Zero-Party Data (0PD) has become a buzzword in the marketing world. However, to date, expectations have outpaced actuality. It is defined as data provided directly and deliberately by customers, most often through surveys and polls. While the definition is accurate, it barely scratches the surface of the immense value that Zero-Party Data will unlock for marketers.  

In reality, Zero-Party Data has the potential to revolutionise customer interaction by inviting customers to share their 360º life data directly from their personal data stores on mobile devices.  

So why is this extension of Zero-Party Data a game-changer?

The Traditional View of Zero-Party Data 

Even though the term is only a few years old, Zero-Party Data has ‘traditionally’ been associated with self-declared information, utilising explicit data collection methods like surveys, quizzes, and polls. These methods involve customers actively declaring their preferences, opinions, and desires.

While this information is undoubtedly valuable, it represents only a fraction of the insights customers can potentially choose to provide. It’s clearly limited, however this has been the only way to gather data directly from customers, until now. 

The Limitation of Surveys and Polls 

Surveys and polls have an important place in data collection. They allow businesses to gather specific declared information and feedback from customers. However, they are inherently limited in scope. Customers may not always have the time or inclination to participate in surveys, and the questions asked are often predetermined, leaving little room for nuance. It’s the same story with quizzes’ and polls.  
Surveys responses can also reflect peoples own internal biases; their hopes, wishes, self-perceptions and what the ‘correct’ answer should be, rather than their lived reality. This continues even when responses are anonymous. In the words of House, MD, “Everybody lies” (including to themselves).  

What’s more, traditional Zero-Party Data collection often feels transactional, focusing solely on immediate needs and preferences. It lacks the depth and breadth required to understand the holistic nature of a customer’s life, choices, aspirations and beliefs.  

The 360º Life Data Revolution 

Imagine a scenario where customers have the opportunity to safely share not just their immediate preferences but their entire life context. This is where the concept of Zero-Party Data expands into a 360º view of a customer’s life. 

In this approach, customers are encouraged to share data from their personal data stores on their mobile devices. This data encompasses everything from daily routines and habits to long-term goals and life events. It paints a comprehensive picture of a customer’s journey, providing insights that go far beyond what traditional surveys and polls can achieve.  

The Benefits of 360º Life Data and Zero-Party Data

There’s an array of benefits from gathering 360º Zero Party Data 

  • Rich Context: By sharing 360º life data, customers offer a rich context for their preferences and choices. Businesses gain a deeper understanding of not just what customers want but why and when they want it. 
  • Timely Insights: 360º life data is dynamic and real-time. It captures the evolving nature of a customer’s life, enabling businesses to respond promptly to changing needs and trends. 
  • Personalization: With a holistic or omni-personal’ view of the customer, businesses can personalize their offerings and communications to a level that was previously unattainable. 
  • Predictive Capabilities: Permissioned data from a personal data store can fuel predictive modeling, helping businesses anticipate customer behaviours and preferences. Further, this verified data is perfect for seeding synthetic data sets and fine tuning in-house Generative AI models. 
  • Enhanced Customer Engagement: When customers see that a brand truly understands their life context, and crucially in a trustworthy manner, it fosters a sense of connection and confidence, leading to enhanced engagement and loyalty. 

Empowering Customers, Enhancing Relationships 

Expanding Zero-Party Data to include 360º life data is not just about collecting more information; it’s about empowering customers to actively participate in shaping their brand experiences and the value that they receive. It’s a mutually beneficial exchange where customers have more control over their data and brands gain a comprehensive understanding of their audience.  

This approach is rooted in trust and transparency. Customers willingly share their data because they see value in doing so. They understand that by safely providing a more complete view of their lives, they enable businesses to serve their needs better, ultimately enhancing their quality of life.  

By inviting customers to share their 360º life data, businesses tap into the true potential of Zero-Party Data—personalisation, predictive capabilities, enhanced engagement, and most importantly, the creation of immense mutual value for both customers and brands. 

What’s Stopping Us? The Technology 

One key challenge in realising the potential of 360º life data and the broader application of Zero Party Data lies in the development and adoption of personal data wallets. These digital repositories, like the one developed by DataSapien, serve as secure vaults where individuals can manage their data. Embedding these wallets in customer apps enables users to securely share their 360º life data with brands.  Digital Wallets will see rapid uptake in the near future with both the European Union and Big Tech pushing them.

Trust is paramount, and customers must have confidence that their data is protected and under their full control. This extends beyond the technology to the data relationship that brands develop with customers: What types of data do customers trust a brand to handle? What permission does a brand have to ask for different types of data? How can this data relationship be encouraged and nurtured? 

As personal data wallets evolve and businesses adapt, we move closer to unlocking the full value of Zero Party Data, promising deeper customer understanding, more personalised experiences, and mutually beneficial relationships between customers and brands. 

Spiral. Source Jessica Eaton created using DSLR.

Spiral. Source: Jessica Eaton created using DSLR.