Ad Tech and Privacy

Oomiji Helps Brands “Build Their Own Walled Gardens” of Customer Data

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Zero-party data, or information customers willingly provide about themselves, is gaining popularity as a way of amassing customer data at a time when privacy restrictions are making that more difficult. The platform Oomiji is betting on that trend, differentiating itself from most CDPs by helping its clients ask their customers for data (instead of relying on AI to extrapolate limited data to probabilistic segments and preferences).

I connected with Jon Stamell, CEO of Oomiji, to learn more about the company’s approach.

Can you give me a brief rundown of how Oomiji’s approach to data differs from that of other CDPs?

The typical CDP groups all incidences of contact with the customer into one database (sales, inquires, web visits, available demos, etc.). They then apply algorithms to create AI selections of consumers with certain needs and interests.

What they don’t do is ask consumers what their interests, needs, perceptions, or frustrations are in order to project propensity to buy based on current intent or future needs. That is usually seen as a market research function, and responses to closed- or open-ended questions are not appended to database files for any combination of quantitative or qualitative segmentation.

That is what Oomiji does. We’d rather communicate with consumers based on their actual interests than on guesses (however mathematically conceived) of what they want.

How does Oomiji’s approach provide an avenue for data collection amid privacy changes?

Transparency is the key. Obviously, consumers need to be advised of GDPR and CCPA guidelines, and they need to be told that they will be communicated with based on their preferences and expressions of interest. Trust has to be gained with data just as with any individual relationship.

Getting consent for data is one thing; getting consent to share it with third parties (your clients) is another. How does that work for you?

Our clients upload their data and they use the platform to ask questions through landing pages, forms, emails (and we’ll be adding voice in the future). Oomiji is not gathering data and then sharing it with clients.

This is about brands building their own walled gardens so that they can build trust-based relationships with customers and exchange information that is of interest to both.

If you’re relying on customer responses to accumulate data, do you face scale challenges?

Yes and no. There are always going to be customers who don’t want to reveal anything about themselves, but we’re advocating that brands take an educational approach to communicating with their customers. First, tell the customer what you are doing with their data; second, don’t ask them questions that are intrusive (e.g. What is your income or net worth?); third, start by asking their primary interest in the brand and why; fourth, give them straightforward content specific to their interests — don’t guess.

Finally, keep asking for feedback specific to what they need from the brand, not vice-versa. Gaining trust in a digital environment does not happen overnight. We all notice which brands do a better job communicating with us through their customer service and that breaks down barriers in their willingness to communicate back. It shouldn’t be any different digitally.

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]