The case for preference management is typically organized into two clear categories: A) strengthening compliance with privacy regulations and B) improving marketing ROI. Each would present a compelling case on its own. But considered together, addressing both with one solution offers a strong, evidence and return on investment-based position from which to move an organization towards the active collection, maintenance and distribution of preferences.
Stronger compliance and privacy protection
In response, regulators and legislators around the globe are moving quickly to enhance privacy protections and address widespread consumer concerns about data and identity theft, unwanted communications and behavior tracking. For example, recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule changes require marketers to obtain "prior express written consent" to call or text consumer cell phones for solicitation purposes. If a company hasn’t earned that consent and has no means by which to gain it, it faces the daunting decision of either losing a contact due to privacy concerns or facing liability if the contact proves to be a mobile number.
"The typical terms of agreement that we check when we want to use the services of an Internet company invariably gives the company the right to redeploy our information for their own benefit. Some companies also give consumers the right to opt-out of that information-gathering, but it is usually a process that requires some effort. A far better approach would have customers opting in instead of opting out."- Joe Nocera, New York Times
Preference collection represents a critical opportunity to earn consent and protect the right to interact with a consumer. Moreover, appropriate storage and maintenance of such data through an active preference management program protects its legal authority when challenged.
Improved marketing ROI
By reducing opt-outs and increasing opt-ins, the overall size of the marketable audience grows. With the implementation of a simple opt-down system – a component of a preference management solution accessed through an email unsubscribe link – PossibleNOW customers see an average of 60 percent fewer opt-outs.
In addition to preserving the pool of prospects, the ongoing collection of preferences reveals new opportunities will emerge that marketers can proactively leverage to their advantage. For a clothing retailer, understanding gender, product interest and channel of choice could result in a seasonal swimwear promotion via email instead of an expensive and marginally effective one-size-fits-all brochure or catalog.
Finally, preference management allows CMOs to shift staff time and budget dollars from guesswork to fact-based decision-making. A marketing team that only has access to purchase history and customer shipping addresses trend towards broad, one-size-fits-all campaigns, often with discouraging results. Preference data gives the customer a voice in the type of communications they want to receive and empowering niche campaigns that address stated needs at timely intervals.
Presented together, the broad compliance and marketing benefits of preference management offer a compelling case for consideration. Risk mitigation has become an important part of the CMO job description and preference management addresses a number of its critical challenges. It’s also the key to lasting customer engagement, real-time responsiveness and rich, marketable data that powers campaigns and delivers bottom-line results.