trapped sites often appear among the top search results.
- As a rule of thumb, avoid clicking on links within emails. A deceptive link might appear authentic at first glance, but it uses multiple redirection steps to ultimately land you on a hacker-controlled site. To avoid this risk, directly type URLs into your browser or use your bookmarked links.
- Also, be sure to treat every email attachment with caution. Hackers often use attachments as a means to distribute malicious software.
- Be suspicious of unsolicited communications. When in doubt, check the email address or phone number and get in touch with the company using the contact details provided on their legitimate website.
On-the-spot crypto trading hazards
As Bitcoin theft reaches beyond the digital sphere, new laws and regulations controlling cryptocurrency trading are emerging globally. In some areas, these changes pose challenges to conventional online buying and selling of Bitcoins. This has spurred a shift in the Bitcoin economy, with traders turning to in-person meetings for transactions.
There have been several incidents highlighting the potential dangers of in-person Bitcoin exchanges. For instance, in India, an entrepreneur fell victim to a robbery while attempting to purchase BTC at an appealingly low price. He arranged a meeting with the alleged sellers at a shopping center, only to be ambushed by them and lose the $50,000 he had brought for the transaction.
- Avoid in-person meetings with strangers for Bitcoin exchanges, especially if you are carrying large amounts of money.
- If in need, conduct transactions in public places like coffee shops or shopping centers. These locations are generally safe as they are often crowded and have surveillance cameras. Inform others of your whereabouts.
- If possible, bring a friend along with you.
- Use reliable peer-to-peer platforms with features like blind escrow.
- Utilize the platform’s reputation and feedback systems to select trustworthy traders and thoroughly clarify all trading specifics using encrypted chat before proceeding with any transactions.
- Ensure the other party shows you the agreed sum of money first before you send any coins.
- Trust your instincts; if something does not feel right, walk away. It is better to miss out on a trade than to risk your safety.
Crypto “pump-and-dump” schemes are a type of manipulation where the price of a cryptocurrency is artificially inflated (pumped) through coordinated buying or spreading of misleading positive news. Once the price has significantly increased, the manipulators sell off their holdings (dump), leading to a rapid price drop. This can result in substantial profits for the scammers but causes significant losses for those who bought in during the pump. These schemes are illegal in many jurisdictions due to their fraudulent nature. However, cryptocurrencies’ decentralized and global nature can make them difficult to prevent.
- Do not rush into investments based on hype or pressure. “Fear of Missing Out” can lead you to rash decisions.
- Spread your investments across different assets. This can reduce the impact of a bad investment.
- Be skeptical of “Get Rich Quick” promises. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Set Stop-Loss Orders. This will limit potential losses if the price of a cryptocurrency suddenly crashes.
Fake airdrops are a common type of cryptocurrency scam where fraudsters promise free coins in an attempt to lure unsuspecting victims. These scams require participants to provide sensitive information like private keys or personal data or make a small payment to “unlock” their supposed reward. However, after fulfilling the conditions, victims receive nothing in return. By creating an illusion of a free giveaway, scammers prey on the desire for easy profits.
- Always confirm the airdrop is from a legitimate and reputable company. Check their official website and social media channels for announcements.
- Legitimate airdrops will never ask for your private keys. Your private key is your most sensitive piece of information. Never share it with anyone.
- Be cautious if an airdrop asks for excessive personal information. Although you might need to provide some data, consider any unreasonable requests as potential red flags.
- It is likely a scam if an airdrop requires you to send cryptocurrency to receive tokens. Legitimate airdrops do not require a purchase.
Cryptojacking is a form of cybercrime where hackers covertly use other people’s computing resources to mine cryptocurrencies. This is often done by infecting a website or an individual’s computer with malicious code. Once the unsuspecting victim visits the compromised website or installs the infected software, their computer’s processing power is harnessed to mine crypto without their knowledge. This can lead to degraded system performance, increased power consumption, and hardware wear and tear. It is a stealthy and unethical way for hackers to profit at the expense of others’ resources and can pose significant cybersecurity risks.
- Use reliable and powerful antivirus software that includes features to detect and block cryptojacking scripts.
- Install browser extensions that can help prevent cryptojacking scripts from running in your browser.
- Regularly monitor your system’s performance. Unusually high CPU usage might indicate a cryptojacking attack.
- Regularly update your operating system and all software, including browsers, as updates often include security patches.
Despite the initial hype surrounding cryptocurrencies subsiding, the industry continues to grow with the emergence of new projects. Cryptocurrencies are here to stay and will remain a part of our lives. However, as a relatively new form of currency, the crypto sphere will always attract new scammers. By being aware of popular scams and following the recommended protection measures, you can reduce the potential risks involved in trading cryptocurrencies.
How Can TQM Empower Employees?
In the present day, there are a myriad of challenges that developing enterprises have to contend with in the pursuit of success, not least of which is the ever-changing needs of the modern consumer. Recent years have brought about a tangible shift in customer preferences, as consumers are placing more importance on experiences with brands than ever before.
In such a climate, companies that boast the best product or service are not guaranteed to win over their competition as they once might have been. Rather, to accommodate modern consumers, businesses must create a cohesive and wholly-gratifying modern customer experience for their consumers. That means achieving excellence company-wide and empowering employees to maximize your organization’s value.
This is where Total Quality Management (TQM) can be a genuine game-changer for your business.
What is a TQM?
Total Quality Management is a management approach that embodies a holistic view of business success. With TQM, a business strives to achieve an exceptional level of performance in every facet of its operations, on both a macro and micro scale and aims to reach its goals organically by optimizing processes.
At the heart of the TQM philosophy is a strong concept of quality. Those who embrace this approach view quality as something intrinsic rather than superficial. As such, TQM adopters do not seek to create or even achieve quality but rather to embody it and make it a core part of their companies’ identities.
Due to its scope, TQM encompasses a wide variety of principles that serve to foster excellence at a company, from manufacturing and product testing to marketing, sales, and customer service. By putting measures in place to encourage continuous improvement in every area, companies can improve efficiency and achieve greater ROI on their efforts.
What can TQM do for a business?
TQM can bring a variety of significant benefits to an ambitious, developing enterprise.
One of the primary benefits is operational efficiency. By creating an internal culture of continuous improvement, a company can iterate on its processes to optimize them over time. This eliminates resource wastage and revenue leakage, which improves the overall performance of the business.
Adopting TQM also encourages companies to embrace a data-driven approach to business. This promotes an analytical mentality and more intelligent, informed decision-making at the top level. By garnering actionable insights from data analysis and incorporating them into future planning, companies can devise more comprehensive business strategies that drive growth and yield greater ROI in the long term.
Most importantly, TQM helps to produce a high level of customer satisfaction. Through the creation of an improvement culture and the continuous optimization of processes, it’s possible to exceed customer expectations on a routine basis. This result is immense consumer engagement, a positive brand perception, and increased revenue through repeat business and referrals.
For those who embrace Total Quality Management, the customer is at the top of the totem pole, but is the employees who allow it to stand tall. For the principles of TQM to take root and yield dividends, there must be a high degree of employee involvement at every organizational level. For this reason, employee empowerment is considered one of the core tenets of TQM.
How can TQM affect employees’ experience and productivity?
When implemented effectively, TQM can have a substantial effect on both the experience and productivity of employees. There are three primary reasons for this:
Firstly, TQM helps to create more effective training and development programs for employees. By consciously seeking out the latest training methods and most advanced onboarding technologies, companies can help employees to acquire new skills and achieve optimal proficiency in their roles. This makes them more efficient and increases employee satisfaction due to an elevated sense of competency.
Secondly, TQM creates a culture of innovation. In the pursuit of organization-wide excellence, a company can create an environment in which employees have the bandwidth to engage in critical thinking and problem-solving. This helps to create a more engaged and dynamic workforce that is continually evolving itself.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, TQM instills a sense of responsibility in employees. By creating a workplace that emphasizes excellence in every aspect, businesses place their evolution in the hands of their employees. This trust helps them to understand that their contributions have value, which boosts morale and performance, and encourage active participation in the improvement culture. The result is a more gratifying employee experience and higher levels of productivity.
Total Quality Management has the potential to revolutionize a business’s output as well as how it evolves over time. By continuously striving to enrich the employee experience, companies can empower their staff and imbue them with a sense of responsibility that enables them to drive optimization organization-wide and bring ever-greater value to customers.
To sustain growth and success in the long term, employee empowerment is a must, and TQM is currently unrivaled in this regard.
Making Data Talk: How Marketers can Humanize their Campaigns through Zero- and First-Party Data
Without a comprehensive U.S. consumer privacy law, U.S. state and federal lawmakers have been looking toward Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to serve as inspiration as states begin to introduce data privacy laws in 2022. But this year, roads are being paved. Now on the heels of the E.U. announcing their Digital Markets Act to combat Big Tech’s hold on the world, the U.S. is working to pass the Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act, on top of the already existing state-led legislation like the California Consumer Privacy Act. For example, Massachusetts announced its intent to pass Massachusetts Information Privacy and Security Act (MIPSA) in late 2021, a digital-privacy bill that would protect the residents’ safety and privacy, giving them more autonomy over personal information in the digital world. If the bill passes, Massachusetts would be the fourth state joining Colorado, Virginia, and California to enact comprehensive data-privacy legislation.
And with Google announcing a slew of privacy updates following increased privacy concerns with another new cookie replacement and new features on Android devices to limit user tracking, marketers are anxious to see how the data-privacy battle unfolds.
While it may seem like these laws and regulations will limit the personalization capabilities of marketers, zero- and first-party data remain key to humanizing digital interactions and experiences.
Personalizing campaigns through existing data
The first step to creating digital experiences that satisfy the human experience is for companies to get to know their customers. Think about your interpersonal relationships: you take the time to understand your friends and family’s needs and wants, and humanizing digital experiences requires the same effort. Zero-party and first-party data, which customers share voluntarily, or marketers collect through behavioral patterns, can create personalized marketing experiences without sacrificing customer privacy.
By leveraging this customer data, marketers can develop campaigns that inform customers of relevant information such as the closest physical store’s hours, cart reminders, or product suggestions that anticipate customer needs. These tactics improve customer experience by putting the customer first. There’s an important and understood value exchange between consumers and marketers. Consumers willingly give brands information about them and their interests, and marketers leverage it to build a seamless shopping and browsing experience.
Humanizing the digital world through the omnichannel
Digital can also help bridge human connection. For example, if your friend is making a recommendation on a TV show, workout, or pair of jeans, that “social proof” is valuable information that we use as cues in our everyday lives. Digital experiences can achieve the same thing. At a pivotal moment in the consumer journey, companies should show consumers the social proof in the form of ratings and reviews or how many other shoppers are engaging with the product they’re viewing. This connects other people’s behaviors to their own, making the experience feel more personal than transactional.
Zero- and first-party data have been and always will be fundamental components of marketers’ toolkit to create personalized marketing campaigns. As the consumer path to purchase becomes increasingly non-linear, however, brands now must incorporate and prioritize omnichannel strategies to level up the overall experience.
For example, estimates show that consumers now check their phone between 52 and 80 times a day. Consumers use their phones for new product discovery and identifying brick-and-mortar locations for in-store purchasing, creating a heightened need for more seamless omnichannel communication strategies. Consumers don’t shop Brand X in Mobile, Brand X in email, Brand X in Social – they shop Brand X.
Once marketers collect first-party data, they can then leverage the consumer data when focusing on personalizing the omnichannel experience. With 71% using multiple channels to start and complete a single transaction, we’re continuing to experience rapid growth in mobile commerce.
A first-party use case that became very popular during COVID-19 and remains a core tenet of retailers’ strategy is BOPIS and curbside pick-up, i.e., leveraging zip codes to drive consumers to in-store availability (and not just at-home delivery). Similarly, as COVID-19 closed borders and brought long distance travel to a standstill, travel brands were able to leverage first-party data to surface hotel destinations within driving distance (using zip codes).
Lastly, 68% of marketers gained new customers during COVID and loyalty programs became a key trend for many marketers where they can leverage first-party data to communicate the value of their brand and elevate the role of loyalty in their communications with consumers. We expect the importance of loyalty programs to continue growing as retailers begin leveraging their existing troves of data to personalize their marketing.
To provide digital experiences that satisfy and personalize human experiences, the experiences need to be connected regardless of channel. Failure to do so would be akin to texting with your friend about upcoming plans, and then you call them “not knowing” what you’re talking about. The experience can’t be siloed.
Embracing the legal landscape with data
This is uncharted territory for marketers. However, it needs to be recognized that a push towards greater privacy is a good thing for the consumer and the marketer. Brand marketers will have to earn each customer relationship and deliver value. For years, our most successful customers have been personalizing content from zero- and first-party data from data stores like internal APIs, CDPs, and CRMs, solving the content bottleneck to realize the 1:1 personalization that customers have come to expect from the brands they trust.
But the legal landscape on data privacy is just beginning to develop, making many industry experts nervous since data is the fuel marketers live on. However, this is why knowing how to leverage existing customer data to produce valuable business results is so vital. By establishing the right data strategy by leveraging zero- and first-party data, the overall digital experience will improve.
When Apple rolled out its new privacy measures last fall, marketers were signaling the doomsday bells. In Movable Ink’s analysis of iOS 15’s content caching, we found that 45% of consumers use the Apple Mail client. According to Wired, the new caching protocol routes tracking pixels “through a relay that strips out (recipient) data gathering.” Contextual personalization was thrown for a loop after this update.
For marketers trying to navigate the new data-private world, the challenge and opportunity is to devise new modes of data collection through existing zero- and first-party data. Data is something that needs constant attention. How marketers collect and integrate data with other systems and how they measure it should be under constant review and optimization, especially with the fluctuating legal landscape.
The future of marketing has always been data, but now that third-party sources are dwindling and more consumers are fighting for control of their data, it’s time to work smarter. The next two years will be a turning point in how marketers collect data and build personalization campaigns.
Instead of focusing on what brands cannot do with all the new laws coming to fruition, this is an opportunity to evolve what marketers’ can do. Balancing personalization with consumers’ increased demands for more privacy, can–and if dont right, will–ultimately lead to more personalized, scalable campaigns that drive revenue and build better relationships with customers.