Power-of--customer-preference-managementNot too long ago, understanding what customers wanted was difficult, and delivering personalized experiences was impossible. Marketing was confined to mass audience outreach divided by rudimentary segmentation such as age or geography.

Today, technology and digital capabilities have changed this, and customers have been quick to adapt their expectations. Now they want more personalization than ever before, and most businesses recognize the importance of meeting these expectations in order to remain relevant and competitive.

Some businesses are looking to third-party data collection methodologies to gain insight into who their customers are and what they want; however, as many brands are discovering, personalized customer engagement requires more sophisticated data collection practices. According to Forrester Principal Analyst, Fatemeh Khatibloo, third-party data is useful, but it lacks context, and personalization without context crosses over into the territory of “creepy.” What’s more, third-party data can be inaccurate.

Another problematic factor is data collection practices are often not consent-based. As we’ve seen with recent regulations such as the EU ruling against Safe Harbor, it leaves companies vulnerable to violations. Additionally, Facebook’s decision to limit developer access to user data is indicative of a backlash against data sharing without user consent. Plus, the high rate at which people are downloading ad blocking apps points to a general sense of frustration as people receive offers and information they never agreed to receive.

Traditional data collection practices don’t consider the customer’s point of view, Khatibloo says. It leaves out valuable information such as context and intent. The result is data that does little to help brands deliver market-leading customer experiences.

As Khatibloo shares in a recent report, customer preference management is emerging as a way to bridge the gap between what organizations know about customers and what customers want businesses to know about them. It offers the sophisticated data collection and use capabilities necessary to facilitate personalized, 1:1 digital customer experiences by capturing information such as the type of content and communications customers want to receive, the channels that customers prefer to use, how often they want to be reached and insight into their intentions.

This explicit data enables companies to tailor individualized interactions with each customer. According to Khatibloo, a good preference management program has the following traits:

  • Enables progressive profile creation so that a customers’ record evolves with each interaction and their changing needs
  • Meaningful choices that truly provide guidance on how to best serve a customer
  • Integrates explicit data with CRM data to provide a more complete profile
  • Choices are consistently enforced across all channels and customer touchpoints

Customer identity and preference management solutions provide brands with a way to let customer self manage their preferences. They can specify opt-in and opt-out choices by topic or communication and content type instead of simply opting out of everything, leaving brands with no way to provide helpful offers, information and services. It also allows customers to give specific direction and consent for their privacy preferences which can help companies comply with emerging regulations and engender brand loyalty.

Learn how to get started with a customer preference management program. Download the on-demand webinar Power of Customer Preferences and Identity Management featuring Forrester Principal Analyst, Fatemeh Khatibloo.